I was traveling with two other people and our triple room was very spacious, with a king and a twin bed, both fitted with mosquito nets. The twin bed's net was rather close-fitting, requiring the occupant to either squish herself down into the middle of the bed or lay normally with the net on her face. There's an air conditioning unit, which is absolutely necessary, considering how hot and humid Zanzibar is. It does a pretty good job, but doesn't cool the entire room evenly. There were 1.5 bathrooms, which was great. The open shower was spacious and had decent water pressure. Note that the water coming out of the tap is brackish (a mix of fresh and salt water), as it is over the entire island. It's not as bad as it sounds, but it takes some getting used to.
The hotel actually sits slightly above the water, and there's an area with umbrellas and chairs to lounge. You have to walk down some steps to get to the actual beach. In June, low tide lasts roughly 6 am to 6 pm, so basically the whole day. And low tide is super low. You can walk way out there, but it's not really worth it. Water shoes are a must because of all the sea urchins. Even at high tide when you can hear the waves crashing to shore, swimming isn't great because of all the seaweed. Also, there are occasional pieces of trash floating around, not a lot, but enough to notice. Oh, and the cows. What? Yes, we walked down the beach on our first night and smelled cow manure but didn't know where it was coming from. Early the next morning, we saw cows being herded down the beach. Yuck. Despite these small details, the beach really is beautiful. The water is turquoise and clear and the sand is the finest I've ever seen, like flour. A couple of hours of beach clean up could go a long way.
This all (and the hot, humid weather) makes the pool essential. We didn't understand why the pool looked murky but soon realized that it was because it was salt water. Of course, because everything is salt water on this island! I happen to like deep pools, but note that I, at 5'4", could only venture a little ways off the step before being completely submerged. So be prepared to tread water a lot.
My favorite part of this hotel was the pier. There's a long pier over the beach, and it opens up at the end into a large deck with tables, chairs, and couches. There's a bar and a fun center as well. We laid out on this pier for literally an entire day, reading and sleeping. We were thrilled to realize that we could order lunch out there too! We watched the tide go out, the locals harvest seaweed, and the tide come back in. Bonus, there are steps going down into the water, so we did some snorkeling as well.
Service is pretty good. I was most impressed that they mopped our floors every day. We really tried to not track sand into our room, but it's inevitable, so the clean floor was much appreciated. We encountered a bit of a language barrier - we never got the right order in the restaurant, and the woman working the front desk was really difficult to understand. It wasn't really a problem, though, just be flexible. If you really need help, Claudia and Tina are always available and very willing to help.
We had a problem with our dolphin trip; our guide shortchanged us two hours and then lied about it when we asked Tina to investigate. Tina was very apologetic and discounted our cost, because the dolphin company refused. We appreciate the gesture, but I can't help but think that the resort should have never been in partnership in the first place. On the off-chance that this was the first time something went wrong, I hope that the resort will not be doing business with them again.
The food was decent. Our favorite dish was the pilau rice. The owner was friendly and came around to check on everyone each night, but did not seem to know what was going on in his resort. We asked him a bunch of questions and we realized later that quite a few of his answers were inaccurate.
Basically, most complaints about this place would have been the same at any other resort (e.g. brackish water, seaweed-filled beach), so this is a pretty good place to stay. However, if I were to come back, I'd probably try another resort, possibly Echo.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Life`s the beach, enjoy the people, feel the culture ofZanzibar!Enjoy the sophisticated island cuisine, fresh seafood and fish as a combination of Indian, Arab, Indian and African dishes; here finds itsperfection. What could be more romantic than a dinner under the starry sky of Zanzibar with accompanied by the full moon of the Equator or aperfect breakfast on the beach with the rising morning sun of the Indian Ocean?Our oriental lounge gives you a breathtaking view over the Indian Ocean. Seated on cushions, you can read here, listen to the music or just simply relax and let your soul flow. Over the sea pier youare reaching our Jetty bar and the water sports center. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Spice Island Hotel Resort Zanzibar Zanzibar Island/Jambiani