Reviews of Fumba Beach Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Fumba Beach Lodge review
We very much enjoyed our stay at Fumba. An all-round good lodge is blessed with having a wonderful setting along the beach front with very well tended grounds. We were greeted with a very warm welcome that continued throughout: highlights were the very pleasant musical entertainment at Thursday evening's dinner and a superb snorkelling trip conducted by the attached Dive Centre, whose staff were very friendly, flexible and knowledgeable. Food was always good and occasionally even better, and we enjoyed eating our dinner in different areas, bringing variety to the views and setting. At around US$ 40 the wine was a tad pricey.
Our 'room' was very good - furnished with taste, comfort and style rather than out and out luxury - with the secluded beach-view hammock, private terrace and spacious inside and outside bathroom facilities being much appreciated. Our only minor criticism is that some additional maintenance would be welcome in some areas - such as the outside shower plumbing - and a water bucket would be useful outside to wash sand off feet before entering: we pointed this out around the middle of our stay but sadly one didn't turn up, despite one of the senior staff making some arrangements. Oh and the crashing of the sea close by had a tendency to disrupt our sleep, but such things are forgiven in near paradise!
Bad start but overall a beautiful place
The start was poor, left hanging around for half an hour while we waited for our reservation to be found and rooms made ready. The first night was grim - a buffet with 20 people queing for below average food. We were told to wear swimming shoes in the sea to avoid stepping on rocks and urchins, not something that had been packed. We were ready to write it off and get through as best we could.
However it did get better as it really is a wonderful location and beautifully presented, very spacious and private. Somewhat indifferent service on occasions, low profile manager (vs 3 previous places) - the only time she showed her face was prior to the grim buffet and she deadened rather than enlivened the atmosphere. I think a great manager here will make all the difference.The presence of the Dive centre as part of the resort (not Safari Blue) was a bonus and the children had a great time with Lauren teaching them to dive in the swimming pool.
Eleanor [Ed: of Expert Africa] was right..it is very adult - but we survived!
Fumba Beach Lodge review
Our only reservation relates to the arrangements for our departure. Knowing that we had to catch the 6.45 flight, we asked the receptionist to check what time our taxi would arrive. We also asked to be woken at 4.30 in the morning and were assured on two occasions that this would be done. We were also promised a flask of coffee in lieu of breakfast.
Luckily we also set our own alarm, as the wake-up call never materialised, and when we arrived at Reception, we found all doors locked and no one around. We did, however, find our transport, and everything went smoothly from there.
Billing (adding up all signed invoices) a little chaotic, but otherwise a delightful resort with friendly staff, good food, and a lovely beach.
friendly atmosphere in beautiful surroundings
Natasha the manageress was an excellent hostess and upgraded us to a superior lodge which made a great difference to the whole stay. The whole staff were very attentive and made us feel at home.Read more about the whole beach holiday
Fumba Beach Lodge review
Stunning location away from the mass tourism of the north. Their own diving /snorkelling centre in the grounds of the resort was superb. They were able to tailor make trips to the reefs and desert islands which were spectacular and away from the tourist masses.
The staff at Fumba were lovely and enthusiastic and we had some great locations on the beach for dinner. They have however got to look at the fly problem in the restaurant either by getting a zap machine or being more diligent when covering the food.
Fumba is fairly secluded and quite a distance from facilities at Stone Town. We were delighted to be helped when requiring some medicines but for more mundane supplies such as suncream etc make sure you are well stocked up before arriving.
Fumba Beach Lodge review
Almost excellent - but ....
This is a fantastic hotel – loved almost everything about it. The setting is gorgeous, the staff are wonderful, our room (No 1 – a suite) was just magic. Loved the seclusion, the roof terrace, the outdoor showers, the privacy of our own little bit of beach etc etc. The hotel has been designed with privacy in mind – all around are little nooks and crannies where you find a couple of sun beds, or a double hammock.
This is a hotel were management far exceeds expectations – they do things to make your holiday special – things which are neither needed nor expected. For instance, every evening we ate in a different place, the tables are set up around the resort, a couple on the beach, a couple by the pool, in the nooks and crannies – all very romantic and very private.
The restaurant itself is nice, mostly outside on the terrace and I am sure everyone would have been very happy to be eating there but Annmarie and her team put so much effort into making everything special that it takes your breath away. To crown it all, on our last night we had dinner set up on the terrace of our room – complete with personal chef and waitress (portable bbq etc) they cooked us lobster and king prawns etc. Magic.
This place is so lovely that it is hard to say negative things about it – but there are a couple. The pillows are really awful – dirty, badly stained and very lumpy. With no air conditioning and high humidity everyone gets hot and sweaty – and although the sheets and pillow cases are clean and changed often – the pillows are just dreadful.
The mosquito nets over the bed were also very badly stained – lying in bed at night looking at dirty, stained mossie nets and knowing you were lying on dirty stained pillows kind of spoilt it a bit. This was not just our room as it was a bit of a conversation piece around the pool – especially from people who had been to another hotel on the island, and in comparison said they loved Fumba – the feeling was – shame about the general cleanliness.
There was also an issue about the covering of food at breakfast. The bowls of fruit were covered by cling film but all the bread products – rolls, croissants, cakes, bread etc were left uncovered and were swarming with files. WHY!! The staff used to bring candles to try to keep the flies away! At least three people got tummy bugs while we were there (me included and I have the constitution of an ox.
There is no where on the grade system below to express cleanliness.
A good comfortable lodge
Fumba was a good place for us to relax after just over a week of early starts on safari. Unlike some other guests, we did not find the journey from the airport to Fumba too bad (if you've been clattering about in a land cruiser on safari, you can certainly put up with a slightly rough road). First impressions were very good; Natashja showed us round and made us welcome.
Room: We had a baobab suite (number 5). It was spacious and we liked the outdoor bathroom. Our main reservation was that the suite was so near to the main public areas including the bar. Fortunately, other guests were fairly quiet at night but, if we'd had a more lively group at the bar, it could have been noisy. It would have been nice to have been further away from the public areas. The fact that there was access directly from the beach to our bathroom was strange - anyone could have come up the stairs and used the facilities! We felt that the bathroom area could do with some updating and refurbishing. The gardens at the lodge were beautiful and so well maintained.
People: Everyone was friendly and the waiting staff were very efficient. On a couple of occasions, we found the peace of the pool area disturbed by restaurant staff having very loud "debates". Apart from those incidents, people seemed warm and happy.
Facilities: We mainly spent our time by the pool or on the beach which was lovely. We had hoped to dive but David who runs the dive centre was on holiday and Lauren was fully booked so sadly we missed out. We went on a guided snorkelling tour which was interesting but not a patch on diving. One word of warning it you dive or snorkel, at this time of year there are lots of tiny jelly fish which give annoying little stings. Had we known, we would have opted for full wetsuits!
Food: The food was a little mixed in terms of quality. The breakfasts were buffet-style and were ok but the dinners were good. We felt we had a good choice of meat and fish/seafood main courses and the set starters and soups were always tasty. We had lunch on one of the days and there was lots to choose from and we did not think it too expensive.
Fumba Beach Lodge review
Our stay at Fumba was the least enjoyable of our trip; perhaps because we are not really used to staying in gated hotels. The access was an uncomfortable drive, so we only left the hotel once to visit Stone Town and the Spice farm. This was a well arranged tour by Fisherman's Tours, which we found interesting. We took your advice and ignored the attempts of one of the waiters to book us on a similar tour! We also went on a snorkelling trip organised by the hotel, which was excellent.
We found the food a bit pretentious, and the service slow, and were not too keen on the tendency to seat us in different areas of the hotel. On our last night we were kept waiting long after everyone else had been served, and then were taken back to our banda and served dinner on our balcony. Without asking us our choice of menu, they served us king prawns and lobster - hardly a sensible choice when we had to get up at 4am and sit in a plane for 10 hours!
There was very little to do apart from sitting by the pool, and swimming in the sea when the tide was in, early morning and late afternoon, as there were no activities apart from scrabble and cluedo. But perhaps we were partly to blame, as we hadn't really thought about that part of the holiday; 2 days less there would have suited us better.
Fumba Beach Lodge review
Fumba Beach Lodge was simply entrancing. It was everything we hoped it would be – and more. It has a wonderful relaxed and tranquil atmosphere (indeed, at one point we could hear the unamplified muezzin coming from the nearby village), and some of the most glorious views in Zanzibar. Our room in particular (No.8) had a fabulous aspect, giving out onto a little bay. Our room was superbly appointed and there were many touches that made us think that a great deal of thought had gone into the design, for example having the overhead fan inside the capacious mosquito net.
We were made to feel very welcome by Natashja and all her staff, and we felt that in only a few short days they had become real friends. Nothing was too much trouble, and we enjoyed being taught various Swahili phrases by them. We were very impressed that Nataschja and Edwin have established a valuable relationship with the village, particularly their support of the school. The menu was varied, and the food delicious and well presented; we particularly liked the fact that the fish were bought from the local fishermen.
The grounds are beautifully laid out and it was delightful simply to wander along the white sandy paths enjoying the bougainvillaea and hibiscus in full flower, catching the lizards darting across our path and glimpsing some of the other wildlife, like an elephant shrew, a hornbill and the bushbabies that comes down from the baobab tree at night to get the fruit put out for them.
One of our main reasons for going to Zanzibar was for the marine life. Lauren and David at Blue World Dive Centre were excellent – patient with novices like us, but giving us great confidence – and their knowledge of underwater flora and fauna was encyclopaedic, which really added to the experience. We went out to the 5 mile long Ukombe reef in the Menai Bay Conservation Area (only Blue World is allowed to dive there, consequently it is very unspoiled) on their elegant dhows and enjoyed both diving and snorkelling.
So if you want a peaceful, relaxing holiday in lovely surroundings, you really can’t get better than Fumba Beach Lodge!
Fumba Beach Lodge review
Fumba is in a quieter part of Zanzibar and although it does not have white beaches it really didnt make any difference. The sea was turquoise and clear and you could walk a long way when the tide was out. The rooms were light and airy with vibrant coloured bedspreads - we were in a suite with an outside shower and bath - it was wonderful . Our only drawback - if you could call it that - was being woken up by the tide each morning - early - that and the bushbaby at night!! But it all added to the wonderful experience.
We were disappointed by the standard of the food - lunch was very good (for which you paid extra) but dinner often disappointed - there was not as much sea food on offer as we had hoped and some of the fish was dry and the lamb tough. The soups however were always good and very different - I really liked the beetroot and ginger! The member of our party with dietary problems was rarely offered an alternative - fortuantley she has a small appetite so a main course sufficed as she rarely could eat the starter or soup - and she had spoken to the chef at the start of the stay so felt she did not want to constantly repeat herself each night.
Having said that the Swahili night was great fun with a buffet and music.
We took a snorkelling trip from the hotel dive centre after discussing the pros and cons of what was on offer from larger trips with the manager Natasha and she was totally honest about all the alternatives. It was the right choice as Lauren was an experienced snorkeller and diver and could idenitfy and inform us about all the sealife on offer - it was a sea safari in the amount we saw. The lunch on the deserted island was delicious and us girls even indulged with some Pimms - complete with ice!
Everything at Fumba is geared to helping you relax. I had a foot massage which was very good although a little rushed.
There are no organised activites ( there is a volley ball court - ) so if that is what you are looking for this place is not for you. But for peace and quiet and relaxation it is wonderful. There are plenty of trips on offer with different companies and Natasha will give you lots of advice and help.
We did have one or two gripes - firstly on the Friday the hotel seemed to have run out of most breakfast items -(and I mean no supplies rather than not enough cooked) including butter and was obviously low on milk as the pancakes were made with water. No explaination was offered which is always a mistake I feel.
The other is that they charged the same price for the local gin as they did imported gin - at Selous Impala Camp there was a marked difference!! Drinks were certainly not cheap and on the subject of drinks - the drinks bill for the whole day is presented to you for signing at night - with seven of us it was often difficult to keep track and despite asking several times to have bills at lunch and at sundowners it didnt happen.
However they are minor gripes.
I would also make a suggestion to maybe supply some bath salts for the huge outside bath in the baobao treee - which takes a lot of filling and several bottles of shower gel to achieve some bubbles!! It would be a nice touch.
Natasha is a good manager who will sort out any problems or help in anyway she can and is so approachable and friendly.
All in all Fumba is a beautiful hotel in paradise.