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“If I go to Heaven” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Pongwe Beach Hotel

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Pongwe Beach Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Pongwe
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester
Level Contributor
52 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“If I go to Heaven”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 January 2012

I wrote in the guestbook 'If I die, in the unlikely event that I go to heaven, it will probably turn out to be Zanzibar and Pongwe beach.'
We had a fabulous week here: white sand, turquoise ocean, azure sky.The management and staff are friendly and helpful. There was limited menu choice for us as vegetarians but once we had asked the chef he was only too pleased to make a couple of special dishes.
Wish we were there now for happy hour and the cocktail of the day.
p.s. to save on packing for your homeward trip, the staff are always please to be gifted any of your shirts, etc. as a token of gratitude.

Room Tip: All rooms good - beachfront best
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Consort
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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790 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (148)
Date | Rating
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2012

We came here for 4 nights at the beginning of November 2011 as a couple for a little downtime after our African safari. The location has both positives (exclusive, pristine stretch of beach patrolled by Masai, raked every morning, great amount of beach lounges, cute flag and bucket arrangement which indicates you want beach meal/drink service) and negatives (isolated so after a few days you need to/want to get out and explore a little which can be quite costly as a result of the vehicle transfers and the snorkeling or boating packages).
Having said all that we did enjoy our stay here - friendly helpful staff, Generally willing to accommodate meal changes I.e dishes off the set lunch menu could be available on the dinner menu if you gave the chef enough notice (however this could be difficult at times because if you were not in the central pavilion for lunch or around that time you often did not see the menu until happy hour, which the waiters then sometimes grumbled at us that we should've let chef know earlier). Breakfast choices were varied but again if you didn't like eggs, then your savory or more filling options other than cereal and fruit were limited. The food can be quite expensive, though it is generally very tasty and fresh seafood is obviously a plus here, we also really enjoyed a lunch break at the bluwater restaurant following our snorkeling trip.
Decor of the bungalows was local and colorful with lovely touches of fresh flowers on our bed, water bottles, colorful robes/wraps to wear on the beach, we had an ocean front one in the middle of 3, noise wasn't a concern, there was always free hammocks and day beds on the beach or the verandah, the Masai guards were super friendly, the staff cleaned thoroughly and delivered thermoses of fresh coffee (average) or hot chocolate (creamy) to your door each morning for you to sip at your leisure. The bathrooms are large and good shower pressure, though the staff do let you know the water is brackish (salty) so you never quite feel clean.
Internet access available in the Lobby with a laptop and a large library with English and foreign books, here you can do a book exchange which is particularly helpful if you're traveling for a long time.
The central pavilion has a great bar overlooking the beautiful sandy beach, options to dine out on the sand, comfortable couches and games (chess, connect 4) which you can use any time.
Day trips and other excursions are offered via other resorts, the prices are quite expensive, and we were disappointed with our snorkeling trip, with limited marine life seen, not much help or information from the guides.
Overall we felt that we had enough time here, it was very beautiful, and tropical, but with limited activities directly at the resort makes you feel a little stir crazy at times if you're like us and need a little variety in your day (a day spa or cooking class would be a great addition).

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
12 Thank KimandJay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
37 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 January 2012

Everything you read about this place makes you wonder if it really can be as good as everyone has described it, well don't worry - it is as good and maybe better! We stayed there for 10 days and so wished we could have stayed longer. From the friendly pick up at the airport, through the personal welcome that everyone gets and all of the staff that just make you feel so at home, literally, nothing is too much trouble. The food is simply mouth watering, and yes I have eaten at places in London that claim to be seafood experts, the seared tuna was my favourite and you will not taste calamari like it!
And then to the beach, it is raked every morning, and is small enough to feel exclusive and yet large enough to easily cater for the 16 rooms. In summary, if you are looking for an idyllic tropical beach holiday, at a very reasonable price, then you need look no further.
Thank you Pongwe!!

Room Tip: We stayed in the family room, which is right at the far end of the beach
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank ChrisDA_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ohio
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 January 2012

Everything in this property was wonderful, from the people at the front desk to the chef and the groundskeeper.

We had a family room consisting of two attached rooms and it was right on the beach. The beach is wonderful, one of the best in Zanzibar.

The service was excellent. They remember your name and went out of thier way to prepare vegetarian meals for us. They can also set up lunch or dinner right on the beach if you do not want to eat in the dining area.

Pool was good, and there were kayaks for guests' use.

Overall, we had a great time and cannot say enough good things about this place.

Room Tip: If you can, ask for Val's room, or if you are a large family, the family room. These are right o...
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Alpanjay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Switzerland
Level Contributor
28 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 December 2011

After reading the excellent reviews here and also a fantastic Lonely Planet review, we were really hoping that this would be the perfect place to recuperate from our Kilimanjaro climb. I think it could have been except... the bungalow we stayed in (one of those a bit back from the beach, called "Garden View" I think) was infested with bats which made loud screeching noises all night, every night (for 5 nights). As the bungalows have no glass in the windows there is no way to block out the noise. We got virtually no sleep and got up grouchy and unrested every morning (more tired than we were after 9 days on Kilimanjaro!) and also had to step in bat faeces on our doormat every morning (which, by the way, were not cleaned up- eventually I pointed it out to the cleaner and she took the mat away leaving the bats to do their business directly onto the doorstep!). We spoke to management about these issues both at the time and after leaving and they said that they were trying to deal with the bat situation in this room, which I appreciate. However, although I realise that this is a natural phenomenon, considering that it apparently only affected one particular room, I feel the room should have been excluded from being rented out until the problem had been dealt with. It just wasn't suitable for human habitation at that time and we paid a lot of money for a very unrelaxing holiday.

Room Tip: Ensure your room is bat-free!
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
17 Thank chloeioana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 December 2011

Wonderful place. The staff were incredibly friendly and professional, nothing was too much trouble. We enjoyed excellent three course meals every night, the starters in particular were fantastic. Occasionally my other half who doesn't eat seafood asked for a meat dish instead and this was always accommodated. Eatiing on the beach was also possible which was lovely. The beach is pristine and beautiful, the gardens well maintained and the hotel tastefully decorated but in keeping with the culture. Prices were reasonable. We particularly enjoyed the cocktails each night which are half price at happy hour. The pool was clean and it was so relaxing having a dip whilst gazing across at the ocean.
The staff are really friendly and make an effort to get to know you. The hospitality really cannot be beaten.
Internet but no wifi is available at the reception where there is a computer for the guests to use.
We booked a snorkelling trip which was a little disappointing. We didn't see many fish and the guides weren't very interested or talkative. Another trip was to the blue bay resort where we had some fantastic massages in a beautiful spa. The only negatives of the trip...
The transport to and from the hotel was expensive ( 40 USD for a thirty minute return journey to blue bay).
After a week we felt a little claustrophobic as the resort is very isolated and there are no attractions or shops within walking distance.
In the bathroom the showers were scorching hot and there was no way of changing the temperature.
Also the beds in the rooms are a little uncomfortable with a foam mattress. The rooms can get really hot at night as there is no AC and in our room the fan was not above the bed. This is particularly uncomfortable as you are sleeping under a mosquito net. As a result we often had trouble getting to sleep. This may have just been a problem with our room (room 2) but this did let the place down a little for us which was a shame.
Particularly as we were there for 8 nights which, with food and drinks and trips cost over £2000.....

Overall we loved this place and the staff and if these minor points could be addressed it would be perfect.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank tash2381
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 December 2011

Have just come back from an amazing 12 day trip to Zanzibar, staying the first 5 nights at Pongwe. It truly was absolute heaven-beautiful, clean hotel with charming staff who were attentive without pestering, wonderful food where you genuinely could ask for anything you wanted, very clean and comfortable rooms and the most pristine and stunning beach and sea. They did such a good job of raking the seaweed in the morning the beach was genuinely pristine, with really comfortable beach beds and hammocks.

The staff were incredibly helpful and organised for us to swim with dolphins, as well as giving us really good guidance about going around Stonetown.


All in all I cannot fault this anywhere-I did not put my shoes on once! There were a lot of couples, but as 2 girls travelling together we were never made to feel uncomfortable. All in all the most amazing experience and I can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed November 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank TishWoody
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pongwe Beach Hotel

Property: Pongwe Beach Hotel
Address: PO Box 297, Pongwe, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Pongwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Pongwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Pongwe Beach Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on what could perhaps be described as the best beach in Zanzibar, Pongwe Beach Hotel is a tranquil place where one can escape the hustle and bustle of modern day life. It is modestly sized, with 4 Sea View Suites, 13 traditional Beach Villas as well as 3 Garden Rooms and has an intimate, personal atmosphere. Set within a secluded bay on the east coast of Zanzibar, Pongwe Beach is a true paradise retreat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pongwe Beach Hotel Zanzibar Island

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