Reviews of Matemwe Retreat
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
WOW, WOW, WOW!!!
What an amazing place this was! My husband and I stayed here for 7 nights on the final stop of our honeymoon. It was really difficult choosing a place to stay in Zanzibar as there seem to be so many options, but boy oh boy am I glad we chose Matemwe Retreat.
After a bumpy ride down a dodgy looking dirt road through Matemwe Village we arrived at Matemwe Retreat and we were welcomed by Abdi, our butler with a cold towel and drink. From that moment on our stay was amazing! Abdi was great and did everything (booking activities, drinks, food, advice etc etc etc etc) he could to make our stay enjoyable.
We stayed in Zam Zam and the villas are fantastic, very spacious and the views of the ocean are to die for. The pool on the rooftop was the best bit and we loved that we didn't have to leave our villa at all if we didn't want to.
The food is amazing and I think we had seafood for every meal. This is caught by the local villagers and bought by the hotel and it is always superb. We dined on a few occasions at the main hotel when they had Swahili night and a BBQ. Both were excellent! The cocktail of the day also went down very well:-)
In terms of activities, there is a fairly wide choice. We choose to do snorkelling, the guided reef walk (both provided by the hotel) and diving. All are fantastic and there is loads to sea out there in the ocean! We also had an amazing 3 hour massage pamper session, which was excellent. I don't think I've ever felt so relaxed.
All in all, there are not enough superlatives to describe this place. I was very sad to leave this little piece of paradise and I would recommend it in a heartbeat.
Wonderful Matemwe Retreat
Matemwe Retreat could not be more appropriately named – it is a relaxing haven with all you could wish for in an idyllic setting. The rooms are beautiful with rustic-chic styling, and the top deck with the plunge pool is simply stunning. We were very well looked after by Thadeo who was attentive, friendly, and a mine of information on island life and culture.
We did the snorkelling trip one morning and it was well worth the early start – a sailing trip on a dhow, amazing marine life, and a delicious, simple picnic on a deserted sandbank. The main lodge at Matemwe is beautiful, too, and Thadeo was our waiter there on the couple of occasions we chose to venture out to the main restaurant.
We had 3 days here, but we could happily have stayed for a couple more. It is the perfect mix of elegance and sophistication with a relaxed, laid back vibe.
Matemwe retreat review
We really enjoyed the space and privacy of our villa, Safina. Our butler Daniel was superb, could not do enough for us, and his calm quiet manner was delightful.
Sally took the trouble to check that everything was ok which was very thoughtful. We had a couple of meals at the Bungalows, the food was good throughout the stay and the bar was well stocked.
The view from the villa was beautiful with stunning sunrises, the rooftop plunge pool was a great way to cool off as we watched the dhows sail by. The bath was enormous with ocean view.
We were disappointed with the snorkelling off Mnemba, the trip was well organised but there were many boats all chasing dolphin and both guests and guide were touching both coral and fish.
Fantastic location and snorkelling but everything else was a complete diappointment. The concept of the lodge was fantastic but the fixtures and fittings were a disgrace.
Air Conditioning was broken and took 3 days and 6 men in our room to fix. The toilet never functioned and was replaced during our stay causing great inconvenience and intrusion by maintenance staff. The welcoming gave us no confidence as management were not present and this feeling continued throughout our stay.
Should have been the idealic end of a fantastic holiday but by the end we were just happy to leave.
Expert Africa comments
Matemwe Retreat’s owners apologised for the disappointment this traveller experienced. Their manager had unexpectedly absconded from work several weeks before these guests arrived – causing major issues, including shortcomings in their usual maintenance programme. Clearly this contributed to an experience that wasn’t up to scratch.
Both Matemwe Retreat and Matemwe Bungalows were full during this time, and so it wasn’t possible to move them to another room. Instead the staff did their best to fix the problems – but clearly inconvenienced the guests greatly. When we explained this, the owners offered these guests a partial refund, to try to go some way to make up for their disappointment.
The day that these travellers left, 21st February, a new ‘replacement’ manager started at the Matemwe Retreat. From the end of March until the start of June, the whole team at Matemwe Retreat will be doing their usual annual maintenance. This includes replacing most soft furnishings and servicing all the electrics. We are optimistic that when the lodge re-opens in June, it’ll be in the excellent shape that we’re used to at this lodge.
Matemwe Retreat review
If you are able to stay at the Matemwe Retreat why try to go somewhere else? The villa is fantastic; the view is amazing, our butler Mwuyni made us feel so special with all his pampering!
It was an unique experience and considering that we live near the mythical beaches of Thailand, forget it..this is the most beautiful beach we have seen! The water has as the most amazing blue color, the sand is so soft almost like flour (if you could compare).
The only thing that we regret is that the Mnemba atoll was overcrowded.
The Safina Villa was so good that it was very hard to leave it..the private pool..the sunrise..the beach and the people fishing and singing just a few meters in front of us created a magical atmosphere! Brilliant!
Matemwe Retreat review
The retreat was great. Our personal porter, Paul, couldn't have been any more helpful, attentive and interesting. He was great. Beautiful room.
The food was only ok here. Not the same level of cooking as at Gibbs or Sayari.