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“Very Nice Visit to Zanzibar”

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Baraza Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Bwejuu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 4, 2012

We stayed at Baraza for 6 nights. Initially I was disappointed at location of our room - Villa 29 - last villa against perimeter wall in last line of villas. Not my ideal spot but villa was very nice. Hotel gardens are still very young so will look better in a few years. Interior design - all a bit monotone - gold and ivory. Could do with a flash of other vibrant colours. We really liked the high and low tides and at high tide the sea is beautiful to have a dip in. I see people moan about the tides but being a hotel of 30 villas, hardly anybody goes into the sea at high tide! Food and beverage - very good beach service - little treats during the day offered - fruit cocktails, iced coffee etc. We did appreciate this. Breakfast is good and the fruits are amazing. Lunch is fine - small buffet. Dinner was our least favourite meal. For us we prefer a quality buffet and yes, we did get this, perhaps nearly every other night which was very enjoyable. What we didn't like were the 'set menus' - it felt like they were trying too hard - 5 course bland meals. The only thing in these menus I was interested in eating were the delicious soups. Please, Baraza, re-think the fine dining experience. I just don't think it works. House wines were fine. Spa is very good. Regarding the internet, perhaps the Baraza could explain why they charge for internet access. In most hotels I stay at nowadays, it is free and at the hotel they own in Nairobi, internet access is free. That did annoy us. Also in East Africa, we find that laundry services are normally included in this sort of resort. Here we had to pay extra. Water sports were also at an extra cost. I think at an all inclusive resort they should include laundry, internet access and non motorised waterspouts (they don't have motorised). We loved the rising of the moon and were lucky enough to see the full moon for several evenings. Be warned, you will be informed on arrival that check out time is 10. am. We were not due to leave until 1.30 pm. If I had known beforehand I would have asked my tour operator to organise and pay for a late check out as this ruined our last morning. The staff were really delightful. They were trying so hard and I realised they didn't speak or understand English as well as some other East African countries. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience. Stone Town is a must to visit - very colourful in every respect.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank PMPringle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 3, 2012

We stayed here for 5 nights. The resort was OK though sea weeds made it impossible to swim in the sea (probably due to tide season). Villas were spacious and A/C was OK. Beware of the internet. Extremely slow. Lots of geckos and mosquitos, though beds had nets. Restaurant was very well run&managed by Mr. Jean-Armond Kalei. He went out of his way to accommodate your wishes with a great smile and in courteous manner.

Room Tip: Beware of villas near the wall surrounding the resort.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Hilal E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2012

We spent 8 nights here in October after a short safari in the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania. The resort was everything we expected and more. Excellent food, a real variety of pan asian and international cuisines. Highly attentive service. The place is big enough that you don't really see other guests, especially if you have an ocean front villa where you simply stroll out of your balcony and onto the beach. It was the perfect compliment to our safari experience. The spa is not to be missed! An excellent resort. Thanks to Jemima for being a great hostess.

Room Tip: we had Villa 5 which was excellent.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank PistolPete2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2012

This is an excellent hotel by African standards. Very stylish, friendly staff, secure.
The food is good, however there was no a la carte option, and make sure you finish your set course dinner otherwise you will be bombarded with questions if you have enjoyed it and why you have not eaten everything.
POWER CUTS every evening remind you that you are in a third world country, but we got used to it by the end of our holiday.
The biggest let down was the shop. The prices are outrageous and the quality is as poor as it can be. We bought flip flops which broke on the 2nd day, goggles which leak water and impossible to use, and the sun screen which had to be re-applied every hour according to instructions. I dont mind paying a premium for good products but these were as bad as Chinese cheap products can be.
The beach is nice and the water is warm, but the tides are very strong and you can only swim for a couple of hours per day.
Having said all that, we had a very nice time at the resort, our villa was great and I loved the design. The same company owns a nearby hotel and I think that they should integrate them in order to offer more facilities and dining options for guest. That way this hotel could attract not only guests who are doing a safari before, but also people coming to Zanzibar for a beach holiday in a five star resort.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank AntonLF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMBaraza, General Manager at Baraza Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 4, 2012

Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review about Baraza We
greatly appreciate feedback, both positive and negative, which helps us to

We are very pleased to hear that you have enjoyed the style and the decor of
the hotel, as well as the hospitality of our staff and we thank you for
acknowledging this in your review.

The power cuts are unfortunately a fact of life in Zanzibar but Baraza is
equipped with an extensive back up system in place 24 hours a day to deal
with this. We would like to clarify that what you have experienced was a
2-3 minute transition from landline power to our back up generators. We are
sorry to hear that you found this inconvenient, but we want to make clear to
other potential guests that there is always power at Baraza.

Concerning the shop, we are very sorry to hear that your experience was not
positive. Our shop was noted by Tatler and Conde Nast for being an
exceptional hotel gift shop with unique, eclectic items which range from an
impressive collection of Africana, Kaftans, decorative items & Zanzibari
antiques. Also we would like to point out that the sunscreen, flip flops
and goggles we are selling are all imported from the USA. But we have noted
your comments on them and we are reviewing the products accordingly.

As our guests enjoy Baraza on an all inclusive basis, we change the dining
locations with different themes, menus and venues. Our guests are always
able to order from the a la carte beach side menu available from 11.00am to
19.00pm and we can also organize beach barbeques, as well as private dining
experiences arranged with our chef at an extra charge.

The difference between the high and low tide is a normal phenomenon along
the entire East African coast, and for this reason East Africa and indeed
Zanzibar is one of the few places where you are able to enjoy reef walks
during low tide and hence admire the incredible marine life of the Indian

Thanking you once again for your comment, we hope to have the pleasure to
welcome you back again.


The Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2012

A beautiful hotel. We're just departing at the airport now. But a number of little missteps along the way that don't warrant its extensive price or rating. Nothing was enough to warrant a call to a manager, but the totality of misses had us second guessing what otherwise would be a great resort on a great beach. Food was great in quality, but 5/6 meals are buffets. Meaning, every day breakfast and lunch, and then dinner every other night. At these prices, I'd want a menu to order from. If you wanted room service or something else, there was a charge. Out of about 5 calls to either the beach club or reception, we'd be told we'd get a call back. So we'd wait a bit in the villa with no response. And after returning, there would be no message waiting. So either, there is no voicemail or no follow-through. I hope its the former, but makes getting any resolution of issues an effort. We were surprised to find on our last night a bottle of champagne waiting on our return from dinner. Nice intention, however it was room temperature -- no thought about putting it in the fridge or better on ice. Big deal? No, but it shows that the service issues aren't thought through. Gym? Especially in a hot climate, but even in any hotel, you'd expect a water service, or water bottles, or anything. No thought. Internet, they ask when you check in if you want it for $15/night. I'd think paying over $1k/night it would be part of "all-inclusive", but even when our villa host brought a router, he couldn't make it work. Said he'd come back to fix, never did. Fortunately we didn't get charged even though we were able to figure out on our own it was plugged into the wrong switch.

Lot's of potential if those things we're accustomed to just happened. But something is just missing. Maybe in a few years the management can get it up to the level its being priced/marketed at.

Room Tip: Beach Front Villas. Even includes reserved loungers in prime beach spots.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Paul D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMBaraza, General Manager at Baraza Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 4, 2012

Dear Guest,

We appreciate your kind comments about the hotel and would like to say that
guest satisfaction is something that we take very seriously and feedback
from our valued guests is something we appreciate. I hope you will allow me
to clarify some of the points that you have raised in your review.

We do provide complimentary bottled water in the spa which is the same
location as the gym as well as a selection of teas and lime water. We
apologize if they were not immediately made available to you.

Actually, the bottle of sparkling wine was in your fridge since the first
day you arrived, as a complimentary gesture from us for your honeymoon,
which is as per our normal policy and was indicated by your villa host upon
arrival when showing you the room. Since you had not consumed it, he
removed it from the fridge on your last night and put it out as he thought
you might like to take it with you. Therefore it was not put in an ice
bucket, which needless to say, would have been the case if it had been
brought to the room for you.

We regret that you interpreted it as a negative issue since the intention
was in fact completely the opposite. In fact the villa host, only wanted to
make sure that you noticed the bottle and he is extremely sorry to read on
the internet that this upset you.

We try to offer a mix of dining venues, menus for our guests. As is
communicated upon arrival by the Villa host, although we always offer a
buffet option for lunch, we also have the a la carte lunch menu available
every day which is part of the all inclusive plan and is not at an extra
charge for guests who do not want to have the buffet.

Of course, our staff are always available to prepare anything special or
particular for our guests and it is so unfortunate that you did not express
a preference for something other than the buffet that one evening during
your stay, as the Chef would have been more than happy to assist you. As it
is a beach resort, with guests coming to breakfast at their leisure, we
prefer to serve a premium breakfast buffet so that our guests feel relaxed
in a more informal setting.

I am sorry to hear that you felt the communication was not good when you
called the reception. As you may know, for the local population English is
not their first language and when opening Baraza we were committed to
creating jobs for the local community and therefore made a conscious choice
to hire young Zanzibaris and Tanzanians and give them an opportunity and
training in the hospitality industry. Sometimes communication can be a bit
challenging and I hope you can understand that I am not in any way excusing
the fact that you did not receive the correct follow up or communication, I
just want to explain that the language can sometimes be a barrier. We are
following up on this and again, please accept our apologies. The
overwhelming feedback that we get from our valued guests is that it is the
Zanzibari people’s hospitality and friendliness is in fact what goes above
and beyond making it a five star experience.

The hotel provides internet connection in the business centre for all our
guests at no charge but for connection in your villa there is a charge of
US$ 15 per night.

I know that the villa host assisted you with connecting the router and that
there were some internet problems on Saturday. Our IT manager came to your
villa (though you were not there) and checked and confirmed that the
wireless was working. As you say, you were not charged for your internet
use during your entire stay, which I hope you will agree shows our
commitment to guest satisfaction.

Again, we appreciate feedback and indeed this is how we continuously
improve. It is this dedication of our staff which has helped us earn an
excellent reputation among tour operators, specialised travel agents and
direct guests around the world, as well as the place on the prestigious
Conde Nast list of top 60 best new hotels in the world, of which we are very

We thank you for your feedback and I hope that you will take into
consideration our comments above, which shed light on some of the issues you
have highlighted.

Kind regards

The Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2012

Having both travelled extensively around the world, it surprised me that neither myself nor my Dutch girlfriend had ever been to Africa. One call to Pure Zanzibar later and we were set for a luxury holiday, at a price which was lower than you would expect, if the hotels descriptions were to be believed.
So it was with a mixture of excitement and slight trepidation that we boarded the plane on our journey into unchartered territory.
After landing at Dar El Salaam, we transferred to the small plane that would hop us on to Zanzibar. With just a soft holdall each and the very basic domestic air terminal (and ‘bus stop’ would give a better description than the rather grand use of the word terminal) where they wrote out our Passport numbers by hand, it became very clear that we were leaving behind a lot of the ridiculous gadgetry clutter and self importance of the world that we usually inhabited and heading for somewhere simpler and friendlier.
In Zanzibar our transfer was seamless, in fact the only hold ups on the entire trip were the M25 and Heathrow in equal measure... so much for ‘progress’...
Furthermore everyone we met was eager to help and smiling, even when they didn’t need to be.
Stonetown was a fascinating haphazard maze of old houses and shops and schools and small businesses – in fact it was often difficult to tell the difference. Every tourist gets lost in the unnamed unsigned streets but any local will happily point you in the right direction or walk with you and chatter away. We felt safe and relaxed. Yes a few budding entrepreneurs did try to sell us stuff but at no point was anybody too pushy. We walked to the sea front on our own at night, and in the day drank crushed sugar cane under the giant Banyan tree chatting to locals who stopped by. Our hotel was right in the heart of Stonetown and there could be no better way to soak up the atmosphere. I think day trippers might feel uneasy about suddenly being confronted by the rabbit warren like streets – but they need not worry, maybe you need to be there for a bit longer to realise how friendly and vibrant the area is.
We moved onto the Baraza Resort for a blissful and tranquil week on the beach. The calm that we felt as we walked into the reception area, the smiles and welcome of Jemima our villa hostess, the views of the ocean, the gentle breeze... I am sure these images will stay with us forever. The ocean front villa was not only pure luxury, but beautifully designed with day beds for reading and relaxing and plunge pool to cool down. Within a few paces we were on the white sandy beach and every afternoon when the tide came in we swam in the sea, which was like stepping into a warm bath! In the mornings when the tide went out we watched the fishermen casting their nets in the shallows. They would feed their families with their catch and bring back the empty shells to sell. They were also always happy to talk about their lives and their work. In the evenings we would eat expertly prepared unhurried meals in the cool and comfortable restaurant, or out under the stars, always with attentive and smiley service. All of the waiting staff well trained and perfectly polite – but no sense of stuffiness that can make you feel uncomfortable. This is the sort of relaxing that we didn’t want to end.
I mentioned earlier that we had travelled extensively, so it was very interesting to compare our Zanzibar experience.
Obviously when you stay in Luxury Resorts and hotels the staff are usually very nice. Of course they are. But what we found in Zanzibar, and Jemima was a perfect example, were staff who loved their job and loved where they lived. It is often arrogantly assumed in the UK that people from less wealthy countries would all like to flock to our shores for our better way of life. This was the opposite of what we found in Zanzibar. People seemed genuinely content with their lot, proud of the islands friendliness and often went over and above what they needed to provide in the way of service. I’m sure lots of holiday resorts will claim this... but here it is actually true. And it makes all the difference.
We got engaged whilst on Zanzibar – it was that romantic and relaxed. I couldn’t think of a nicer place to have this memory.
Many thanks to Tarquin and Susie and the staff at Pure Zanzibar for making this happen. And the most often repeated quote that I read in the Baraza Guestbook I will repeat here, ‘We will be back. Thank you.’

Jerry & Marjolein

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank J B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2012

We had a wonderful stay a this very special resort and I cant recommend it highly enough.
Everything about our stay was of the highest standard...from the the welcome to the hotel, the spacious and beautifully decorated villas and through-out the hotel, to the fabulous service from the staff, who couldnt do enough to make our stay more enjoyable. The F & B Manager (Calais) really went all out to make our stay special, as well as all his staff...

The food is very good...there is plenty of choice for everything and nothing disappointed on that side either. We loved the Indian Buffet on the first night we stayed there especially...great food...

The resorts architecture and interior design is stunning...and some of the best we have experienced ANYWHERE...

I am already plotting how I can come back to stay at this wonderful and fabulous hotel...highly recommended to everyone

Room Tip: We chose an ocean view room and it was good...perhaps abit more "private" than the ocean f...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank DubaiDiva50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Baraza Resort & Spa

Address: Bwejuu Beach, Bwejuu, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Bwejuu
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Bwejuu
#2 Romantic Hotel in Bwejuu
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Bwejuu
#2 Luxury Hotel in Bwejuu
#2 Spa Hotel in Bwejuu
Price Range: $732 - $1,335 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Baraza Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This beautiful resort evokes the heritage of Zanzibar dating back to the era of the Sultans. A fusion of Arabic, Swahili and Indian design, with beautiful arches, hand carved cement décor, beautiful antiques, hand made furniture and intricate brass lanterns, Baraza offers unparalleled standards of luxury on the Island of Zanzibar. Baraza has set a unique standard of luxury accommodation on the island ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Baraza Hotel Bwejuu
Baraza Resort And Spa
Baraza Resort & Spa Zanzibar Island/Bwejuu

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