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Pongwe Beach Hotel
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Reviewed 21 February 2008

Pongwe is paradise!!

This was our second visit to Zanzibar so we were already in love with this beautiful island.
We chose Pongwe Beach as an alternative place to stay from our first trip. We were hoping for a similar high standard to our previous visit at Shooting Star - which was very good indeed and we were apprehensive that we may be disappointed.
On arrival at Pongwe I was speechless - and was so delighted and surprised with our room - one of the Beach Front bungalows - that I almost cried! It was rustic and in traditional Zanzibari style and the little touches like the beach bag and kangas made it just that little more special.
We could hear the ocean at night (and the bush babies!) and just the breeze in the palm trees!

Every aspect is perfect :
The location - an intimate secluded beach which is generally only frequented by the hotel guests and the local fishermen. The perfect white sand, the crystal clear Indian Ocean where you can watch the local women harvesting seaweed.
The peace - (all you can hear is the sea and the birds in the trees) - tranquility and seclusion is out of this world if you are looking for a place to completely relax and chill out
The staff are attentive without being obtrusive, friendly and helpful. They are also pleased to be of service to you and we got taught how to play the local board game - bao - which we soon became quite addicted to!
Our stay was for 11 day s which at first we thought may be too long - but we are already looking at returning for longer!
The food is absolutely outstanding - some of the best cuisine I have tasted ANYWHERE - and there is always enough choice for most tastes
The most difficult thing for us to do was to decide what to have for lunch or who was going to set the flag in the sand to order another drink to be brought to us on our sunbed!!
This holiday is perfect if you want to completely unwind and recharge - I cannot recommend Pongwe highly enough

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank WOODSIE65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2008

After reading the reviews for Pongwe Beach Hotel, it looked like a dead cert for a wonderful break. When we arrived the hospitality was first class (hot towel at the door!) and can not think of one thing I would have changed.

The hut we stayed in was beautiful, they really had thought of everything (Beach bag / towels / sarongs / loose robes / little green flag to call over staff for drinks).

They decorated the bed daily with flowers and everything was spotless.

I was worried about the brackish water but it really is not a problem and with everything else the way it is - who cares!

The food was to a good standard and being foodies this was one of the reasons for choosing this place.

There really is not much to do on site (apart from relax!) and not usually one for sun and beach holidays I was pleasantly surprised how much i enjoyed this.

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank MissV22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2008

Really lovely staff, excellent service, great room, and perfect beaches. After a not-so-pleasant start at Hurumzi in Stone Town, it was perfect to come to Pongwe where we could relax and enjoy. From what I understand, the staff are amonst the best paid on the whole island and it shows in their attitude; the tip-sharing system also insures that everyone is rewarded, and invested in providing excellent service. Make sure to tell the staff if you are on your honeymoon, they are very sweet about it.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank StockholmStella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2008

We stayed there for our honeymoon after a week of safari. The place is simply great! It consists of 16 bungalows well distanced and nicely decorated, overlooking the sea and the beach with numerous palm trees. Somehow is all organized in such a way, that you hardly see other guests during the day - feels very private. Beautiful pool, friendly staff and great attention to details (pareos available in the room, music during dinner some nights, free fruits during the day etc). Definitely would recommend and would love to come back!

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank VicDjuma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2008

We arrived at Pongwe Beach Hotel on 24 Janauary ready for our 14 night stay - we immediately fell in love with the place. We were greeted by Heidi and made to feel welcome at once. After being given a cold towel, refreshing drink and a quick briefing by Dullah, we were shown to our room (15).

Our room was spacious, comfortable and clean. The centrepiece being the large Zanzibar 4 poster bed. The room was cleaned to a high standard every day. The bathroom was large with Zanzibar-type walk in shower. Showering in brackish water was not half as bad as we expected. It did leave you feeling a little sticky but we used Avon Skin So Soft after washing each night and our skin stayed in good condition.

We enjoyed having sun beds on our private terrace which over-looked the Indian Ocean. A flask of tea or coffee was left here every morning for us to enjoy before breakfast.

Breakfast was varied each morning and there was also a good selection of fruit and cereals. We found the portions more than adequate. After having such a good breakfast we skipped lunch and waited for the evening meal. If we did get peckish in between, toasties and snacks were available. Evening meal was chosen during the course of the day - normally 3 or 4 courses. These were excellent. The fish dishes were some of the best I have tasted. My wife doesn't like fish but there was always a suitable alternative for her and nothing was too much trouble. The Chef regularly came to chat with the guests making sure everyone was satisfied with his portions and choice.

All the staff at Pongwe are superb - very friendly and helpful - nothing ever a bother to any of them. We particularly enjoyed our Swahili lessons with Jessie each afternoon when we went for cocktails.

The location of Pongwe will be very hard to surpass. The beach had the most perfect powder sand and the sea so warm at times you needed the infinity pool to cool off! The colours of the sea were the most beautiful aqua marine you could ever wish to see. The tide goes out quite a long way but you can have lovely walks looking for star fish etc. Remember your wet shoes - if not, you can borrow them from reception along with snorkels etc.

There is a well stocked library and board games for you to choose from.

This is definitely the place to go if you want to chill out and be cut off from the outside world. Plenty of trips available from the hotel if required, as they have their own taxis.

Heidi and Sandy were always on hand to answer any questions that we had. The pair of them being very hands on in the running of the hotel and have a great deal of local knowledge between them.

We visited Pongwe school which is just a short walk from the hotel. We took pens, books and crayons with us. They were very well received and appreciated. We had a good chat with the English teacher and met several of the children.

Apart from the location, the thing that made this hotel special for us was the friendliness of the staff - we enjoyed every minute of our stay. I am sure that we will return.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank aljuan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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