This hotel, as far as me and my wife could work out, goes by three different names: Beach Club Kiwengwa, Villago Bravo, Kiwengwa Strand Hotel. It caters for mainly Italian package tourists, who seem to love it.
- Absolutely stunning surrounds - the white sand, the azure sea, the palms, a wooden jetty poking its way out into the ocean - a picture perfect postcard setting.
- The hotel grounds itself are really nice, thatched roofs, lovely pool, nice bedrooms - all in all, things were looking up for this hotel until...
-The Surliness of the staff
Let me qualify this a bit more. Firstly, not all of the staff were surly, for instance the men working the reception desk were always courteous and polite. The man manning the towel booth was perhaps the most polite member of staff full stop. If I were the manager of the hotel, I'd have him pulled out of there immediately and placed in a more front-line customer service type duty. No, the real pains in the neck were the bar staff in the main restaurant. One woman's attitude bordered on actually hostility.
Now I know that these people are probably paid a pittance for what they do, and they see rich Europeand demanding their free drinks (the hotel is All Inclusive) and probably get a bit irked sometimes. But on one occasion, I went up to the lady in question (the evening of November 17th if any of the hotel's management are reading this) and asked for a glass of beer for myself and a glass of wine for my wife. When the woman eventually acknowledged my presence she shook her head and told me I couldn't have any because I hadn't brought glasses with me. I gestured to the array of glasses next to her, clearly waiting to be used for the very purpose I'd asked for, but she shook her head. I explained that the glasses from our table were being used for water and could I please just use the glasses in front of her. Humphing and puffing like an oversized teenager, she reluctantly poured me a glass of beer. Not a smile, not a nod, only undisguised annoyance.
The previous day, this young woman hadn't been working the bar, instead an equally surly young man stood there. As I approached him, a waiter sidled up to the barman. "Can I have a beer please?" he mimicked. "Give me a beer!" I was shocked and indeed asked for a beer, to which they both lauged and had a brief (but cleary funny to them) conversation in Swahili.
Neither episodes were a nice way to start our evening meals.
Speaking of the meals, the choice was actually quite good with lots of fish and pasta. That said, and though my wife and I have travelled in India, West Africa, South East Asia and not contracted any sort of stomach complaint, twelve hours after eating in the hotel, we both succumbed. Coincidence? I think not.
And this is a major failing of staying in an all inclusive environment, especially in location where there were no other options to eat.
Another niggling thing was the racous noise coming from a DJ until 2am one night. This din may well have occured on other nights, though we didn't hear it. At one point in my tossing and turning I heard the bass thump of a song by the Black Eyed Peas. The song: Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night, was at odd to my current mood. Twitching with mosquito bites, cramping with abdomnal spasms, and now being kept awake by the aforementioned song was almost too much to bear.
Joking aside (though at the time it didn't seem funny at all), the hotel could be so much better with not much effort. A staff training day on basic customer service is of paramount importance. And making sure the food served is piping hot is another basic necessity. Because if these two things had been in place, the hotel wold have been almost perfect. But as it stands, the Sea Club/Strand/Bravo hotel is not somewhere I could recommend.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Is an Italian Management Club, located on one of the most beautiful beaches of the Eastern coast of Zanzibar, this resort lies at only 50 minutes from Stone Town, 43 km from the airport. Wisely blending modern comforts and local tradition, this village retains a vivid "African" style, emphasized by a spectacular wooden structure in "casuarinas" and "makuti , a fiber obtained from the palm, where the hall and the common services are located. Rooms The 200 rooms are housed in two-storey villas, laid out in a wide tropical garden. Very comfortable and equipped in fresh, astel shades, local style furniture, they feature air conditioning, hairdryer, mini - fridge (no service), bathroom, terrace or balcony. Few 4-bedded and connecting rooms are available. Possible accommodation in Comfort rooms with surcharge, completely renovated and finely furnished in the typical Zanzibar style. The Cuisine Buffet and grilled meals are served at the main Restaurant named Ngalawa where every day you can have different Italian and international recipes. During the meals soft drinks, natural mineral water, wine and local beer are served by the glass and are included. Close to the main restaurant, in the middle of a beautiful tropical garden, the new opening of Garden Pizza Restaurant, where at dinner, you can reserve your Italian menu with vegetables, sausages starters, wide choice of pizzas, dessert and drinks included. Lobster dinner on reservation and on payment. The "Nanga" bar in the main building is open from 7.30 am to midnight and guests can have late breakfast, soft drinks, American coffee, house wine, local beer and local spirits (not branded) by the glass, house wine and alcoholic drinks till midnight. On the beach and close to the swimming pool, Baobab beach Cafe and Restaurant offers salty snacks from 10 to 12,30 am. Buffet lunch from 12,30 am to 15,00. Alcoholic drinks and no alcoholic national from 9,00 to 19,00. At evening from 20,00 the restaurant becomes the "Swahili fusion" restaurant where guests can taste typical Swahili dishes cooked according some new recipes of our chef. With charge to be reserved. Lobster dinner on reservation and on payment. The Villaggi Bravo Kiwengwa applies the "all inclusive" formula including: full board meal plan (buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner) with unlimited drinks at the meals and in the course of the day, including natural mineral water, soft drinks, house-wine, local beer and spirits always served by the glass, until midnight. On charge: espresso and cappuccino, canned and bottled drinks, ice cream and any drinks after midnight. Facilities The guests can enjoy a wide fresh-water swimming pool, with a new special area for kids and completed by a Beauty Center "Mchaichai Spa (on payment). TV- Sat lounge, a small library, boutiques and a meeting room for up to 10/12 persons are also available WIFI available in all the hotel on payment: € 10 for week. Laundry, safe box and medical service on payment. Sports, entertainment The village features tennis courts, light for night play (to be paid separately) and a multi-functional area and a little fitness-center. Beach volley, beach soccer, aqua gym, aerobics, table-tennis and bowls are also available. The well-equipped Diving center is available on payment, inside the resort. Twice a week, a disco night is organized in the resort, with music and lot of fun. Day and evening entertainment by the animation staff at the amphitheater. Beach The Villaggi Bravo Kiwengwa is located on the most beautiful coast of the island, along a stunning stretch of white sand which expands for over 5 km. It is the ideal setting for a holiday of relax and fun in touch with the sea. The beach is equipped with beach umbrellas as long are available in natural fiber and sun beds. The beach towels are free at the beach and at the swimming pool. Just a deposit requested. Additional Information Pets: not allowed. Credit cards accepted: magnetic stripe VISA and MASTERCARD. 5% fee for payments with credit cards. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aw Bravo Kiwengwa Hotel Kiwengwa
- Villaggio Bravo Zanzibar Kiwengwa
- VOI Kiwengwa Resort Zanzibar Island