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“Hidden Charges and Misleading Offerings”

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Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa
Ranked #4 of 11 Hotels in Kiwengwa
Certificate of Excellence
Waterford, Ireland
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Hidden Charges and Misleading Offerings”
Reviewed August 12, 2011

We booked the Blue Bay Beach Resort for the last leg of our honeymoon to relax after 8 days roughing it on safari, we were greeted immediately on arrival and we were told we were being upgraded to a honeymoon / sea view suite, we were immediatly impressed with such a warm and positive welcome , little did we know thats were the service begun and ended.
1ST Thing we noticed on arrival at the room was it was covered in flower petals and there was a complimentary bottle of German bubbly thrown in! But other than this there was an overwhelming smell of damp throughout the room despite it had “just went through a refurbishment” – throughout the stay overall cleanliness of the room and bed linen was not great (i.e holes in sheets and bed linen , mouldy shower curtain , very dirty tile grout – see my pictures of the property)
We booked our honeymoon through Virgin Holidays and the brochure informed us that there were three restaurants to choose from in our hotel and that there was as also two more next door in the sister hotel which we could also avail of. (We were in the hotel on a Half Board Basis – and we were told should we wish to dine anywhere else on the premises other than the main dining room that there may be a local charge – to which we had no problem with).
The reality turned out to be that in the evening you could only dine on the terrace in the main dining room (all other restaurants were closed) – and the only choice of food being Luke warm – cold buffet and Luke warm bbq food while being entertained by cheesy 2 man bands with drum machines. Needless to say for our honeymoon we were pretty peed off and all our good clothes never got an outing.
We would have gone somewhere else to eat but as the blue bay is out in the sticks this was not an option If we had have know the real dining options at this hotel before we booked we would not have booked this premises as having only a buffet option / one restaraunt for eveing dining is not something we would ever go for as dining always forms parts of our evening activities.
Sunbathing / Bathing on the adjoining beach was not an option as the local hustlers and pests made it very uncomfortable to even look at the beach let alone walk on it ! Sunbathing around the pool was ok except when they would evict you mid-day or early every afternoon as they wanted to prepare the terrace for dinner or use the sun lounger terrace for sports activities.
One sting in the tail with this place was you could not pay cash or card for anything onsite everything could only be billed to your room. All charges in the hotel spa, restaurants hotel shop and water sports were in Tanzanian Shillings and had to be paid for on your departure. So on checking out we were presented with a bill in Tanzanian Shillings which we checked through and all expenditure matched what we had signed for. So as we had a lot of local currency we decide we would pay with that only to be told that even though your bill is in shillings you can only pay in USD calculated at the hotels own exchange rate (which was about 15% above the current rate) – we also asked about paying by card and this was also the same story (Billed in TSH but must pay in USD as hotels rate). This was a horrible scam by the hotel which we were not told about from the start we seen other guests complaining  as like us and we were pretty shocked at their appalling attitude to this fraudulent and hidden scam.
On a final note – I would take all good reviews of this hotel with a pinch of salt as each time we went to use the internet in the hotel office we would catch the office administrator on the hotels page on trip advisor – one day we even went to use the pc and trip advisor was open with a half completed review and it also had a box on the right hand side saying Tripadvisor has reasons to believe that the reviews may not be true.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank vadrefjiord
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bluebayZanzibar, General Manager at Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa, responded to this review, August 18, 2011
Dear Guests,
Your review refers to your stay in December 2010 and therefore misleading to the current guests.
We would like to welcome you back to Bluebay in the near future to demonstrate our current standards and levels or professionalism.
It is a pity that your comments were not adressed during your stay as we endevour to achieve 100% guest satisfaction.
Regards,
The Management
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Service
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  • Cleanliness
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English first
Geneva, Switzerland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2011

in the restaurants domestic pets are not accepted and not well treated in the hotel area
and i you look for a tranquillity forget it : each night music and shows until late

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
    • Sleep Quality
Helpful?
2 Thank mamiemi1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bluebayZanzibar, General Manager at Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa, responded to this review, August 18, 2011
Dear Guest,
All animals surrrounding the hotel property are wild animals, therefore they do not have imunization against diseases. We do not encourage guests to feed wild life as it is against our policy charter as per our website. Otherwise, we quiet happy that all the other aspects were well within and above your expectations.
Regards,
The Management
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2011

We stayed at this resort recently and had a great time. The grounds are well maintained, the restaurant/bar staff were very friendly and inviting. The food was themed out most every night we were there. It is buffet style. The entertainment was a plus. One night there was a local tradtional dance team. One night was acrobatics. Every night of our stay was a live band which was fun since they were singing 80's tunes I am used to in America, with African accents. They were entertaining.

Make sure you take all your reservation information with you when you go. We booked with a 3 night get 4th free that was advertised online. Had we not had the paperwork with us, they were going to try to get that 4th night paid for by us. Now, I can't say that's a common occurance, just be prepared as you should with anything you pay for. The oceanview room was beautiful, but limited to the ocean you could see from the room because of the palm trees. No complaint there, but not exactly what we expected.
The common areas were great! There was a recreation area with pool tables, ping pong tables, books etc. Lots of nice lounging furniture around to chill out and relax. The beach chairs in the sand as well as the grass were very relaxing too. The afternoon coffee and teas was nice and the bar area was great any time of the day.

Having a snorkelling/diving business on site was great for us when we went to book a snorkelling trip. I believe the business is Ocean One. The staff there was great!

The only downside I could possibly state is that our bed was 2 double beds pushed together. It would have been better to have 1 queen or king bed. Not 2 pushed together.
We only experienced 1 power outage during the afternoon while we were there. It wasn't too bad.

For ending our trip in Tanzania, this was a good choice to stay for a few days.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LJLee2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lebanon, Tennessee
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2011

I just returned from Zanzibar after spending 4 nights at the Bluebay Beach Resort. Zanzibar is a great beach destination in Africa. The Bluebay was a nice place to stay and it is in a central location to take other excursions.

We found the food to be outstanding the entire time we were there. The bar and bar staff were a pleasure. Tho, the prices were rather inflated for being in Zanzibar and in Africa. I've stayed at other beach resorts in Eastern Africa and haven't found the prices to be quite as steep.

I was able to get a very good rate for this stay in Bluebay. They had 4 for the price of 3 special and a 10% off special for booking early. In all I wound up paying $1002 for a 4 night stay. This was a half board rate for a "superior" room. During checkin though, I thought they were going to not honor the several emails and booking confirmations I had regarding my rate. They handed me a bill for $370 a night for 4 nights and asked for my credit card. It took several phone calls and about 15 minutes until they decided to honor their prior agreements. I read something about this in a review below, so I was ready with several emails and I was ready to walk off the property if they were not going to be fair.

The rooms were comfortable, the AC worked great and I don't think we lost power more than a time or two. The dive center was able to book a snorkel trip the day prior and they did a good job. There are several good places to eat just up/down the beach as well. I highly suggest a 20 minute walk south on the beach to Mvuvi!!

In all, I would stay there again if I were able to stay at the same rate.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LPhil617
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lusaka, Zambia
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 11, 2011

Great rooms with both fans and aircon, wonderful spa treatments, food was good, different menu every night. Great seafood platter at the restaurant on the beach The dive centre was very friendly and professional.

Wine and food not exorbitantly priced - remember you on an island. Will certainly go back.

Room Tip: Either upstairs at the back of the resort or right in front with a beach view.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jillypickle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
merseyside
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 2011

My husband and have just returned from 1 week at Bluebay and it exceeded all our expectations! The setting is beautiful,the food and various choices are excellent and we were made to feel very welcome by all of the staff. We thoroughly enjoyed the spa treatments and my husbands special birthday meal overlooking the beach,chef had even baked a birthday cake!
The gardens are a credit to the staff and the beautiful weaver birds building their perfect constructions were a treasure to behold! Everyday had a little unexpected suprise and we will never forget our first stay in Zanzibar and the wonderful friendliness of the people who made our stay so enjoyable!
We hope to return one day to this little piece of paradise!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cassandraMerseyside
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
22 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 22, 2011

paradise. definitely recommend going in the off-season. you will get some afternoon thunderstorms, but that only makes it more beautiful. the manager, tom, makes sure every guest feels at home. we have food allergies, and he had the chef show us what we could and couldn't eat every night at the buffet.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NY232323
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa

Property: Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa
Address: | North Coast, Kiwengwa 3276, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Kiwengwa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Kiwengwa
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Kiwengwa
#3 Luxury Hotel in Kiwengwa
#4 Family Hotel in Kiwengwa
#7 Romantic Hotel in Kiwengwa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 104
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A luxury beachfront resort with traditional Swahili charm, Bluebay Beach Resort & Spa is situated on the finest white beach on the east coast of Zanzibar. The resort is one of the island’s most prestigious properties offering the ultimate in beach comfort: excellent accommodation; fine wining and dining; a host of sports and leisure facilities; the famous Oasis Spa; and our award-winning service. Bluebay’s rooms and suites are set within 30-acres of tropical gardens with over 1,000 palm trees, some right at the ocean’s edge. All rooms are spacious, bright and beautifully decorated in Zanzibari style. Dining at Bluebay showcases Zanzibar’s celebrated local ingredients with an emphasis on fresh seafood and contemporary cuisine. As well as being a magical destination for holidaymakers wishing to soak up the sun and absorb the enchanting culture of Zanzibar, the resort offers excellent facilities for meetings, conferences and group incentives. And our weddings and events team can help you plan a private party, a wedding and, of course, a honeymoon! Bluebay Beach Resort & Spa is Bluebay’s premier brand. The resort shares a 500m stretch of beach with its sister property – Sultan Sands Island Resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bluebay Beach Hotel Kiwengwa
Bluebay Beach Resort And Spa Zanzibar Island/Kiwengwa

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