We stayed here for just over a week around the Christmas period. We had just come from a week or so on Safari (plus two nights in Stone Town) so we were after a change of pace, and some nice relaxing beach time. Pongwe Beach Hotel delivered exactly that.
The setting is gorgeous - postcard-perfect - and the beach area is really well designed to ensure you that you feel you have a relatively large amount of privacy from the other guests. The view over the Indian Ocean from the pool is beautiful.
The rooms are spacious, clean and, as with the beach, feel relatively private and secluded from the other rooms. One little touch which we found fantastic was that PBH provides all manner of things you might ‘need’ for a relaxing day at the beach - towels (obviously), but also a little wicker basket, sun hats and sarongs etc. It seems like a little thing, but it just helps mitigate one more of the petty stresses that can crop up on vacations.
As others have mentioned, as it’s a private beach you are free from any hassle from the touts etc. While you will encounter some if you wander up or down the shoreline away from the hotel, we found them to be relatively pleasant and not too persistent. A very small thing, we noticed at one point that a small group (with some very loud children), seemingly from another hotel along the coast came to the beach and were using the hammocks etc, which was a bit annoying given the point of PBH is to maximize your relaxation time, but it didn’t happen again (maybe someone said something, I don’t know) and didn’t really effect us materially.
Otherwise, the food was great and the drinks were wonderful. The staff are incredibly helpful and eager to please. PBH appears to have ‘trainee’ staff along with a more established team so, while occasionally something minor might get lost in translation, the service in general is fantastic, and relentlessly positive - every second phrase is ‘karibu’ or ‘hakuna matata’.
The team that run PBH clearly know what they are doing. It is an astoundingly beautiful location, and a brilliant place to relax for a few days (or more). The staff couldn’t have been any more pleasant and, other than the one afternoon of rain and some strong onshore breezes on a handful of occasions, we wouldn’t have changed a thing about our stay there. A wonderful place to visit, and hopefully we’ll get to return at some point soon.
- 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