Reviews of Shooting Star Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Shooting Star Lodge review
What a terrific place!
I could tell you about how wonderful it is to lounge in the infinity pool overlooking the ocean and just watch the fishermen on the horizon, or how beautifully quaint the sea view cottages are. I could tell you about how nice it is to wander the grounds at night with sand paths under your feet. Or about finishing off a swim in the ocean by rolling into the beach-side bar for a drink. But honestly, none of those things is what made this place special for me.
Instead it's the people and the casual energy of the place that makes staying here feel like you're staying at a friends villa. Elly, the manager, sets the tone with an easygoing charm, that carries through to the rest of the staff. Everyone treated us like friends the whole time were there, right down to Linky the cat and Elly's dogs who lounge about the lodge and are alway happy for a bit of a pet as you pass.
It's possible you could find a fancier place to stay, but for me, that would defeat the point: the best part of Zanzibar isn't the beaches (though they're terrific) it's the people, and the Shooting Star brings everything that seems great about the culture of the island into one place.
Great place for a wedding
We stayed here as our son was getting married here - everything about it was lovely, very relaxed and welcoming, a place comfortable in its own skin and no pretensions. It has been open for quite a few years and now has a shabby chic look.
We stayed four nights and as this was the beginning of our holiday and also the wedding venue, we really didn't do much other than laze..... and walked along the beautiful beach, of course - and it is truly beautiful. The lodge has a small spa area, again another unpretentious place. The staff were very friendly and in all we felt very welcome and could have stayed longer.
The food was simple but very very good - octopus curry was the highlight
Shooting Star Lodge review
Lovely relaxed lodge. Having the Kusi suite really made the stay for us. It was lovely having the privacy of our own pool (which was bigger than it looked in photos) and the roof terrace was lovely in the evenings to watch the sunset. We had a rooftop bath every night!
The beach bar was a lovely place to have a (very) leisurely lunch. Lovely when the tide was in and really interesting when the tide was out (watching the ladies gathering sea weed, etc).
Food was variable, some very good, some average to poor. Service also very variable. One night dinner was over very quickly, while on another it went on very late, as we weren't called to the tables for at least half an hour and then it was very slow. Last morning's breakfast was also very slow. I got very badly bitten on the first night sitting on the sand, presumably by sand flies. It would have been good to be warned about this, though other guests seemed unaffected, so maybe I'm just particularly tasty! The bites had gone by the next day, but put us off sitting on the sand. Cocktails and wine very pricy, so we mostly stuck to beer.
We have read complaints on Tripadvisor about the cats being present at meal times, but we thought this was lovely The cats weren't a nuisance, but very sweet and endearing.
Spa treatments were good and very cheap compared to UK prices.
We wanted to pay the bill by card, but the machine failed with both our cards, so we had to pay cash and then try and find an ATM in Stone Town and use a credit card to get cash, which wasn't ideal.
The only thing that slightly marred our stay was the noise from the hotel next door (VERY loud music in the evenings at the weekend, that could be clearly heard from our roof), though this just emphasised how lovely and quiet and laid back Shooting Star is.
Our suite was very clean and the pool was kept really clean and cleared out early each morning ready for us to use as soon as breakfast was done. We were also able to stay in the suite until we were picked up at 2pm, which was really nice (there was no one booked in that night). There were a few power cuts while we were there but the generator cut in after a few minutes max. The hairdryer and torch in the suite didn't work when we arrived (the hairdyer had melted, which was quite worrying!), but were both replaced immediately on request. Loads of English sockets so really easy to charge everything.
Shooting Star Lodge review
Nice lodge and beach. Service was good and staff friendly. Good place to relax after a safari.
Shooting Star Lodge review
If you like a quiet time, this is the place. The whole lodge does not have a TV (although a TV reception dish is conspicuously located on our path to the bar/eating area). The room does not have a telephone. I stayed there in separate room with my daughter so we had to make arrangements with each either ahead of time or in person.
We liked the food in the lodge. They prepared the food well and we enjoyed them everyday. The service was also quite good. The lodge provides WIFI in the common areas and has a computer for guest use in the office.
My room faces west and has an ocean view. The room design is typically a beach house with some very unusual notions. It comes with a modern air-conditioning unit and an over-head fan; but the room is fully ventilated to the outside environment. It is a good thing but it can be undesirable.
The ventilation is good for fresh air, especially at night. However, the huge french doors to the back and small widows in the front are only covered by screens, California blinds and a layer of drapes. This arrangement allows outside air to come into the room unabated. With hot air coming in from outside, the air-conditioning unit was working non-stop to keep the room cool. The AC unit sucks a lot of power from the grid. To me, this is not very environmentally friendly.
Furthermore, the toilet and showers room are totally open where the walls meet the roof. The openings are fairly big such that insects (e.g., mosquitoes) can come in unobstructed. This is particularly noticeable when you want to take a shower with the lights on after a long hot day. It is the most undesirable part of the lodge.
If the lodge can close and seal the openings in the toilet and shower rooms, I would have rated this lodge one notch higher.
Shooting Star Lodge review
Lovely place, really nice room but did get electric shock from the tap...a s did my friend. The management did react straight awayRead more about the whole beach holiday
Very good accommodation, situation, food. Wine rather expensive, as were excursions.
We would happily go back, but probably for no more than 4 days, with more time elsewhere on the island
Beautiful views at the Shooting Star
The Shooting Star Lodge has lots to offer, a great location, beautiful beach, a lovely bar/restaurant area and the rooms are very nice. The staff were friendly and the service was good.
The food however was not of a high standard and was very repetitive, the lunch menu was also lacking in choice and imagination. The cocktails are very expensive at $12 each and were mostly disappointing, the wine was also very expensive starting at around $30 a bottle. The spa and the beach bar that were promised in the brochure were not open until the last day of our 6 night stay, which was very disapponting. We also felt that the attention to detail from the mangement was poor, I did not feel that there was a genuine desire to satisfy the guests from the manager.
The bed in our room smelt damp and musty and the toilet seat was broken, washing that was done was returned to us damp and ruined (all our whites are grey). It is a shame that the lodge as a whole has huge potential but is not living up to it, and most guests could be found in the hotel next door at lunchtime.
An effort to arrange some activities such as a BBQ for guests one night would have gone a long way to improve the atmosphere and possible the standard of food.
Expert Africa comments
We are sorry to hear that these travellers had some issues while at Shooting Star – as was the manager there, Kris, when we shared these comments with him. Specifically:
- On the food – Kris apologised that their head chef had left just prior to these travellers stay, and tells us that they are in the process of recruiting a new head chef. He was sorry if this had affected the quality of the food, although is confident that standards will rise again with the new head chef.
- On drinks prices – Kris insisted that Shooting Star’s drinks prices were in line with those of other nearby lodges, and noted that their high levels were the result of Zanzibar’s Muslim culture, which taxes alcohol fairly highly.
- On the spa and the beach bar – Kris apologised that “Some of the renovations scheduled for May did overrun into June. This included the Spa, which has been re-roofed and repainted.”
- On the ‘damp and musty’ observation – Kris noted that “the weather was fairly overcast and wet during over the period these travellers stayed, which meant that the rooms may have felt slightly damper than usual; however the housekeeping team did everything they could to keep this to a minimum.” We’d observe that Shooting Star is a small lodge which does not have electric tumble-driers, instead they rely mainly on the sun to dry clothes.
- On the broken toilet seat - Kris is sorry that he wasn’t aware of this. He says that had he or his senior staff known about it, he assures us that they would have fixed it immediately.
- On the management issues – Kris comments that Shooting Star were much more stretched than usual during this time, and he apologises for the disappointment of these clients. He tells us that he was working very hard and stretched very thinly, and so wasn’t able to spend as much time with the guests as he would have usually liked to have done.
On a more positive note – he assures us that most of these issues will swiftly be sorted out, and won’t extend into the rest of the season.
Shooting Star Lodge Review
We enjoyed this small Lodge/Hotel, ideal for a rest and unwind after a busy safari, the rooms were spacious and clean and the food was very good and staff nice and friendly. Early morning coffe on the patio excellent touch.
The only negative comment I would make is that I thought the drinks were notably 'Expensive' compared with what I had paid on safari and the rest of Zanzibar.
Would I go back - Yes
Great place to unwind
A wonderfully relaxing small lodge on the beach. The staff wonderfully welcoming and service very good. New managers Chris and Amy very welcoming and Elli takes time to speak to all the guests and is clearly passionate about his hotel.
Fantastic walk to the reef at low tide and good swimming at high tide, which was early morning and late afternoon when we were there so for us perfectly timed. We would recommend taking a snorkelling trip - like snorkelling in an aquarium.
Apart from snorkelling we did not ake any organised trips so cannot really commne ton activities other than walking on the beach and swimming which were both great. You do need to be aware of the proximity of the large resorts which pretty much surround Shooting Star, but did not detract from our experience here.
The power problems being experienced by the island were no more than a minor inconvenience with everything being done to keep the generators running. (a sharp contrast to the experience of the ordinary people who had been without power for 2 weeks by the time we got there and had at least a further 4 weeks to go before it was restored.
This is somewhere we would return to.