Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Zanzibar Hotels North East, Zanzibar Beach Holiday, Tanzania

Hotels North East, Zanzibar Beach Holiday, Tanzania

Matemwe Bungalows
Is well established and still tries to be as eco-friendly as possible, yet providing a high standard of comfort for guests. Built of local materials with thatched roofs, the bungalows are set on a rise above the beach.

Location - The Hotel is adjacent to the fishing village of Matemwe some 1.25 hours drive from Stone Town.

Accommodation - The 14 bungalow rooms are built of local material with thatched roofs and each has a verandah overlooking the ocean. The "Suite" rooms, ideal for honeymooners, are a generous size with king-size beds and expansive verandah. All rooms have ceiling fans.

Facilities - The open sided bar/restaurant is the focus for gathering of residents. Meals are good and many of the ingredients are bought from local producers and fisherman from the local village. Kayaks are available to explore inside the reef at low tide. Scuba diving and snorkelling beyond the reef around Mnamba Atoll is arranged with a nearby dive centre.

Between March - July 2005 there will be major developments at Matemwe Bungalows, all rooms will be of a "suite" standard and all will have uninterrupted ocean views; there will be luxury villas and a swimming pool will be built. It will retain its small, exclusive charm.

Matemwe Beach Village
Is a small mid-range hotel set adjacent to an attractive beach. It is well managed by Gail Arneson who has brought a nice touch to the Hotel by improving the furniture and fittings, with large colourful cushions for seating in the central lounge/dining area.

Location - The hotel is about 1 Km south of Matemwe village and relatively easily accessible to Stone Town by tarmac road, the trip taking only 45 minutes.

Accommodation - There are 17 "standard" en-suite rooms some of which are close to the beach, others are set back a little. There are 2 airconditioned room, all others have ceiling fans. The Asali Suite is a treat for honeymooners with extremely spacious accommodation and its own plunge pool. There are 6 new "suite" rooms which are much larger than the standard rooms and also have a roof terrace.

Facilities - There is a central lounge, bar and relaxation area with board games and a small library. The meals are good. One Ocean Dive Centre has a centre at Matemwe Beach for scuba diving and snorkelling. This is one of the closest locations to the famous Mnemba Atoll, one of the best dive sites in the Indian Ocean.

Zanzibar Retreat Hotel
This small beach-side hotel which opened in 2006 faces on to one of the longest stretches of uninterrupted beach on the island.

Location - On the north east coast just 50 minutes from Stone Town on sealed road which makes it one of the more accessible beach hotels. It is close to the fishing village of Matemwe where there is a fish market each morning.

Accommodation - There are just 7 rooms with a configuration of doubles, twin, triples and there are inter-connecting rooms for families. The specifications of the rooms are high, all have airconditioning as well as ceiling fans and mosquito nets, TV connected to a satellite receiver and rare among hotels on Zanzibar there is wireless & LAN reception in rooms. Some rooms have side-on sea views. All rooms have traditional 4 poster Zanzibari beds.

Facilities - There is a good sized swimming pool and one of the bar/restaurants is located adjacent to the pool. There is also an elevated bar/restaurant on the 1st floor level with magnificent views of the beach and ocean. The hotel can arrange scuba diving and snorkelling trips as well as organising a wide range of excursions. A popular excursion is by traditional sailing boat to some of the islands off Zanzibar and includes a beach barbecue with freshly caught fish.

Mapenzi Beach Club
Mapenzi is the only All Inclusive hotel where we book people on Zanzibar. All Inclusive hotels often appeal to families as the quantities of soft drinks, etc consumed by young people is pre-paid so parents are not faced with a bill at the end of the stay.

Location - On the north east coast of the island a little more than an hours drive from Stone Town and the Airport.

Accommodation - The Hotel has 87 rooms, 30 rooms are designated as Sea Front and adjacent to the beach, 27 are Sea View set a little further back and 30 are Garden View Rooms. Whilst the Sea Front Rooms are the premier rooms, their location next to beach means there are many guests milling around. We prefer the Garden Rooms further back and up the hill which are much more private and quiet.

Facilities - There is a restaurant serving buffet breakfasts, lunch and dinner. The Pool Bar and the Beach Bar serve snacks and drinks. There is a tennis court and the watersports centre provides scuba diving and has a range of equipment including windsurfers, canoes and snorkelling equipment. There is entertainment most evenings and there is a disco.

Ocean Paradise Beach Resort
Even though Ocean Paradise is one of the largest hotels on Zanzibar with 92 rooms, the architecture and buildings are in keeping with Zanzibar and Africa, much of hotel complex being designed to replicate a Masai village. Ocean Paradise, as one would expect from a top of the range resort style hotel, offers extreme comfort, an excellent range of facilities and services, yet all delivered in a welcoming and non-intrusive way.

Location - Ocean Paradise is on the north east coast approximately 1 hours drive from Stone Town and the Airport. At the moment the last part of the drive is along a rough road, though we hope the road will be improved sometime in 2005.

Accommodation - The rooms, some in individual rondavels, some in bungalows with 2 rooms and others in 2 storey buildings set above the main gardens are all circular and furnished to a high standard; they have a minibar (with drinks, surprisingly at the same price as the bar), TV with 19 channels, direct dial telephone, separate dressing area and spacious toilet and shower area. Each room has a private balcony, many with sea views and some with garden views. There are 8 suites, 42 double and 42 twin rooms; 16 of the rooms are inter-connecting suitable for families.

Facilities - The main public area is set above the gardens; the imposing building houses a spacious reception area, a bar which is imaginatively designed to provide private sitting areas, shop, excursion desk and the hotels main restaurant where buffet meals are served. Beside the large swimming pool there is also a bar and a la carte restaurant where on some evenings there are bar-b-ques. Also adjacent to the pool is a well equipped water sports centre providing for a wide range of activities, a fitness centre and beauty/massage centre.

The Shooting Star
We think the Shooting Star is the best located hotel on Zanzibar, set on a rise overlooking one of the finest stretches of palm fringed beaches on the island. It is an "boutique" hotel, owned and managed by Elly M'langa and set in pretty tropical gardens; it is a place for total relaxation. It is very easy to just while away several hours with a drink, savouring the sight of the beach, the ocean and listening to the breeze and the sound of the waves on the reef.

Location - North of the village of Kiwengwa, the Shooting Star is just 1 hours drive from Stone Town.

Accommodation - There are ten large Sea View Cottage Rooms which are en-suite, airconditioned and furnished in traditional Zanzibari style; the verandahs have uninterrupted views over the ocean. Four of the Sea View Cottage Rooms have an upstairs area with 2 single beds making them suitable for families, or for couples wanting some additional space. There are 4 Lodge rooms which look out over the gardens.

Facilities - The open air restaurant serves local African/Zanzibari food and international cuisine and there is a well stocked bar. There is a small semi-circular "infinity" swimming pool, arguable one of the best located pools on Zanzibar. The Beach Bar, with adjacent thatched sun shades, is popular with guests and passers-by. There is an arrangement with a larger hotel some mile down the beach to use their facilities including the dive centre which can arrange scuba diving and snorkelling. Elly can arrange visits to the village of Kiwenga, the nearby inland cave, hire of bicycles, and excursions to other parts of the island.

Honeymoon/Family suites - Two magnificent suites were completed late in 2007. They are ideal for honeymooners looking for luxury and a bit of seclusion and they also provide good accommodation for families. The suites are set on the crest of the hill apart from the main hotel guest rooms.

Each suite is laid out on 3 floors with 2 bedrooms and each has a private swimming pool, set amidst a tropical garden. They are furnished with stunning traditional Zanzibar furniture and batik linen. From the roof of the Villa panoramic views can be enjoyed from the bathtub and there is a fully netted bed so that the fabulous stary night skies can be enjoyed. Both suites have ceiling fans as well as being fully air conditioned.

Bluebay Beach Hotel
Is a large, first grade resort style hotel set in attractive gardens and has a wide range of facilities. The rooms are furnished to a high standard with the Superior Rooms having a sitting area in addition to the bedroom and verandah. Meals are reputed to be of a very high standard; accommodation is on a half board basis.

Location - Next to the village of Kiwengwa just less than 1 hours drive from Stone Town.

Accommodation - 80 Superior and 6 Deluxe Rooms, the Deluxe being larger with a separate sitting area. The rooms, all airconditioned and extremely well furnished, are set on a rise behind the main hotel public areas. There are also 2 "Sultan Rooms" described as being "where the Sultans themselves would have wanted to stay"; each room has a personal butler.

Facilities - The main restaurant and bar are set beside the swimming pool and the beach bar serving seafood specialties is beside the beach. There is a tennis court, spa and fitness centres, dive centre which is part of One Ocean Dive Centre. There is an open-air disco. Adjacent to the Reception Hall is a well stocked gift shop.

Pongwe Beach Hotel
Managed by Val Preston, Pongwe Beach has been totally revamped from a rather run-down hotel, now providing excellent mid-range accommodation.

Location - About a 1 hour drive from Stone Town, the last part on a rough road, the hotel is in a very private position and, in our view, on one of the most attractive beaches on Zanzibar. It combines the wide expansive beaches for which Zanzibar is renown, yet is secluded and with the bonus of being able to retreat in to the shade of the palm trees in front of the Hotel.

Accommodation - The 10 thatched en-suite rooms, with Moroccan style walk-in showers, are a good size and are in four cottages, two cottages have 2 rooms and two cottages have 3 rooms. The rooms have traditional Zanzibari furniture, good mosquito nets, fans (but no air conditioning), private verandahs with beach/ocean views ideal for early risers wanting spectacular views of the sunrise, and to have a leisurely breakfast.

Facilities - There is a spacious bar/restaurant area which has an open front looking out over the beach/ocean. Meals are more than acceptable; the fish curies we have had are memorable. On Friday nights tables are set on the beach for moonlight dinners and special meals can be made to order. The Hotel has its own boat to take guests to the deep waters beyond the reef and scuba diving can be arranged with a dive centre. Snorkelling trips to Mnemba Atoll can also be arranged.

Tamarind Hotel
Is a mid-range hotel with clean and comfortable facilities fronting directly on to the beach.

Location - Tamarind is about 40 minutes drive from Stone Town along a reasonable stretch of road. It is well managed by Trond Furseth, a Norwegian who has been in Zanzibar for some years.

Accommodation - There are 7 thatched bungalows well spread out in the gardens with an abundance of palm and casuarina trees. Each bungalow has 2 en-suite rooms with private verandahs with sea views. Two of the rooms are large triple rooms and the other 12 rooms have double beds, but can accommodate an additional single bed as well. The rooms have ceiling fans and as the hotel is on mains electricity the fans work all night (some hotels powered by generators turn power off at night).

Facilities - The bar and restaurant offer very reasonably priced meals and drinks, the beer and wine prices are among the lowest of any beach hotel. Tamarind can arrange snorkelling either from a local fishing boat or with a nearby dive centre; fishing trips can also be organised as well as sailing in a traditional dhow.

Chwaka Bay Hotel
Is one of the best value beach hotels on Zanzibar, professionally managed by Per Hansen and his wife. They have developed a good relationship with the people of Chwaka village and support a range of projects to improve the life of the villagers.

Location - Located on the east coast at Chwaka Bay it is just 30 - 40 minutes from Stone Town, set in a tranquil location in lush tropical gardens. A real bonus is the swimming pool which compensates for swimming being limited at low tides.

Accommodation - There are 30 rooms in total. 20 deluxe en-suite rooms are in 5 double story chalets, airconditioned, each with private balconies looking out over the gardens and the ocean. The rooms are more than adequate in size and furnished to a high standard. There are also 10 evocative, spacious individual thatched en-suite rondavels rooms with private verandahs overlooking the gardens and ocean. These have fans but in November to March can be quite hot.

Facilities - The tiled swimming pool is surrounded by thatched shade areas with sunloungers. The main building houses the reception area, lobby with TV and internet access, the restaurant which specialises in seafood (usually fresh from the fish market at Chwaka) and there is a bar/lounge area with pool table. There are free trips in a local fishing boat to Michamwi Beach and snorkelling can be arranged as well as diving with a nearby dive centre.

You may sample available Zanzibar beach holiday and safaris with Mount Kenya Climbing Expeditions at

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