Pongwe Beach Hotel
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Historical Traveler Reviews Pongwe Beach Hotel
Possibly the most beautiful place in Africa!
Following a very minor hitch upon our arrival, we had finally found paradise and sanctuary at the Pongwe Beach.
We were met by Val & Heidi, two of the nicest people you could meet.
What followed was in our estimation the most fabulous relaxing holiday we could wish for. Understanding that we were in Africa, one cannot expect all the luxuries that we are used to living at home, but HEY, this is a holiday and we should enjoy the culture and differences from home.
The food was WONDERFUL and it was nice to have limited choice as we don't to have to think too much when surrounded by attentive, friendly, wonderful staff, bllue skies, white sand and the Ocean that is actually too warm! (life's hard !)
I cannot praise this hotel too much, it is the perfect retreat to relax and unwind. If you want more, get out and do the trips... try the Scuba diving !
All in all 10/10
Thanks to Val, Heidi and all the wonderful staff (not forgetting the Masai !)
My wife and I stayed at Pongwe for five days in February 2006.Val and the team went out of their way to make us feel at home-New manager Heidi was super.Rooms were excellent and location superb.Food was surprisingly good and the biggest decision we had to make in the day was what to eat- a total relaxing switch off! It is not for people who want "bright lights-big city" but superb for couples and honeymooners. The staff were very friendly and tried really hard.We will definately be back. On the downside, although there was a strong sea breeze at night which cooled the room down a/c would have been nice -but this is Africa and the generators are switched off between one and six in the morning.All in all -superb. Only downside, being Irish, we had this English lot who were very noisy in the middle of the night- Ah well, can't have everything !!!!!!-Just joking Michelle and Barry !!!!( look forward to seeing you in Belfast soon )
We have stayed in Pongwe for 5 days, Feb.12-Feb.17 2006, and have been overall very pleased with this hotel. The beach seems to be one of the best in the world - it is just so perfect that you can't believe it is natural. The hotel is small, so you don't have noise and don't hear or see too many of other people, which was ideal for us.
The menu at the restaurant was a bit too predictable and the choise narrow, but they were always happy to make something special for us, at no additional charge (we were on half board).
The only thing we though could have been improved was the lack of safe deposit boxes in the rooms. We had to go to the reception all the time and put our valuables into the envelope. The boxes are not expensive to get for only 12 rooms and it would make things much easier.
Also, we were leaving the hotel at 6 am (we had to catch our plane, and there have been no water nor any electricity. It was extremely uncomfortable as we could barely use the bathroom or brush our teeth, not to mention trying not to forget our belonings in the darkness. This is something that management has to think about, in our opinion.
If you want to go to Zanzibar, Pongwe Hotel has the best beach on the island. And it is worth sacrificing some comfort (e.g. airco, safe deposit boxes, round-the-clock electricity) to just see and feel this piece of perfect and untouched nature!!!
P.S. Ask for a room on the beach, and you'll get enough of sea-breeze to feel fine without the air-conditioning.
Beautiful but a bit boring
The colors of the beach are astounding,the hotel and the rooms beatiful. The meals system seems us to elaborated,with timetables and differences between lunch and dinner, after all it's a lodge, not a city hotel. If your goal is to relax, Pongwe Beach is perfect, but there is nothing else to do. Apart from fishing ( to expensive ), snorkeling was disappointing, and the surroundings not interesting and pocked with new constructions. I reccommend it for few days. Excuse me for my english.
Agree wholeheartedly with all the glorious reviews except for one thing....the elecricity is shut off between 2-6 in the morning. If this happens to be low tide then it is unbearably hot in the room.
Otherwise the beach is perfect and the staff is super. Wish they would have more variety in food though...
fantastic spot , fabulous food , lovely rooms and staff.[ But excrutiating meet and greet from the manager which lasted for 40 minutes .]
Couldn't fault it
Being the first place we rocked up at on our holiday to Zanzibar we were glad to be very warmly welcomed at Pongwe and taken to our beautifully situated bungalow right on the beach.
The food is very good, although as most people are on half board the set evening meals tend not to be particularly adventurous. The lunch menu is excellent.
The beach is lovely but the tide goes a long way out on the east coast and being able to swim will depend on when in the tidal cycle you arrive. Also watch out for the urchins.
The owner Val runs the place like clockwork and his staff are motivated, friendly and on the ball (more than I can say for some of the other resorts on the island). More suitable for couples though.
It really is this good!
We stayed at Pongwe for four nights at the start of the month (Nov 2005) as part of our honeymoon trip to Zanzibar - it was a perfect introduction to the 'beach paradise' lifestyle. We really can't fault Pongwe - Val and his team were great, the staff in particular were wonderful - attentive without being obtrusive and genuinely friendly and helpful, we loved our time there. The beach and setting is truly stunning, the accommodation, food, service and 'attitude' absolutely spot on. Great attention to detail too - we had champagne on arrival, fresh flowers on our bed every day, the equipment that was available - from the top end mountain bikes and snorkel gear to the stunt kites for the beach - was quality stuff. Pongwe is very much a place to wind down, even with a full quota of guests we often had the beach to ourselves and hammocks in abundance. Not really a place to get too social or active (we actually got to know a couple later at Matemwe who had also been at Pongwe while we were there), but if you're looking to get that 'picture postcard' experience as a romantic couple then I really doubt you could do any better. Thoroughly recommended!
A Surefire Winner
We just spent four idyllic days at the Pongwe Beach Hotel in Zanzibar.
The place is located in an isolated cove on the northeastern side of the island, where the weather is often sunnier than elsewhere on Zanzibar.
From the moment we entered the open lobby and saw the impossibly turquoise waters of the hotel's unforgettable beach, we were hooked. The British owner, Val, went out of his way to accommodate any special requests we had, and the staff were uniformly upbeat and obliging.
Food is an important focus at Pongwe, and the kitchen lived up to our expectations. Be forewarned, however, that dinner is a set menu with no alternatives offered, so if you are a very picky eater, you may not like this system (there are several choices available at breakfast and lunch, however). I assume that vegetarians can make prior arrangements with the management -- but be sure to tell them at the time of booking.
The rooms are lovely -- all are furnished identically, with traditional Zanzibari beds shrouded in lovely blue mosquito netting. Mosquitos were not a problem, however, as there was a constant ocean breeze.
The hotel is in an extremely isolated section of the island, and electricity is provided by generators housed on the property. This means that electricity is unavailable for several hours every day (mostly between midnight and 6am). If you are looking for a place with TV, nightclubs, etc., Pongwe is not for you!
The hotel is small and intimate, with plenty of opportunity to get to know the other guests. Staff quickly address you by name, creating a feeling of "home". Everything is extremely relaxing and informal. My husband particularly enjoyed not wearing shoes for three days, and spending many happy hours lazing in a hammock under the coconut palms, staring out at the blue waters.
The hotel attracts mostly couples (and many honeymooners), but "just friends" would not feel out of place.
Great place to relax
We just got back from a few days at Pongwe in Zanzibar- it was great- a completely private beach, an excellent friendly staff and simply one of the most beautiful views on earth.
It is the perfect place to go after a safari to relax, read and forget the world.
TripAdvisor Reviews Pongwe Beach Hotel
Travel Blogs from Pongwe
... doesn't have license. But somehow he got his ass dry. When we got back home all the volunteers that Philemon had here were at our green house and we had dinner together. Was really great and now I feel much more comfy with dutch language then ever before; here it's everywhere. Also Philemon told us that Darata and me we are very special volunteers for them as we are extremely honest and saying all the truth even If it sometimes not very nice. And we loved ...
... s, Juma and his wife, Sayoomo (sorry wrong spelling) and their 3 year old daughter Hanifa. Another transfer failed to show so Juma organized a taxi van to take us all to Stone Town BnB, our home for the next 4 nights. Juma and his wife stayed for lunch and they have arranged to take us to see their house tomorrow. The Stone Town BnB is run by an Australian woman, Judy and her Zanzarbarian husband, Massoud, who trained as a chef in Australia. I think we will be ...
27th May A long drive day, leaving at 7.30am. We crossed into Tanzania at the Songwe-Kasamulu border point. We had massive hassles changing money with the touts - I was lucky not to be one of those ripped off swapping Kwacha into Tanzanian Shillings. We reset our watches one hour forward at the crossing. We drove until 7.40pm, when we bushcamped.
28th May Another long drive day. We drove through ...
... is home to just 15 of the before mentioned white mountain side abodes. Each home has views of the surrounding, flat sea yet also has its own, plush green garden that really does make each hut feel as though you are on a secluded island. With only slight breezes ever filling the air, the silence here is also something to behold, albeit with the sounds of the odd monkey creeping past or cricket chirping away. Around an hour and a few minutes drive from ...
... we would never have found all the places he showed us, not in one day anyway... Like the former Slave Market, where people used to come to sell and buy slaves (horrible!) and the fish market where they do the same... but then with fish :-). Pictures say more than words, so I will add the photos I took in Stone Town when I get home.
We had lunch in a nice place called Lazuli and walked back to the hotel by the sea front, passing by Forodhani Gardens, where ...