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“...We were expecting great things...”

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The Residence Zanzibar
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Doha, Qatar
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“...We were expecting great things...”
Reviewed May 24, 2013

We are back one week fro our trip to Zanzibar. We stayed our first three nights in Stone Town at Mahsharaki Palace Hotel, which I must say was just lovely.. Freindly, boutique feel with reasonably priced excursions which could be organised at the drop of a hat. So then we travelled on to the residence, and I must say we were expecting it to be perfect, and in some aspects it is. Beautiful secluded setting, fabulous villas with great private pools (some of the beach ones are a little exposed but we were lucky enough to be upgraded to villa 110 by the boat house which has some additional privacy), great breakfast and lovely beach. We actually liked the tides and the kelp and generally the natural seafront setting. The pool also is lovely and we loved our bikes for getting around and generally chilled out with our books and our pool. BUT, we were disappointed on many fronts also. Dinner for one was just not of the standard you would expect for a top five star resort. The curries were a little bland, the soup way overly spiced and when we ate from the a la carte, I can only say the Lobster Thermidore was without doubt the worst I have ever had, slabbered in cheese, minus claws and with only the littlest of actual lobster. I am not even convinced it was 100% fresh but it was difficult to tell as it was completely masked with cheese etc. I did however have an upset tummy the next day, which would say maybe not (If wanting Lobster whist inZanzibar I would recommend Livingstone's in Stone Town, fresh, simple and reasonable. On the other hand, my husband had the lamb chops which he really enjoyed but another night had veal which was also disappointing. So you could maybe get over this (especially as breakfast was just superb), but there's another BUT. Being off season there was just so little to do at the residence. We had been in stone town already and had been to Jozani forest, prison island etc (all fabulous and less than a third of the price when orgainsied from our hotel in stone town compared to residence prices) and thus we decided we would like to do the sunset dhow cruise and snorkel trip (which did run daily). Neither were possible. The dhow cruise was not going because the tide was low at Sunset and the staff were very unhelpful in even attempting to organise alternative times or possibilities (aside from a 300dollar speed boat trip which didnt appeal to our pockets in the least). When we tried to go snorkelling (on two occassions: the first time there was a mix up regarding time, first being told 9am but actually departing 8am and in fact being advertised reception as 2pm. The next day when we attempted to go again, we were rather rudely hijacked on our way back from dinner to be told the trip was "fully booked" despite the fact that the resort was at very low capacity, being low season. In fact, there was very little apology for any of this and on check out when we rang for a cart to collect us (only because it was raining) we waited fifteen minutes only for it not to arrive, so we walked with our brolly and our bags to reception, where an exscrutiatingly slow check out proceeded to take place, without even the slightest enquiry as to how our stay was or hint of apology for leaving us to walk in the rain. Having said all that, we were so chilled out (which one likes to be on holiday) we still left the residence with some fond memories. A few worth mentioning; Linda (French manageress at the dining room) was just charming, and breakfast as I mentioned earlier was a treat. The villa too was just lovely. But, there needs to be more when you are paying prices such as charged by the residence. It just did not live up to its billing.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jillian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (213)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 23, 2013

The hotel has excellent staff, all focussed on making your holiday as memorable as possible without being overbearing. The facilities are excellent, villas are well appointed and the vista is wonderful. We were a party of five including an elderly person with limited mobility and the staff did everything they could to make sure we had the most wonderful time. You have to accept that the East African beaches may not always be accessible due to seaweed at certain times of the day, and that snorkelling may sometimes be limited, but there is more that enough at The Residence to make up for this; the excellent swimming pool, wonderful food, spa, fitness centre, private pools, beautiful gardens, bicycles to ride and smiling staff! I am sure we will be going back every year!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Riaz_Ali_123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Luxurious accommodation but designed to blend into the landscape on beautiful beach with excellent snorkelling. Superb and gracious service along with the best food on our 4 week East African adventure. A must return hotel for our family.

Room Tip: Villas right on the beach are worth it
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mel L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome/Thessaloniki/NY
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2013

This was a beautiful hotel with excellent service. All staff were very friendly and helpful. The villas are beautifully decorated and each have their own private pool. They have bicycles that they provide for each villa, which was very nice. Of course you can always take one of the golf carts if you do not wish to use the bicycles. The only downside I would say would be the food. Although the food was not bad, we did expect for their to be more fish incorporated n their menu. After all you are in Zanzibar! Other than that, it is a hotel definitely worth staying at.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Dimitra202
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed May 1, 2013

The momemnt we arrived to the time we left we were treated like royalty. The place is . awesome . The facilities are the best we have seen and includes a private pool in each villa. My children loved the pools and the bicycles provided in each villa.

The service is excellent and when my son came up up with rash when we arrived he was seen by a nurse and an antihistamines cream sent to our room...when we wanted a bike with stabilisers we got one within minutes...my children just loved it.

It was a shame that there were too many flies in the restaurant trying to land on the food....

We all had a great time..

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Murtaza M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moshi, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2013

We decided to offer ourselves a treat on our 5th Wedding Anniversary and opted for The Residence Zanzibar. We would not have chosen better .... The service was excellent and attention to details seemed to be a natural attribute of all the staff. This is certainly a vacation we will remember for a very long time. Highly recommended ......

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Didier V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

From the minute you arrive at The Residence you know you're going to be very well looked after. Refreshing drinks and frangipani scented cooling towels are welcome as you are checked in and briefed by the friendly reception staff.

The Residence has about 60 villas so as you can imagine the hotel grounds are rather large and spacious. This is fine as bicycles are provided with the villa for every guest to get around or alternatively you can call the consierge service and have a club cart drive you around the grounds if you prefer (or if it happens to be raining). Apart from check in and check out we preferred to walk around as the gardens are well kept and very beautiful.

The Villas are spacious and very well equipped, probably the most elegantly finished and furnished that I have experienced on Zanzibar. Flat screen TV, ipod dock, mini bar and fantastic tea and coffee making facilities (with plenty of water) are all present and the welcome pastries and biscuits are a very nice touch. The en- suite facilities are also top notch with separate toilet (and bidet), high pressure shower and bathroom facilities. There's even a cold water shower outside for cooling down in the midday heat.

Our ocean front villa was literally 20 metres from the beach which means that the villas infintity pool may not feel very private. If you're looking for a more private pool experience you may want to think about staying in a prestige garden pool villa instead. This wasn't too much of an issue as the beach was generally quite quiet and there are no beach boys hanging around trying to sell you stuff.

If you're staying on half board there is a set menu with a choice of two starters, two mains and two desserts in the main dining hall. If you wish to dine a la carte, the hotel will give you credit of $50 US per person against the bill which is a great idea and offers more choice. It can work out roughly the same if you're only looking to have two courses. The wine is good quality and quite expensive but you can have the bottle kept for dinner the next night if you don't fancy drinking the whole bottle in one go.

There is also the Pavillion which is often open for dinner offering six course themed dining French, Italian, Swahili) as part of the half board. They will even bring your bottle from the dining hall if you wish. The food here and in the dining hall is excellent and the waiting staff are friendly and attentive. You can also have meals served at your villa if you prefer a more private experience.

There's lots to enjoy here with an excellent spa and kids club facilities. There are different activities scheduled for kids everyday for different age groups from 08.00 to 19.30 and there's even a child minding service outside of these hours if Mum and Dad would like to have a quiet meal together later in the evening.

Snorkeling, Kayaking, Pedalo and Hobby Cat activities are also included but snorkelling from the boat needs to be arranged 24 hours in advance to guarantee a place on the boat from the jetty.
Most of your time at The Residence will revolve around the villa and meal times but there are tours and excursions available if you get itchy feet and fancy some exploration and adventure away from the resort.

Breakfast offers an extensive buffet selection with everything you could possibly think of from cereals, pastries, a selection of tropical fruits, cooked items including eggs to order, bacon has rounds and three different types of sausage, yogurt, museli.... the list goes on. We were due to check out early on our last day and you can have anything delivered to you villa from 04.00 in the morning!

This is a slick and professional operation and one of the few true European 5 star standard hotels in Zanzibar. If you are looking for elegant luxury in a quiet and beautiful location then this is the place for you. The beach is good but doesn't boast the coral white sand of the East Coast but in blance doesn't suffer from the same tidal variations. Be aware that extras like drinks and food not included can be quite expensive which can add up during a long stay if you're not careful but this is to be expected with such fine dining and service on offer.

This place is perfect for honeymoon couples and families alike looking for a luxurious and elegant beach resort that delivers a very high standard of service and dining.

Room Tip: Choose a presitge villa for that little bit more space. Garden pool villas offer a little more priva...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank BrucePZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Residence Zanzibar

Property: The Residence Zanzibar
Address: Mchangamle, Kizimkazi 2404, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Kizimkazi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Residence Zanzibar 5*
Number of rooms: 66
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Residence Zanzibar lies within a lush, forested 32-hectare estate where five-star luxuries sit harmoniously alongside nature's untouched beauty. Feel your spirits soar amid extensive tropical gardens that meet with powder-soft white sand lapped by the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Inspired by the island's eclectic cultures, our luxury Zanzibar resort blends modern comforts with Swahili, Omani, British and Indian influences. Indulge in the privacy of the spacious villas, attended on if you wish by your own personal butler. Enjoy carefree days relaxing by your private pool, on the beach, or exploring the gardens on foot or by bicycle. Savour a taste of the Spice Island's unique blend of cultures and cuisines, and the pleasure of sensational spa treatments. Discover more of the island and the waters that surround it in a myriad of activities, from visiting historic sites and rare natural wonders to deep sea fishing and diving with dolphins. Whether you dream of a quiet couple's retreat or fun in the sun for the whole family, embrace all the delights of our island life at The Residence Zanzibar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Residence Zanzibar Hotel Kizimkazi
The Residence Zanzibar Zanzibar Island/Kizimkazi

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