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“Wonderful romantic break away from it all”

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Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa
Certificate of Excellence
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Wonderful romantic break away from it all”
Reviewed June 26, 2013

First off a warning ... Traveling into Zanzibar, while painless, can be a shock to some people as its a very poor and basic country but please don't let that put you off, the people are simply fabulous and friendly and happy to have any and all tourists and the resorts and staff really go all out and try to make peoples stays as wonderful as possible.

Now onto Matemwe which was beautiful and the villa was divine, we couldn’t have been happier with our choice. The space and lazing areas are wonderful and while we could see that it was coming to the end of the season and some cushions etc need repairs and replacing – they were already busy with all that and were changed days into our stay.
They also spoilt us completely with our Butler Martin, he was really just brilliant and wonderful in everyway – bringing us fruit treats on our snorkel and making up baths for me without me even having to ask or mention it. My advice is don't be shy with your butlers, on the first day we told him what we liked to have in the mini bar etc and he made sure to cater to our needs and kept everything just so for the rest of our stay. Also we often changed our minds about what we wanted for breakfast and he would smile and arrange it in minutes so they do anything really to keep you happy. Please do note that your butler looks after everything, no one else really enters the Villas at all - they do all cleaning etc so I would definitely recommend you bring extra cash for a nice tip as they certainly earn it.
He just looked after us so very well that when I went on to another resort in Zanzibar I have to admit that their service there just did not live up to the same standards! When we left Martin gave both of us a big hug and it was just the sweetest. Not that the other staff around weren't great too – they were, and even more so when they knew we were in a villa and always happy to do anything with a big smile. Food wise I was very impressed considering where they were, cant say I had a bad meal. Thought the deserts were not really great, but I don’t eat much sweets so wasn’t bothered.

This is a remote Island though so hiccups do happen, just be prepared and go with the flow and you will still enjoy your stay. Like when we first arrived they had no water (or any of the places around them) which considering how hot and icky we were was not the best but a “bath” in the pool as we are after all used to Africa travel sorted us out and after about a day and a half the pumps were up and running again and we could get a proper shower which was great. The only two main niggles we had, one which was a small one was that the pillows are just flat and not comfy and the main one which was that the aircon just did not work and you could not get cool so we ended up not sleeping very well at all. We tried all things – two fans, leaving all the slates in the doors open (as we were told not to leave the actual doors open), sleeping without the nets etc – but it was just to hot and humid to ever get comfortable in bed. But since we spent 90% of our time lazing, we really didn’t stress about this and it was also maybe the time of year with such high humidity making it worse as well.

But all in we adored Matemwe and our stay and would 100% recommend it to people, though only the villas – we looked at some of the rooms and were much happier with our luxury and AI as though you may think the bungalows cheaper you end up having to pay for all extras, drinks etc - so go on spoil yourself and choose a villa you wont be sorry. Another tip - go down to the main bar for sundowners and take them to the upper pool, they have a swing chair right on the edge of the cliff and its just the best spot (attached pic)

Room Tip: We didnt see the other retreats, but did look at the normal resort rooms - definitely book into the...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Feegee4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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174 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Gulu, Uganda
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed June 18, 2013

My wife and I just spent 10 days in the incredible Matemwe Retreat. Really an outstanding property and Celine and her crew do just an excellent job. I was looking for a place to escape and the retreat was just the place. There are things to do, but we chose to do nothing and Ndaki ensured we were completely satiated with luxury. The upstairs plunge pool area was just extraordinary. Getting in the van to leave, we felt traumatized having to vacate our amazing retreat. Hats off to the all the staff and the sea creatures that graciously gave their lives for our dinner. Just can’t say enough good things.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank MTribble
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
1 review
Reviewed June 16, 2013

We spent the last five nights of our honeymoon at Matemwe Retreat (ZamZam) and I cannot think of a more perfect setting. The accommodations were spectacular and included a private plunge pool and sun deck, wrap around terrace with hammock, spacious bathroom and romantic bed overlooking the ocean. The food was great and there are lots of nearby activities to keep you busy. I highly recommend going sorkelling with the dolphins and kyaking was fun too. Our butler Menlad was absolutely FANTASTIC!! Our time at Matemwe Retreat would really not have been the same without him. He was always professional and ensured that we were well looked after. Menlad always had the biggest smile on his face and we especially enjoyed our Swahili lesson! Habari yako Menlad?

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Carla P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed June 16, 2013

We stayed in one of the retreats at Matemwe in June after an 8 day trip through the Serengeti and Stone Town. We were ready for some relaxation - and boy did we get it! Private villa, phenomenal view, butler service (Abdi was awesome!), great food served in your villa, plunge pool, everything you could need for a romantic few days at the end of an action packed holiday. HAKUNA MATATA!!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Simon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
58 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2013

this is the most faboulous place i have ever stayed at.the privaste villa(leila) that we stayed in was simply--gorgeous.....from the large bedroom and luxurious bathroom(with a huge bathtub),to the enormous veranda with the hammock,bar and couch....to the lovely view of the ocean..........just wow.our butler marco was great---organized,ontime and helpful--always.......also special mention to ndake......they made us lovely food and were able to make each meal special despite our requirements for kosher food(we brought a suitcase full of dishes and pots)kudos to the chef----also a big thank you to moses who was always abke to answer any questions we had.
both of us had massages in the spa(thanks cynthia)--a real pleasure.a totally relaxing and private vacation experience.loved the idea of a daily alcoholic drink.the reef walk was also fun.we had thoughts of going on the spice plantation tour and a variety of other things----we didn't move from Matemwe Retreat the entire time we were there
would suggest that the lighting on the veranda be improved since it is difficult to read there at night when you lie in the hammock or sit on the couch.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank karyn1241
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haarlem, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2012

Our stay in Matemwe Retreat has been absolutely brilliant!! To have such privacy in the villa with personal plunge pool, the most beautiful view, great bathroom, romantic bedroom really was breathtaking!
Our butler Menlad was excellent! He made sure we got everything we needed, always with a smile and Hakuna Matata, no problem!! Everything and anything was possible. When we came back from a tour there always was a surprise, like the bathtub filled up and flowers everywhere or when we came back another time, the table was set upstairs and lots of candles were lit. So very romantic!! His timing was always perfect and his service as well! What a great and lovely man to have working for you!
We also loved the very tasteful food, cooked by mister chef yummy yummy!!!
Thank all of you so much, especially Menlad for this very great experience!!! We will never forget you!!!
Best regards, Hein & Esther from Holland

Room Tip: Leila!! The very first villa, lots of privacy. Also wonderful for honeymooners!!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Esther P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Basel
Level Contributor
29 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2012

We stayed for 4 nights and everything was great. In particular, the food! Every evening, the menu offered a different variety. The chef and the bar staff are just fantastic. The room was very nice (I would recommend one near the pool).

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank JS4242
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa

Property: Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa
Address: Matemwe Beach, Matemwe, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Matemwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Matemwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa 5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy your own private tropical escape at Matemwe Retreat. The four elegant villas that make up the retreat are set high in the palm trees with uninterrupted Indian Ocean views. With its secluded location and dedicated private butler, the retreat is considered one of the most exclusive choices of accommodation on Zanzibar Island. If you are looking for pure escapism, these villas - which combine the spirit of Zanzibar with the highest standards of comfort - were designed for you. The private plunge pool, personal bar and spacious roof terrace with day bed and loungers are so appealing that we would not blame you if you relaxed in your hidden sanctuary for your entire holiday. Echoing the white sand beaches and the changing turquoise hues of the tropical waters, the fully air-conditioned Matemwe Retreat villas are a reflection of their tranquil island surroundings, filled with locally produced materials and furnishings. The ground floor of each villa features a private bar area, cool and airy double bedroom with king-sized bed and en-suite bathroom with double basins, shower and a sunken bathtub with impressive views of the sparkling ocean. Outdoors, impressively comfortable and very private lounge areas invite you to make the most of the tropical climate.The rooftop deck with sparkling blue plunge pool offers panoramic Indian Ocean views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa Hotel Matemwe
Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa Zanzibar Island

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