Zanzibar beach bungalows and hotel

COUNTRY:
Tanzania
LOCATION:
Jambiani, Mfumbwi, Zanzibar
PRICE:
From US $109 - US $159 per room per night
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MORE INFO:
Price depends on season. Airport transfers US $60 one way
VOUCHERS:
Gift vouchers can be used with this holiday
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Zanzibar beach bungalows and hotel

Zanzibar beach bungalows and hotel

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How we choose the provider of Zanzibar beach bungalows and hotel

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Zanzibar beach bungalows and hotel

Reviewed 23 Mar 2009 by Ylva Lindberg1 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Leaving...

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do not book this hotel at Jambiani Zanzibar.
1. The rooms were dirty
2. The pictures lie
3. They did not have half of the food on the menu
4. When we arrived they were overbooked, so we had to stay two nights at the hotel next door
5. It took hours to be served at the restaurant
6. The aircon in our room did not work, they did nothing to fix it.
7. When we got home, we found out that they charged my creditcard twice the amount we where supposed to pay, and it took us 2 months to get the money back!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


No.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


After leaving this accommodation it was fine, while at the accommodation, we were disappointed.

Read the operator's response here:

In all honesty this guest's complaints are legitimate and I understand their disappointment entirely. Mostly this a result of some unfortunate circumstance and some of some issues that were either out of our control or which have been rectified since. To Ylva I apologise once again most sincerely and humbly

In ref to specific points-
The pictures do not lie, they are all 100% untouched pictures of the hotel and the surroundings, however the environment/beach around the hotel appears different at high and low tide and depending on the season. In December the sand level around the base of the hotel is low exposing some coral rock. This would account for the perception that the images may have been taken somewhere else. We now advise accordingly for bookings made in these periods.

We had an exceptionally busy season in December and did understock some items and our suppliers were unable to meet demand in many respects. We have since tripled minimum stock levels and taken on more suppliers to ensure this never happens again.

We had a virus that crashed our reservation system and back up data so we were 10% overbooked, however we made arrangements with a hotel in walking distance from ours that charges the same rates to accommodate the overflow. This is where these guests landed up unfortunately and this hotel did not maintain the same level of service with regards to room maintenance over December. We have since stopped all dealings with this hotel.

We have one of the fastest turnaround times of any restaurant in Zanzibar. Many places take up to 3 hours to serve a dinner. Our restaurant was handling up to triple the capacity it could reasonably take and we have since geared up to handle this volume in the future.

The aircons were serviced twice in December and regassed. We had to wait for an appointment with a suitable AC repair crew. Electricity surges in December did damage 1 or 2 ACs - all were repaired within 48 hours. The SLA time is now agreed at 24 hours or less and we have acquired portable AC units to cover this gap.

We did not have a credit card machine at the time, we had a service provider handle this for us and there were issues that resulted in us cancelling our agreement with them. We now have our own machine and reversals and corrections are immediate. We are not sure why it took two months for the money to get back into this guests account as it was handled by this service provider who have responded saying the delay was with the guest's bank.

We are most unhappy that these unfortunate circumstances occurred during this guests stay. We did discount some of the accommodation cost in the end, and have put measure in place to ensure this never happens again. The most important being that I have now emigrated from South Africa to assume managing directorship on site at the hotel in Zanzibar as of 4 July. We have also put in additional capital for renovations which amount to the single biggest investment back into the hotel, even exceeding original capital expenditure on the project (roughly twice as much). So please watch this space.

Reviewed 23 Dec 2008 by Sonja Lavrencic5 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Sunrises (and I’m not a morning person!), moonrises and long morning and evening walks on sandy beaches, collecting shells. One day we started walking after breakfast and by midday when we got tired (and it got too hot) we negotiated with the captain of the local sailing boat to sail us back to the accommodation – an unforgettable “taxi” ride for the total of 12 dollars (plus tips)! Overall, the rhythm of the high and low tide observed from the accommodation and how it affects the life of the Jambiani village, the simple village life of fishing, sailing, farming seaweed, collecting shells, weaving palm fronds, growing mangos and bananas. The easy going atmosphere of the hotel and the interaction with local people.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


As one of the previous travelers said, bring a lot of drawing material (pens, color pencils, etc) and sweets for the village kids. Bring cash as credit cards are still not accepted everywhere and even where they are (in Stone Town), it can take up to 30 min to get the authorization, plus extra percentages are charged for credit card payments. ATM machines and banks are in Stone Town only, 1 hr drive from the accommodation. However, the staff are extremely helpful and we too ended up settling part of the hotel bill by paying it to the transfer driver in Stone Town. As the accommodation is one hour drive from Stone Town and there’s no viable connection with the town (dalla-dalla takes 3 hrs!) you might want to consider spending one day and/or the last night in Stone Town – many of our fellow travelers did so. Also, this holiday appeals to a certain type of traveler: those seeking luxury or active nightlife will be disappointed.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The accommodation employs local people and the surrounding villages still seem to be genuine and relatively unspoiled by the tourism. Not sure about how the water supply and sewerage is managed, but considering how basic the accommodation is we assumed that the environmental impact should not be excessive.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent, totally relaxing holiday, we thoroughly enjoyed the basic-ness of it: living with the daylight, early nights and early mornings (so different from our normal city life), long walks, swimming in the “lagoon”, the variety of seashells and sea life, good food. If not the best, definitely one of the best holidays we had.

Reviewed 28 Nov 2008 by Natasha Fitton4 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Lovely relaxing holiday, fantastic local staff running the bungalows & bar created a lovely atmosphere. Highlight probably swimming with dolphins & amazing turquoise ocean as warm as a bath!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Beware prices for food & trips are more than you might expect and all the extras add up - in jambiani most places accept US dollars or Tsh but you need to bring it all with you or go to Stonetown to top up. For day trips from the accommodation everything seems to be priced in multiples US$50pp.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, benefited local people - evidence of lots of local employment & 'knock-on' business from tourists incl local stores, fishermen & fruit sellers etc. all the ingredients on the menu were local & fresh (& delicious).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


10/10 for authentic Zanzibar, stunning views, wall to wall sunshine & life in the slow lane...

Reviewed 30 Mar 2008 by Deidre Crichton4 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Zanzibar was spectacular! The island is really beautiful and made for a very relaxing beach holiday. The Jambiani villagers were really friendly and helpful and took us to see the markets. The snorkelling was great, although there was some reef damage. Still worth going out on the dhows and spending a wonderful day exploring the coral reefs. We fished, snorkelled, swam and read books and enjoyed cocktails and awesome moonrises in the evenings. As a family with two young children, this was a really enjoyable and relaxing holiday!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


To book the connection from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar with a reputable airline and to not be late! Also, to watch out for the scam artists in Dar es Salaam, who lure you into a false sense of security. Also, take writing materials and treats for the local children. Great way to get to interact with the locals.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes for the following reasons:
- the resort arranged local dancers and singers to perform for us
- we paid locals to go snorkelling, fishing and visit markets
- the resort bought the catch of the day from local fishermen

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Really good family beach holiday that also allowed us to experience the island from the local point of view.

Reviewed 15 Oct 2007 by Ben Allen5 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The excursions made available and organised personally by the hotel were amazing and really good value. They allowed you to see parts of the area you would never have seen on your own and made the holiday much more wonderful. We were able to explore the amazing islands, eat bbq'd lobster on the beach, snorkel in beautiful reefs and pools, and swim with dolphins!!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The area is still very untouched by tourism (in a very good way!) but means that credit cards are not accepted. Therefore you really need to plan your budget in advance and ensure you have enough cash for your hotel, trips and eating out. We were caught out by this. However, as the hotel was transferring us back to the main town (where cash machines were available) they allowed us to pay them the balance of our bill here, and give the money to the driver. This was extremely flexible and helpful of the hotel, and meant we continued to enjoy our holiday, and did not feel restricted by our cash situation.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Completely. The hotel was made up of only a dozen bungalows and was very much in keeping with the surrounding environment. This was very pleasing to see, and when you walk down the beach you see that the temptation to build monstrous hotels and resorts has been avoided. It made the area seem very real and allowed the local people to carry on with their daily lives with out being affected by tourism - All the locals still fish in the sea. The hotel we stayed at also employed local residents as cleaners, waiters, bar staff, chefs, and general managers. The hotel also bought in local produce for the restaurant. We definitely felt that the hotel was boosting the local economy. We spoke to a Dutch resident who developed a small house by the beach. He said that the area has not changed in ten years, which is very nice to hear, and made us want to continue to return. He also said that all out-side investors to the area, injected profits they made from rentals, into the local economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


10 / 10. Absolutely amazing. I would recommend this area to anyone looking for ultimate relaxation in beautiful untouched surroundings, where you feel at home amongst the local people.

Reviewed 12 Sep 2007 by Shira Zalana5 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The hotel staff was very nice and welcoming. I enjoyed the pool and the view from the restaurant was amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go for it. It's even better than the pictures.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I would like to think that the people from the village benefited from my stay there.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was the best holiday I had so far and I travelled to many places. The people, the ocean and sandy beaches were amazing.

Reviewed 24 Sep 2007 by Lynn Hood1 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


I can not begin to explain my utter disappointment in this hotel, everything I had read prior to our visit was another world. The hotel was dirty and unkempt, food was inedible, the staff although pleasant did not care there was no manager on sight to speak too until we demanded to see someone and ask for our money back. The most memorable time was booking out of the hotel after 2 days and moving to another hotel.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don't book until things have changed.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


No

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


An experience not to be repeated and would award no stars.

Read the operator's response here:

We receive many great reviews and we monitor our guest satisfaction index across several travel agencies and web reservation site. Currently our average guest satisfaction index is around 82%. Unfortunately we do get negative reviews once or twice a year - the reason is quite simple... Because we get so many glowing reviews from the majority of travellers, this creates a sense of heightened expectation amongst some travellers that read all these reviews and, as we are a budget hotel, it is not always possible for us to meet all the expectations these guests may have. Therefore the great reviews are often dual edged swords for us. This happens with many hotels

Tastes are also very subjective, we have to accept that the hotel is not for everybody, we also have to ensure that we please most of the guests most of the time and that we'll never be able to please everyone all the time because we cannot manage everyone expectations correctly. We do work hard with our marketing partners to help them market us correctly. We encourage guests to really look into our website there is a higher probability of managing expectations as all the info and untouched pictures etc are on the site.

We are a budget hotel - it's a tough category to be in. Guests who are price sensitive choose us because of their budgets, and often these guests who are trying to save money are the ones who complain the most when they don't get 5 star facilities.

Regardless, we are still the busiest and most popular hotel in the region and continue to work hard to improve our offering and do take criticism like this constructively and we constantly re-invest in the hotel and the staff to work our way slowly but surely out of the budget category.
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Accommodation Reviews

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Responsible travel: Zanzibar beach bungalows and hotel

All employees are from the local community. Management is from the local community and members of the local community have 50% shareholding in the hotel. Managers and employees benefit from profit share and commissions based on hotel performance. We procure all products from the local market in Stone Town with the exception of certain electronic and plumbing goods where we need to import these from South Africa. Absolutely all the services we use are local except for the occasion where we had a swimming pool design from a Kenyan. The actual construction was local however.

To preserve fresh water, we use a combination of brackish, fresh and treated salt water. We only have showers and no baths. We pay locals to keep the beach clean. The hotel uses local organic materials where possible. We use the naturally occurring traditional coral stone building material wherever possible for building materials. All furnishings come from local woods and artisans. We have removed plastics as far as possible and have stuck to the local woods and stone. Roofs are local “makuti” (thatch).

We use energy saving light bulbs and we have a geyser and air-conditioning policy whereby these appliances are switched off by staff when guests are out the room. We also use generators to supplement the unreliable energy supply. We have an organic garden and produce some of our own vegetables such as spinach and limes. We use organic waste mulch to supplement our nutrient poor and salty soil. We collect fresh and rain water in 3 large subterranean tanks and supplement this with the fresh water supply and also a natural brackish water well. There are no refuse collection services in Jambiani, so we have to burn and bury. There are no recycling facilities available so we purchase goods with little to no packaging from the local organic market. We continually clear plastic water bottles and other items from the hotel and surrounding grounds.

We have 50% local equity and 100% local staff compliment. We have a hotel sponsored international training scheme. In agreement with the international hotel school in Johannesburg, we fly out students from the school to Zanzibar to share the education they have received at the hotel school with the local staff. We do not take cuts or sell any services or crafts provided the locals. We take our guests to the locals so they can trade with them directly.

We provide funding towards several initiatives, including religious festivals in the village and educational drives. We also provide funding for water pumps that the hotel and the community are able to use. We have provided funding for the repair of village roofs damaged by strong winds. We pay local villagers for clean-up efforts.

We provide a comprehensive tour service that incorporates activities such as snorkeling, fishing, hiking to the caves, sightseeing to the various attractions of the island such as the old slave market, marine snorkeling and diving safaris, mangrove swamps etc. We provide tours into the village and provide guests with information regarding what services, shops and restaurants are in the village. We provide comprehensive information regarding local customs/language/appropriate dress etc. on our website, our management also advise the guests accordingly and we issue regular communications regarding the above to the travel companies we deal with.

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