Reviews of Pongwe Beach Hotel
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
The best place to relax
Pongwe beach Hotel is set on one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The hotel was a perfect retreat after 5 nights on safari.
Pongwe is around an hours drive from stone town. Set in a secluded bay the hotel offers the perfect place to relax. Pongwe is not the place to go if you are looking for activities to do outside of the hotel.
We were given Val's room which is the honeymoon suite. The rooms are fairly basic at Pongwe. They are clean and functional but offer fantastic views of the white sands and dream like blue shades of the Indian Ocean.
The staff at pongwe were extremely friendly and couldn't be more helpful.
Perfect! We both really enjoyed every meal at Pongwe. We stayed on a half board basis with breakfast and dinner included.
Breakfast was a perfect way to start the day. We had lunch every day we roughly cost around 10-15 dollars each. We had a choice from around 5 different meals and always found something we loved.
Dinner was a set menu, consisting of 3 courses. Again we enjoyed every meal.
A must do is the sea food platter on the beach, 40 dollars each for all the seafood you could ever eat! Lobster, crab, slipper lobster, prawns and squid.
Pongwe is not the place to come if you intend to get out and see zanzibar. Due to it's seclusion most activities are fairly expensive.
we had a great time. A perfect hotel to relax in, set on the most beautiful beach. We would return but maybe for 4 nights next time.
We feel Pongwe is perfect to combine with a Stone Town hotel stay.
The beach certainly is absolutely wonderful here - beautiful and quiet. Food ranged from 'pretty good' to 'excellent', although the lack of choice was a bit annoying at times (in fairness the staff were very helpful if you wanted something different). A fish lover's paradise, not so good if you aren't. Dinner on the beach was very romantic, and the cocktails were excellent.
Staff and management were very helpful. Nice touches included a flask of coffee being left outside the room in the morning, and fruit being brought around in the afternoon (and also the bushbaby outside our room, though of course that wasn't down to the staff!). The pool is very nice. I think this place is great for honeymooners, but wouldn't be good for families. Five nights here were perfect, but we wouldn't have wanted to stay much longer as it is very quiet.
The advertised excursions mostly seemed very expensive (in fairness snorkelling, which we didn't end up doing, seemed reasonable). We were hoping for a massage but were told that their usual masseuse's certificate had lapsed so the only option would have been a spa that was more expensive than we would have paid in the UK, not including the overpriced taxi ride: we declined. I also think some entertainment (e.g. live music) in the evenings wouldn't hurt.
On the whole though we were very happy with this place and it definitely is a great honeymoon resort.
Pongwe Beach Hotel review
Car hire experience was not a good one.
Taxi booked to return us to the airport failed to materialise leading to a further hair raising experience on the roads of Zanzibar.
Expert Africa comments
We're sorry to hear these traveller's return transfer did not go smoothly. This was organised separately, not through Pongwe. We followed up with the transfer company who apologised profusely - the car on the way to collect these traveller’s had a break-down en-route and was delayed reaching Pongwe. In the meantime Pongwe quickly helped arrange an alternative taxi to the airport for these travellers to make sure they had a smooth connection to Dar es Salaam.
Pongwe Beach Hotel review
Great location a lovely 'private' white sand beach. Attentive staff and good food. Although popular you do not get the feel of a large establishment - other than at evening meal - when the dining room has something of a refectory feel.
Rooms are only very simply furnished - those on the (beach) front seem to have better options for relaxing, we only had a simple bench on the porch but we made use of the ample options of loungers, hammocks and rondovels on the beach itself.
Easy place to relax. Activities are limited unless you taxi elsewhere: snorkelling is an option, but very wind/tide dependent. 'Good' snorkeliing would be a bonus rather than an expectaion - unless you pay for the more expensive trip to Mnemba. Good pool though, and swimming from the beach is great too.
Relaxing time at beautiful Pongwe Beach Hotel
We arrived around 7pm to a really warm welcome from Kara. We were shown to our room (Vals room) which had such a perfect outlook & was just a few steps away from the Indian Ocean. The room had a fantastic outlook & was well equipped. The shower was a little weak but hey, who cares when you're in such beautiful surroundings! We liked the idea of complementary gowns & kangas & to have fresh coffee delivered in the morning was also a great touch (even though we were forgotton 1 day & only got 1 cup the next - the thought was there!!)
The dining & lounge areas were furnished in bright prints & every evening we took advantage of the various games available (dominoes, bao, scrabble etc) whilst enjoying olives, nuts & popcorn prior to our evening meal. The food was always very well presented, plentiful & served by smiling staff. They were happy to meet any request for variations in a meal (eg I used to ask for chilli omelette in the mornings!) We would possibly have enjoyed a little more 'spice' (Zanzibar - Spice Island??!) but appreciate that not everyone else shares our passion for this!!
It was great having a private beach as we rarely encountered more than a handful of other people during the day & even though once the tide had retreated the water was too shallow to swim, there were all sorts of interesting things to look at in the water such as urchins, sea slugs(!) & of course some beautiful shells to collect! We used this time to take advantage of the lovely infinity pool - again, this area was never crowded.
We took a trip on the dhow out to the reef & tried a bit of snorkeling & hand-line fishing - great fun, several different species caught! It was a perfect winding down place - everything we needed amongst the most fabulous setting. We only went out one day, up to Nungwi for some game fishing. There seemed to be a stark difference in the two places & we're so glad we chose Pongwe! No negatives - only the coffee blanking blip!!
Pongwe Beach Hotel review
An absolutely fantastic place to kick back and relax - the beach is postcard worthy, the food is excellent and the service is outstanding.
The rooms are pretty but rustic, which we loved - it was warm at night, but the fan was a life-saver! The resort has a family atmosphere, with staff and guests all intermingling in a very comfortable way.
Pongwe is also excellent value - we couldn't think of anything more you would need from a beach holiday.
We arrived at Pongwe Beach Hotel and were greeted and told "Welcome to Paradise" - when we walked out onto the beach we understood what they meant!
The setting is fantastic - the resort is a row of lovely thatched beach bungalows, surrounded by beautiful gardens and palm trees looking out onto a turquoise warm sea and blue sky. There is an infinity pool with a nice sunbathing area scattered thatched umbrellas to provide shade. The beach bungalows are quite simplistic but clean and all that you need for a beach resort. There were nice touches such as providing a beach basket with fresh beach towels everyday and having a green flag system for ordering drinks etc.
There was a range of activities at the hotel such as snorkelling, kayaking etc. and the hotel staff were happy to help arrange other activities through third parties. The food was of a very high quality. Each day a set dinner menu was circulated but the staff seemed very flexible to allowing for dietary requirements and likes/dislikes. They are keen to arrange for a candle lit dinner on the beach at least one night during your stay.
Pongwe is a place for chilling out in lovely surroundings with great service and great food. There are activities to do but it is not a lively resort. We came away feeling well rested and well fed!
Pongwe Beach Hotel review
After a week on safari, this was PERFECT! The accomadation was nice looking out over the beach. Talcum powder sand and Turqouise sea - picture postcard.
Days were spent lying in hammocks reading books and playing in the sea. Snorkelling straight from the beach is very limited but when you go out with the boat, it is really worth it - lots of fish!
Service lacked the personal touches that we had recieved previously through our trip, but it was still fairly good. The food was nice and fairly flexible when wanting to change the set meals. The Seafood platter on the beach was LOVELY!
Cocktails and games in the bar before dinner was really nice.
Bear in mind that many people really stick to being in couples at this resort so not overly social but perfect if you want to have some time out. Pure Relaxation!!!!!!!
Pongwe Beach Hotel review
An amazing place which was slightly let down by the staff. The location was fantastic, the accomodation comfortable and clean, the pool absolutely stunning, the little touches like the sarongs and beach bags were great and the food good.
However when we were there the service seemed rather chaotic and took away from the overall experience - for example at breakfast, you'd have about 4 different people trying to take your order, things would get forgotten and your toast would always arrive 10 minutes before or after the rest of your breakfast.
Also, I was hugely excited about using the little flag you get given to use on the beach to signal you want drinks, but after 25 minutes waiting I eventually gave up and went to the bar. It's a shame as if they got this sorted it would have been such a fabulous place but the poor service let it down.
Paradise setting at Pongwe Beach
White sands, beautiful clear blue sea, palm trees with hammocks, a truely lovely setting. On our arrival to our room we received a bowl of fruit, sparkling wine on ice and a lovely message congratulating us on our Silver Wedding Anniversary, a very welcoming touch.
The rooms were nice (we were given the family cottage, even though there were only 2 of us) it was spacious and clean, the bathroom had 2 showers and was certainly big enough for a family of 4. The water from the showers is slightly salty but we didn't find that an issue. The main bedroom and bathroom were a little on the dark side as the whole cottage was under a thatched additional roof and therefore not allowing much natural light in, but not much time is spent in the rooms. There is no safety boxes in the rooms which we found a little inconvenient but there is one large safe at the reception area that you have to ask a member of staff to get your posessions from. You can access this between 7.30am and 8pm.
The dining area is quite large and has a lounge area at one side with comfy chairs, bar serving a wide variety of drinks and an endless cocktail list.
The food was very interesting and varied. The staff were pleasant and efficient.
All in all it was a lovely place to spend a few nights totally relaxing in paradise surroundings.