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Reviewed October 7, 2017

My wife and I visited Sultan Sands for 5 nights following a one week safari in Tanzania last week - which was brilliant (the safari that is)... We went half-board so had to pay for lunch and drinks. It seemed better value at the time of booking as we don’t drink or eat a great deal and unless you get hammered every night I think it was cheaper overall – though drinks WERE expensive. A glass of white wine and a 330ml bottle of beer cost 9,000 Tanzanian Shillings each – around £3.50. So around £7 pounds a pint and £30 a bottle of wine if you go half board.
We had booked this way, as we thought we’d try some of the local restaurants, but seeing as there aren’t any within a few miles, maybe booking All Inclusive would be the best option – you have to pay for bottles water too in the restaurant which is fair enough. (A big bottle of water is provided free for teeth cleaning in your room every day though).
On our last day we walked down the beach for about a mile or so – to the right – and were left pretty much alone by the beach boys with their various bit and pieces. Along the way we saw a couple of souvenir shops and a supermarket of sorts – so if you DO need something , you could always chance going down there – at no time did we feel pressurised by anyone.
Anyway, this is a really nice hotel with a nice big swimming pool, though as per usual if you don't plonk your towels down on the sunbeds first thing in the morning, somebody else gets there first. The majority of the clientele were German so I think I'll leave that there...
We were in Room 371 which was a steady climb up a hill which had a really steep bit near the end, so we got plenty of exercise getting to and from there. If you are older and greyer than us (we're in out 60's), I'd ask for another room closer to reception - though it was very quiet which was great. We had a nice view of a bush and the lodge opposite, but it was fine...
The room we stayed in was VERY comfortable with a lovely big bed and lots of lights compared to some of the other places we stayed in on our tour. On our last night we tried the TV for the first time and it had loads of decent English films and programs so top marks there. The shower was great, but getting the shower door to shut properly took 2 of us each time, so the floor flooded most mornings anyway.
Staff were VERY friendly. The food was good - lots of choice every night and morning, though it was generally luke warm as people tended to leave the hot buffet containers open. The hotel had theme nights for the food, but everything seemed to be pretty similar at the end of the day - fish, pork, chicken, beef and lots of veggies and regular barbecues throughout the 5 nights. People just helped themselves. It was very good really.
Entertainment was good. They usually played / entertained around the pool from 8:30 to 9:30 and you could always get a table in a good position.
There WERE a lot of mosquitoes at night, but as long as you used the right sprays you didn’t get bitten.
There is a lovely pool with a shallow end and a deep end for swimmers - over 6 feet - which was very rarely used. The beach is great for walking. There is a reef about half a mile away out at sea and you could attempt to walk to that at low tide - though you need footwear because of the sea urchins which DO sting... The water is absolutely clear so you can see where you are walking. We got a few hundred yards out and saw a lot of starfish and the odd trapped tropical fish as there are various bits where the water comes up to your knees. When the tide comes in it's great for swimming for a while - much warmer than the pool!
In the afternoon there is an indoor area next to the pool where you can get coffee and tea and biscuits and cake and cool down after the sun. That was free to all, so was great for us. The Bluebay next door has a little sandwich shop by their pool which does lovely baguettes / paninis for a reasonable price so go there if you want something a bit different at lunchtime.
US dollars are accepted everywhere, though using Tanzanian Shillings is probably better value if you can get small enough denominations. The guide books we read say that tipping isn’t expected – and it isn’t, though is greatly appreciated! If you want to go snorkelling or diving there is a place on-site between the Sultan Sands and the Bluebay called One Ocean Dive. For $45 each we took a trip which had 2 X 45 minute swims. I can hardly get across a pool as I'm a teriible swimmer and when we asked about the trip we were told that the depth is between 5 to 6 foot in a lagoon so we thought we’d have a go as I’d never done it before. So you can imagine our surprise when we stopped at sea about a quarter of a mile from a lagoon in about 20 feet of water… They did offer us life jackets which we used and it was terrific – once I got the hang of breathing through the snorkel that is. The guys on the boat / diving helpers were great. I’d recommend it to everyone.
Trips from the hotel are really expensive – about $90 per person for 2 of you to visit Stone Town for half a day. But we went with another couple and included a trip to a Spice Farm as well, so the trip took around 7 hours total. As there were 4 of us the bill was $55 per person. So almost half price and we took in 2 trips at the same time. That was another good day out.
It was a lovely end to our holiday. Only given it 4 stars as service was a bit hit and miss at times, but I would recommend going here especially this time of year as the weather was wonderful.

  • Stayed: September 2017, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Welshperson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, Manager at Sultan Sands Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2017

Hello Welshperson,

Thank you for your candid and honest feedback of your recent stay with us here on the sunny island of Zanzibar. It certainly seems like you had a great stay. Your feedback will not only help fellow travelers but also help us improve on our guest services and facilities. On behalf of the Team and myself we all hope to see you back very soon!

Asante sana!

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Reviewed September 27, 2017

I arrived late due to a delayed flight and was able to get a table at the buffet thanks to Maria understanding I hadn't eaten. The next morning being new to the hotel Addy helped me through the minefield that was the breakfast buffet - so much choice!
You have access to sun beds by the pool or on a raised beach area overlooking the sea with a beach towel provided by the hotel. The beach when it's there, as generally the tide is out during the morning and comes back in by around 2pm with a fairly strong swell and a brisk breeze. You can walk out to the reef and will no doubt be approached by hawkers selling boat trips to paintings.
Generally the staff are friendly but this hotel does cater for mainly Germans & Dutch guests so I found myself as a lonely British tourist except for the last day.
The bedrooms are adequate and well furnished with a small patio.
Finally you do have access to the BlueBay next door which caters slightly more for families.

Stayed: September 2017
Thank Bernadette M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, Manager at Sultan Sands Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded October 3, 2017

Hello Bernadette M,

Thank you for the time taken to leave us you thoughts on your recent vacation with us. I'm very happy to read that you had a great time with us. My team works very hard to make sure each and every guest is well looked after. Here at the resort we do cater for many different European nationalities and this changes allot from week to week hence the reason for such a varied F&B offering here at the resort. On behalf of many team many thanks and we all hope to see you again in the very near future.

Asante sana.

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Reviewed September 22, 2017

I wish I liked this property more, Mark, the manager seems like a very nice guy who is committed to improving the hotel so here is our review.

Pros: right on the beach, smaller (compared to blue bay), quiet property), good buffet options that changes each day.

Cons: Power outages (happened three times while we're there, didn't last long thank goodness), waaaaay to many mosquitos in the humidity. NO internet access in rooms (which means sitting outside using wifi and getting more mosquito bites). Staff English is limited.

Bottom line: a great potential with a couple of tweaks to be a great place. But unless the pests are better controlled we probably won't be back.

  • Stayed: September 2017, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank sophiew616
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, Manager at Sultan Sands Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 25, 2017

Good day sophiew616,

Thank you for leaving your thoughts on your recent stay with us here at Sultan Sands, I was happy to see that you really enjoyed our beautiful location along with the excellent Food & Beverage offerings for our guests. Power outages are common place on the entire island of Zanzibar which affects all Hotels and Resorts, which is why everyone including our selves has back up generators to ensure the supply of power to the resort, there is however a very short gap in the change over from mains to generator. Zanzibar as an Island does not produce any of its own electricity it is imported from the mainland via undersea cable. All Sultan Sands vacations are sold without Wi-Fi in guest rooms and are advertised as Wi-Fi available free in Public Areas only. We do run at the resort a robust pest control regime which includes fogging for mosquitos, however being a tropical island we cant eradicate them entirely hence the reason why we spray down guest rooms every night to ensure all guests are comfortable during the evening.

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Reviewed September 13, 2017

On the day of my departure, I managed to forget my phone at the reception. I discovered this mistake as soon as I got to the airport, and tried to call the hotel. No answer, even though I tried several times. I then sent an email, and waited patiently for someone to at least give me some response indicating whether they had found my phone or not. I even contacted them through their "contact us"-site online. No answer there either (and it's been almost two months so pretty sure I'm not gonna be getting one either)

I understand that my phone may not have been found, but you do expect an answer! I will never book this hotel or any hotel in this chain again.

PS: if you're a scandinavian, even more reason not to book this place as you will basically only hear scandinavian

  • Stayed: July 2017, traveled with family
    • Service
Thank Frida Walle T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, Manager at Sultan Sands Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 13, 2017

Good day Frida Walle T,

As the Manager of the resort I take all guest feedback seriously, I apologize for the lack of perceived communication. Unfortunately in this case I have checked with my Front Office team and also my Head Office team and we have no record of any correspondence from you. If you could contact my office directly on unitmanager@sultansandszanzibar.com and forward me the copy of your online correspondence this may help me investigate your complaint further. I can confirm that I have checked the in resort daily duty manager logs and there were no reports of a guest phone being reported as lost & found that belonged to a departed guest on the day you departed and the following day. Guests do lose personal items while on holiday and I can assure you we do our very best to ensure that when they are found we make every effort to return them to our guests as soon as possible, only last week I posted a phone to Austria for a guest who had left it in their room upon departure. As a resort we cater for a wide range of nationalities not just from Scandinavia, during your brief stay with us we had guests from Germany, UK, Spain, Israel, Italy, France, Belgium, Tanzania and the USA, this is the norm all year round.

I look forward to your correspondence.

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Reviewed September 11, 2017 via mobile

We had an amazing stay here, at Sultan Sands Resort. I truly loved everything about it! Starting with the staff who was so friendly and helpfull all the time, the beautiful garden and accomodation, white sand, warm crystal clear water, delicious food, special themed dinners and last, but not least, the live bands and dance shows they have in the evenings.

The room had a fantastic view, we could actually see the ocean and the palmtrees from our bed :D
Also very clean and cozy.

Many types of dishes and all of it fresh and delicious. For drinks, lots of nice cocktails, from which I recommend Dawa :D

Very good vibes here and this is also thanks to the people. The staff is always smiling and there to meet all your needs (Hussein, Farida, Emmanuel, Julius, Erick... just to name a few). Professional and more, good people. :) We met Mark, the GM of the resort, David and Roberto. Hopefully we'll catch up again soon, it was a real pleasure. Mark, thank you for the special dinner and next time I will sing with the band. I'm just giving you time for preparations. No pressure. :D

To sum it up, I loved it! I would return in a heatbeat and stay, well, for an undetermined period. :)

Stayed: September 2017, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Alexis C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, Manager at Sultan Sands Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 11, 2017

Hello Alexis C,

I was very Happy to read from your feedback that you had a amazing time with us all here at Sultan Sands. I will make sure to pass on your kind comments onto all of the staff who are the ones that deserve the most praise for making guests vacations such memorable experiences. Your singing was great which the guests loved and yes as and when you are back we will defiantly have you up on stage again!

I also hope Sorin's back gets better soon as well!

Come back soon!

Asante sana.

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