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“Beautifully presented, service somewhat lacking”
Review of Melia Zanzibar

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Melia Zanzibar
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Kiwengwa
Certificate of Excellence
Cork, Ireland
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Beautifully presented, service somewhat lacking”
Reviewed October 26, 2013

We stayed at the Melia Zanzibar for 6 nights after our Safari on the mainland. A taxi to/from the airport/Stone Town should cost you around $40-50, maybe more expensive if you haven't organised it in advance or you haven't haggled with the driver. Make sure you agree a price before you head off, as they don't run on meters.

We arrived around noon when check-in wasn't until 3pm and the all-inclusive package we had pre-booked also started from 3pm. However, we were welcomed by a friendly girl at check-in, were able to dump our bags and were given a welcome drink to enjoy while they got our room ready. We didn't have to wait long which we really appreciated.

We had booked a garden room, and couldn't have been happier with what we got. The rooms are beautifully appointed, the bathroom as big (if not bigger!) as the bedroom, and it all looked new, fresh and clean. Each day, they left fresh flowers and "towel art" on our bed which was a nice extra touch. It isn't a huge resort like you might get elsewhere, so everything is easily reached on foot. The only possible "down side" is that the beach is a little further away (which we knew when we booked anyway) and although you can walk there, taking the golf-cart shuttle is much easier and very efficient. It leaves from outside the main building at regular intervals, and when we were ready to come back from Gabi Beach, the security man called a cart down for us. Very efficient.

We opted to spend more time at the pool rather than at the beach due to the extreme tides which makes swimming less suitable at the beach. The pool was lovely and the resort fairly quiet when we stayed (September '13). I would say that some of the pool-bar staff could be a bit more efficient in bringing drinks/food to you at your sun lounger, or checking if you wanted anything else. I've had better experiences at other all-inclusive resorts. But, you could always walk up to the bar to order as well.

The food at the pool-bar was ok, the burger was probably the best choice on the menu. The drinks are good and they certainly aren't shy with the alcohol in the cocktails!! We also enjoyed the food at the beach-bar, which had slightly different options (the steak looked great!)
For dinner, there were really only 2 choices unless you opted for the more expensive all-inclusive package. The buffet was fine, although it did tend to get a bit repetitive. If you're not a big fan of seafood, the options drastically decrease. We enjoyed dinner at the Jetty which had a more relaxing/romantic atmosphere. The tapas option there is great as well either for a light dinner, or a pre-dinner snack with a drink. It's a shame the Jetty isn't open during the day when you can really enjoy the views!

The staff were a bit hit-or-miss. Some very attentive while others more or less ignored you or seemed incapable of filling your water up when asked, or bringing you coffee in the morning at the buffet restaurant. It's a shame as there were plenty of staff, and it wasn't particularly busy so no real reason why they shouldn't be more efficient. It seemed like each person had a specific task, e.g. filling up your water glass, or collecting plates, or pouring coffee. If you asked the water girl for coffee, things seemed to get very confusing for them…

If your intention is to stay at the resort to relax, swim and sunbathe, I would strongly recommend that you do go for the all-inclusive package as there are no other options for eating anywhere nearby. You do need to wear a bracelet, and also sign each time you eat/drink something which seemed a bit excessive. Although it's an all-inclusive resort, there are a lot of options on the menu which aren't included, in either level which seems odd. I guess it's a way of potentially making more money but we personally didn't feel a need to go for the non-included options during our stay.

NOTE : Please be aware that there is still a departure tax at Zanzibar airport, which is NOT included in your ticket - make sure you leave some cash for this! If you are flying domestically (e.g. to Dar Es Salaam) the price was US$8 per person. If you are flying internationally (e.g. to Nairobi) the price was US$48 per person.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank TavellingKiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John E, Guest Relations Manager at Melia Zanzibar, responded to this review, November 10, 2013
Dear Guest

On behalf of Melia Zanzibar, I was delighted to read that you had an overall memorable experience here at Melia Zanzibar, and would like to thank you for detailing your experience with us. Our mission and objectives are that, all our guests to experience quality, variety & value in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

I have shared with the team, how you found the staff to be very helpful during your stay and that you enjoyed most of our services. We will surely forward your compliments to all mentioned staff; I must thank you on behalf.

On the mentioned weak areas, I sincerely assure you that we have taken your comments seriously and corrective measures are already in place to avoid future occurrences.

Should you find yourself back in Zanzibar, please do not hesitate to contact Melia Zanzibar Team; we would look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Yours in Hospitality
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Kirkland, Washington
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed October 20, 2013

4 of us recently stayed at the Melia on Zanzibar. We opted for the "bed and breakfast" plan and were so glad we had. The night we arrived there was nothing available but the buffet at Spices which was very picked over by then. Please rethink replenishing at intervals.
The Garden rooms were adequet but they need a bedside table on each side of the bed and 2 chairs by the little round table in the room. The safe in both of our rooms did not work and had to be reprogrammed the day after we arrived. The tile in the open air shower was broken around the drain and the drainage was terrible.
The setting on the Indian Ocean is lovely and dining at the Jetty was fine, much quieter then with the herd around the buffet and the food was divine. They do push the expensive bottles of wine on you since we were not on the "inclusive" plan but have nice house wine by the glass.
Gabi Beach was very nice when the tide was in but it's a long long walk into the water to get to where you can swim the rest of the time. The food at the beach restaurant was very very good and it was lovely to have cold juice drinks brought to our sun beds under the palms. The staff at the beach were the friendliest we encountered at the hotel.
The grounds are quite nice to walk through.
The large pool has a tile bottom which is very slippery and the short handrail on only 1 side of the pool steps is inadequet.
I think this is a fine spot for couples on a budget who are not too picky about food and happy with the less expensive booze on the inclusive plan. Sitting outside at Spices with duo blaring Abba tunes and the multi colored lights and fountains was a bit "Las Vegas" for us. But as I said, the Jetty is divine, too bad the desk in the lobby couldn't supply us with menus for either the Jetty or Aqua and reservations to dine at either of these have to be made by 3PM (when most people are at the beach). We felt the hotel was all about lumping everyone into to the "inclusive" plan, which, is obviously more cost effective for management.

Room Tip: Romance or cliffside pavillions are probably the best choice.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Beth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John E, Guest Relations Manager at Melia Zanzibar, responded to this review, October 31, 2013
Dear Guest

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review about your stay with us. We are delighted that you were inspired by the food at Gabi beach, the grounds and friendliness of personnel in Gabi beach. Your compliments will surely be shared with them. Our goal is to ensure that all our clients leave satisfied and we try our best to fulfil all their needs.

On a different note, I apologize for the shortfalls you encountered during your stay. We constantly strive to provide an environment of comfort and value to our guests; therefore, we are sincerely concerned when we fell short of your expectations. I have taken note of your valuable comments and will use these to monitor and improve the quality of services we offer to our guests. All details will be shared with the entire team to improve all necessary areas, and again I genuinely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced and will take the appropriate steps to avoid a similar situation in the near future.

Again, thank you for staying with us and taking the time to give feedback.
Looking forward to your next return where we can make a difference.

Best Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 4 Contributor
49 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed October 19, 2013

Spent three days at this hotel and we were somewhat disappointed by the experience. Our first impression was not great - at check in the receptionist kept wanting us to purchase add ons, such as the all inclusive package (we had booked the bed and breakfast rate because we were planning on going into Stone Town etc.) and other extras. It felt like dealing with a used car salesperson. While the rooms were nice and large, there were many things that were very odd, like only one side of the bed had a lamp and a bed side table. The other side had nothing. So I ended up having to put my glasses on the floor. There are two doors to the bathroom and the light switches are at the far door and not the door near the entrance. We did, however, really like the outdoor shower.

The beach for the hotel is about a five minute golf cart ride away. We never did have to wait long for the golf cart. Most of the staff were friendly but there were a few wait staff that were pretty grumpy. We enjoyed our two dinners at the jetty restaurant. Much nicer than the buffet that was offered in the main restaurant.

Bring lots of sunscreen because it costs US$30 for a regular sized bottle at the hotel gift shop.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank BenDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John E, Guest Relations Manager at Melia Zanzibar, responded to this review, October 31, 2013
Dear Guest

I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to have had you as our guest. We appreciate so much for the feedback on your recent stay at Melia Zanzibar. I am delighted that you found the staff and accommodations to your satisfaction. I will pass your sincere feedback to our associates.

I apologize where we failed to meet your expectations; concern departments have been informed on the negative comments, which they have taken into consideration to ensure similar situation will not happen again.

We hope to see you again on your next visit.
Best Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darwin, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 19, 2013

Just spent 4 days at this amazing hotel with my girlfriend. The hotel is immaculately kept and the staff are very friendly. The only things you need to know are:

Get a Romance Pavilion - stunning views and very romantic
Get the all inclusive premium package - don't pay for anything while you're there (any food/drinks before and after your package starts is extra... which you can just pay at the end of your stay)
Walk to Gabi beach (it only takes 15-20 minutes, tide permitting) - you can take a golf cart which arrive every 15 minutes or so, but take the time and walk and enjoy the scenery
Spices restaurant has a different themed buffet every night - great selection of dishes, caters to everyone, and there's a live band some nights too.
Jetty Restaurant is great to chill out with some pre-dinner drinks and tapas
Gabi Beach is amazing - Cabanas are extra if you're not in the villas, but you can just spend the whole day here on a sun bed and your favourite cocktail.

The Melia looks even better than the pictures, so don't hesitate to make a booking. The staff make sure that you are well looked after and are all friendly. We will be back again for sure!

Be aware that airport transfers are extra. This can be organised before with the hotel.
Also there is a $48 departure tax at the airport, and get there early as they only had one x-ray machine working and was a bit chaotic.

Room Tip: Beachfront Romance Pavilion and the Premium All Inclusive package
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Nat B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John E, Guest Relations Manager at Melia Zanzibar, responded to this review, November 12, 2013
Dear Guest

It is a great pleasure for us to read the comments posted on Trip Advisor following your recent holiday at Melia Zanzibar. We are very proud and lucky to prove that not by chance we exceeded your expectations. It was the right place you chose, at the right time and good part of it is that we manage to make your holiday special and memorable. This has always been our culture for every guest coming to our hotel.

I am very sorry that you had to pay $48 tax at the airport, this is the new rule set by the government of which all travellers coming to Tanzania have to pay.
Our major mission is to deliver unique services to all our esteemed clients, that they feel “Home Away from Home.

We wish to welcome you again soon!
Best Regards
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Barcelona, Spain
Level 5 Contributor
94 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed September 13, 2013

We spent 6 nights at this amazing hotel in August 2013 and we had a wonderful time! The hotel grounds are immaculate and the rooms are very confortable and modern! The food is exquisite and with a great variety, including the different night themes at Spice. We also had dinner at Jetty and lunch a couple of times at Gabi Beach and were equally pleased! Special mention and thanks to José Antonio, who handled our reservation from beginning to end, taking care of all our needs and requests, to the beach and pool guys, that were extremely kind to our 9 year old son, to John, for making sure our stay was unforgettable with all his recommendations and tour of the property, and of course to Cesar, a great host to each and everyone of Melia Zanzibar guests!

We definitely recommend this property and the island of Zanzibar to anyone willing to enjoy a beautiful tropical island with a very distinct personality!!!!

Room Tip: If you are celebrating a special occasion, the pavillions and villas are definitely worth it!!!!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Asun P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John E, Guest Relations Manager at Melia Zanzibar, responded to this review, September 16, 2013
Dear Guest

Wow! What an amazing feedback!

Thank you for sharing your feedback on Trip Advisor. Guest satisfaction is priority to us and we work hard to make sure all of our guests have a rewarding stay at Melia Zanzibar. In this regard, we are delighted you had a wonderful overall experience with us, especially the hotel grounds, food, facilities and high standard of our services. We truly appreciate your good ambassadorship.

On a further note, I am thrilled to know that Cesar, José Antonio and John were so accommodating to you and made your stay comfortable; I must also say that they are truly assets to us. I have shared your kind words with the entire team.

We are looking forward to your return!

Kindest Regards
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London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed September 12, 2013

My wife and I spent 3 nights at Melia, Zanzibar in a cliff side Pavilion room on an AI Premier basis in early Sept. The room was amazing with all the luxuries you would expect and views of the Indian Ocean to die for....the sunken bath was a real treat. Food was excellent with many restaurants to choose from inc the room service which is free on a premier deal (not so on normal AI). The sandy beach is a short cart ride away or even a casual stroll (beach or path) as the jetty beach is rock form. Service is good although more focused for 'western' folk (beach better than hotel).
Only real downfall was that although we had arranged a transfer from the airport this failed to show and was put on our final bill (once explained it was removed) and at $75 was bit of a pill as you can get a normal transfer for $50.
Highly recommend the Spa and all that it offers which is run by some very nice Thai women
Watch out for Zanzibar departure tax ($48 at time of writing).

Room Tip: Cliff side Pavilion is worth the extra
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NBO71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John E, Guest Relations Manager at Melia Zanzibar, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
Dear Guest

Thank you for this wonderful response and feedback posted on Trip Advisor! It is a great pleasure knowing that we were able to satisfy you during your stay. I am very glad to learn that you were amazed by our facilities, grounds, high standard of services, meal plan in our outlets and SPA services. At Melia Zanzibar, we always strive to not only meet but also exceed our guest’s expectations. I will absolutely share your awesome comments with the entire team. I must say that your comment is a huge motivational tool which means a lot to all of us.

On a different note, I do apologize for the shortfalls and misunderstanding upon your arrival at the airport that the driver came late to pick you up, and $75 was included in your final bill. I have noted your honest feedback which will also be shared with concern department to avoid future occurrences.

We are looking forward to your next visit!
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Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 6, 2013 via mobile

The resort was wonderful, the food was amazing, complements to the chef all was fantastic and the buffet dinners were brilliant, it was based on a theme dinner buffet. Plus you have two other restaurants to choose from.We were very impressed with the food. We would recommend being part of the premium package and not just all inclusive cos then certain things you have to pay for No one told us that there were two choices. We had a garden room which was very comfortable. It's a wonderful place for couples very relaxing and romantic holiday. Groups of friends could have fun, but there is no party vibe if that's what u looking for. The spa was wonderful loved the massage.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank caladoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John E, Guest Relations Manager at Melia Zanzibar, responded to this review, September 8, 2013
Dear Guest

Thank you for selecting Melia Zanzibar as your relaxing destination during your recent vacation. We appreciate your positive review posted on Trip Advisor, it is extremely important to us to learn that you loved our products. Your comments will certainly be passed along to the entire team. We also take pride for their hard work.

I sincerely do apologise that we didn’t provide sufficient information about our packages. I have noted your concerns which will be used to monitor and improve the quality of services we offer to our guests. We are looking forward to your return.

Kind Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Melia Zanzibar

Property: Melia Zanzibar
Address: Kiwengwa, Tanzania
Phone Number:
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:
#1 Family Hotel in Kiwengwa
#1 Luxury Hotel in Kiwengwa
#1 Spa Hotel in Kiwengwa
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Kiwengwa
#3 Romantic Hotel in Kiwengwa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Melia Zanzibar 5*
Number of rooms: 124
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Melia Hotel and Resort is Zanzibar's leading international resort, situated on the north-east coast of the island. Melia Zanzibar is built on a 40 acre estate with a beautiful beach of pearlescent white sand lapped by warm ocean waters, 300 meters long, situated at the very end of the property to procure the perfect combination with nature. The resort is ringed by a natural coral reef, making bathing a relaxing and safe experience. The hotel is the perfect destination for honeymoon or wedding vacations as well as meetings & incentives. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Melia Zanzibar Hotel Kiwengwa
Zamani Zanzibar Kempinski Kiwengwa
Melia Zanzibar Zanzibar Island/Kiwengwa

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