Like most guests, we stayed in Sultan Sands after 2 weeks of Safari. The hotel is nice, and clean enough, even though some attention to detail might help (mosquito net had holes, housekeeping always set the AC to 16°C during the day which meant going back to a fridge, bathroom was a bit old and I had to call for new towels - but if you call, it is usually mended allright). The food is nice, and they are trying to vary it a bit, which also helps. The all-in drinks aren't great, but you'll get your money's worth. All in all, it could be excellent, however, there are a few things that really should be mended in my opinion, and which make the hotel average:
1. If you do not have all-in, as we did the first 2 days, you will pay a huge amout of money for drinks. A glass (!) of extremely average wine costs 6€, a small beer 4€, any long drink around 6-7€ and water's a shocking 1.75€ - for a big bottle.
2. if you have all-in, as we did the last 3 days, you can only get small bottles of water (0.5l) for free, you have to pay for a big bottle. Given that the whole hotel has solar panels, which they kind of advertise, and are trying to be eco-conscious, I think this is ridiculous.
3. Diving and snorkelling IS overpriced. A day of diving with equipment costs a shocking 150$. We went snorkelling - not organised with the hotel - for 40$, and given the state of the reef, I really don't think it is worth that money. I saved it to go diving for 2-3 days in the red sea at a later stage.
4. When it comes to paying, they transfer the amount in Tanzanian Shillings into Dollar at a very, very low rate. Someone in our group roughly estimated a 15% profit for the hotel. I would understand 5%, given the fact that they have to pay the credit card company, should you want to pay with a card, but it is ridiculous. Unfortunately, Stone Town, where we changed money at a far better rate, is far away, and the trip is quite expensive, so bring Tanzanian Shillings with you and make sure you spend them - or don't spend money there at all. When I addressed this to the manager on duty, he said something about this being the rate proposed by the Zanzibar gouvernment. When I said that they then should hang up some official looking paper explaining this, or showing some sort of proof to me, he simply said "no, this is not possible".
Otherwise, we did enjoy our stay, it is clean, the beach is beautiful, and the staff is very friendly, even though some could do with some training, but overall it is very good.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sultan Sands Island Resort is situated on the wide, sparkling beaches of Kiwengwa on the East Coast of Zanzibar Island. Sultan Sands is a resort with a unique character: an inspired blend of Swahili and Arab architecture and decor creates a relaxed ambience, while first-class amenities and facilities ensure complete comfort. The spacious rooms at Sultan Sands are built in the style of traditional African rondavels, each tastefully decorated with hand-carved Zanzibari furniture. All rooms are ocean-facing with some situated just metres from the beach. The resort's wining and dining venues are equally impressive, offering delicious local specialities as well as Far-Eastern and European favourites. Sultan Sands shares a 500m stretch of beach with its sister property - Bluebay Beach Resort & Spa. Guests of the two resorts also share many facilities and amenities, including the famous Oasis Spa and the One Ocean Dive Centre. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sultan Sands Island Hotel Kiwengwa
- Sultan Sands Island Resort Zanzibar Island/Kiwengwa