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“Perfect getaway”
Review of Unguja Lodge

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Unguja Lodge
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 28, 2009

Congratulations on giving us a wonderful finish to our holiday. When we arrived we thought to ourselves ‘we are in the middle of nowhere what are we going to do with ourselves?’ We soon found out that doing nothing was pretty good.

We loved everything about our stay. The villas were amazing giving you privacy when you wanted it coupled with the sea right on your doorstep. The attention to detail of the owners is to be congratulated. Everything was catered for and they managed to do this whilst giving you a carefree and relaxing stay.

The food was great. There is a set meal of fish but really you can have what you want within reason. Service could be slowed down a little as after dinner there is no much else to do but relax.

We did one trip to swim with the dolphins. We swam with over 20, which was a real result for us. All the other trips were quite expensive but this was typical for the island in general as the taxi fares were very expensive.

The beach could be an issue for some as it is tidal. This didn't bother us at all and we still managed two swims a day at high tide. Bring jelly shoes if you want to go in the water at any other time.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank travelleruk039
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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205 - 211 of 272 reviews

Reviewed September 24, 2009

We decided to get married at Unguja Lodge and then have some days honeymoon before moving on to Matemwe Bunglalows (no comparison!). It is hard to express in words just how perfect our stay at Unguja was.

The owners, Ralph and Elies, did absolutely everything possible for us to make it a stay to remember for a lifetime. Hotel location- amazing; rooms- huge, comfortable and beautifully designed; food- diverse, used local ingredients, exemplary; service- faultless. A stay here would be the perfect holiday for any couple or family. Dive centre also on site.

The wedding (which we had just given basic outline to) was taken up by everyone superbly. It was held on private island which we got to on a dhow sailing boat, champagne, lunch, waiters on hand, beauifully hand made flower arrangements and displays by the staff that morning, and the most enthusaistic and warm people to be had around us. Stay here, get married here. You will absolutely love it.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Fuller66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2009

The sea view bungalow was an interesting design and very spacious. It would have been improved if the cupboards in the bedroom did not smell though.
The staff were, on the whole, lacking in friendliness apart from one or two of the waiters. The local residents seemed pretty unwelcoming in comparison with other places we've stayed at in Africa.
The snorkelling was not viable from the beach. We had to pay $45 dollars each to the One Dive Centre on site to borrow fins, and for a short ride to the coral. It was difficult to get in and out of the boat and we ended up with water up to our waists before we actually climbed into the boat. The quality of the water was poor and the variety of fish was disappointing. We also paid $45 for dolphin watching. That was a complete waste of money. The sea was very rough and the waves were high. We saw one fin briefly. There was not enough time for the family of five, plus the two of us to get into the water to swim with the dolphins. We had booked a whole day of snorkelling for my husband's birthday, but decided to cancel it after the disappointing snorkelling the day previously. Instead we took a taxi to the Josani Forest to see the red colobus monkeys - now that really was good and well worth the money.
The owners were friendly and the food was good, but I was quite glad when our three days were finished there and it was time to move on to the next place.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank gelandpat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2009

This was a second location on our honeymoon and we were really blown away by the place and the people. The location is stunning with exceptional service. The food beautiful, service exceptional and we were very sad to leave.
The local village is fascintating and if you chat up the diving instuructor they will walk you round - we happened to be there for a festival with voodoo dancing!
Swimming with dolphins was amazing and the diving generally is extremely good.
The ability to walk down steps into you own part of the ocean was fabulous and we were occasionally joined by the wonderfully hospitalbe couple who designed and built the resort. Highly recomended!!

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank tomkw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2009

We stayed at Unguja and it was really great! What a beautiful lodge and great locations. It was perfect and relaxing after our 5 day safari and the staff suplied us with many great coctails. The rooms are really spacious, beautifully decorated and we had an amazing view at the oceand We saw many dolphins and the snorkeling was just the best. What we also loved was the great pool and when you are hear dont forget to go on a dolphin tour (can be arranged at the lodge). The owner was really friendly (not only because he was dutch) and we love to come back here one day! What a perfect holiday!

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank pinkpalace2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2009

I have never before understood why anyone would take the time to join up to a website and review a holiday destination...until i visited Unguja Resort ... I guess I had never been anywhere before so worthy of a good review!

My husband and I visited Unguja lodge as the first stop of our two and a half week honeymoon on Zanzibar. It was the beginning of a holiday of a lifetime and one that we will never forget. Zanzibar itself is a beautiful island paradise, ideal for anyone wanting a honeymoon thats a little bit different, we found the perfect mixture of relaxation, stunning views, sightseeing, friendly people and the most amazing food i have ever tasted!

We arrived at Unguja in our private transfer from the airport (We booked our trip with Discover Tanzania - based in the UK who arranged all of our transfers and trips which were all using the same transport and driver, making it all the more personal) and were greeted by Ralph and Elias who were the perfect hosts. We were given cool flannels and fresh juice on arrival and chatted to Ralph and Elias about our wedding and the honeymoon plans, from here on in nothing was too much trouble at Unguja, the whole atmosphere was so laidback and relaxed - Ive never been so relaxed and after a hectic Christmas and wedding this was exactly what we needed!! They even encouraged us to and then organised the rearrangement of one of our trips to make the best use of the time we were staying with them, which was above our expectations of them.

Our room was perfect, more than we could ever have imagined, dont go here if your expecting the Ritz but if you want to be closer to nature but with hidden luxury you have to experience this!! The rooms are huge villas in a hut style with huge thatched roofs, the bedroom is the only enclosed room everywhere else is open to the air, including the bathroom, this gives the rooms a beautiful rustic beauty that i have never found anywhere else and which we found to be so much more memorable than just another room in a big hotel complex. The shower and sink look out to sea, the view is amazing and you can watch the sunset from the shower or the lounge or balcony each night....Its hard to describe how beautiful it is and our pictures dont do it justice!!

The food again is amazing, a different meal every night and if there is anything you dont like they are very accomodating, as we were on our honeymoon we had a meal overlooking the beach one night which had been arranged without us knowing and was a lovely surprise, the seafood is amazing, i have never been a huge fan but the seafood here is freshly caught and cooked making it unmissable!

The beach is not for sunbathing but great for swimming when the tide is in...people have complained that it is like a big swimming pool - well to me that is perfect, you could walk straight down the steps at the side of the hotel and dive into the sea, and mostly we would be the only two people swimming in what felt like the whole ocean!! The sea is like a warm bath and the bluest, clearest water you will ever see!! And the dolphin tour is a must, we swam with dolphins on a private tour at 7am as the sun came up, it was truly spectacular!! As for sunbathing, Unguja is so relaxed you can sunbathe anywhere, on your villa balcony, by the pool, in the beached area overlooking the sea......

Overall this place is paradise, i cried when we had to leave and would love to re-visit, there are so many personal touches, the homemade soap and shampoo in the bathroom, the fresh coffee, tea and biscuits waiting outside the room each morning, the notes on your bed every night telling you little facts about the islands...i could rave about this place forever and i urge nobody to be put off by some of the reviews on here. We stayed here at the same time as the 'ruined 60th Birthday' which i would say was more a tour operator complaint than a complaint for this lodge. I know for sure that the owners did there best to accomodate the particular party and even made a special birthday cake as a surprise for him. I think it says more for them that they refused to move a family halfway through there holiday and that they gave a full refund, hardly worthy of a complaint!

If you want a perfect honeymoon or just an idylic island paradise escape, stay here, i promise you will not regret it!!

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kristina_MrsC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2009

I was looking for a holiday a bit different and special to celebrate my 60th Birthday in January 2009 with my wife and grown-up daughter and son. A UK travel agent (“PureZanzibar”) recommended Unguja Lodge, as they had one family villa with just the right accommodation for us (three en-suite bedrooms and air-conditioning). I booked this in early July 2008, six months in advance of our holiday.

When we arrived we found that Unguja Lodge had given the family villa away to another family and they refused to move them until the other family had finished their stay (halfway through our holiday). We were given 2 separate villas (without en-suites and air-conditioning), for the first half of our holiday - including my actual birthday. I found this behaviour extraordinary and frankly it ruined my birthday. Although Unguja Lodge gave me a refund, that was not what I wanted and totally missed the point – we didn’t sleep well for the first few nights as it was so hot and I wanted us to be together as a family.

Otherwise, the comments from other visitors are pretty accurate: the beach at high tide is like a big swimming pool – beware the odd jellyfish. It is a slight shame that there is no coral reef and fishes, like in the Red Sea etc. Also beware how quickly the tide comes in! The dolphin trip was good; the other trips seemed very expensive, so we didn’t bother. The food was reasonable, but I wouldn’t say anything particularly special. The surroundings are beautiful, but there is nothing else there.

On a final note, to rub salt into the wound, I had discovered before we departed that PureZanzibar had charged me $60 per night more than other UK agents or Unguja Lodge were charging direct; PureZanzibar also quoted us 50% more than the going rate for taxis from the airport. I would therefore recommend another UK agent: Africa Travel Resource, who I discovered later on and who were much more helpful and honest, for anyone wanting to visit Zanzibar.

  • Stayed: January 2009
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1  Thank WandererWinchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Unguja Lodge

Address: P.O. Box 675, Kizimkazi, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Kizimkazi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Price Range: $322 - $536 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Unguja Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Eleven spacious private villas. From your ocean view terrace you can watch the local fishermen sailing the Indian Ocean. A breathtaking sunset is yours. All villas are beautifully decorated in Zanzibar style. In our beautiful garden with old mango and baobab trees many indigenous animals find their home. The rare Red Colobus monkeys often come and play. In the middle of the tropical garden, a large specially conditioned swimming pool is situated. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Unguja Hotel Kizimkazi
Unguja Resort Kizimkazi
Unguja Lodge Zanzibar Island/Kizimkazi

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