Sunshine Hotel: Our full report
Opened in 2010, the Sunshine Hotel is located by Matemwe village, on Zanzibar’s east coast.Situated on a lovely stretch of white beach, it’s a bright and lively place to stay, popular with young couples. The seafront plot here is flat and sandy, and planted with flowers and shrubs.
The Sunshine Hotel is the slightly older sister hotel of Sunshine Marine Lodge a few kilometres further north. The central, dining and lounge area is spacious and welcoming and there's an interior, terraced level above it, with plug points for using and charging your devices. Out on the beach, there are cabanas with chairs, tables and recliners.
The hotel offers 14 en-suite rooms in chalets under makuti thatch, all spotlessly clean. In theory, many of them have sea views, but in practice as the coconut palms grow, the views diminish, so 'partial seaview' might be a better description. Only two rooms have a full sea view and those are the Honeymoon Suite and Blue Breeze Suite near the pool and right behind the beach. The other 12 suites are housed in three chalets further back.
The hotel tries to be as eco-friendly as possible, and the rooms have been designed so that sea breeze flows through, making air conditioning unnecessary. That said, each room has three fans – a ceiling fan, a standing fan, and a fan over the bed. The rooms are divided into three categories:
- There are two split-level Garden Retreat rooms which are the smallest rooms here, and they have no balcony. There is a bedroom on its first floor, and a small living room and bathroom below. In common with all the rooms, it's been decorated in a bright, simple décor in a lovely warm and sunny yellow, in keeping with the hotel's name. Each room has double or twin beds draped in a mosquito net, a small seating area and a wardrobe, as well as a safe and a lamp. The en-suite bathroom has a shower and a toilet.
- The 12 Sunshine Suites are located in three bungalows: Clove, Cinnamon and Coconut. These have four rooms in each, two on the ground floor and two on the first floor. All have balconies, those upstairs with partial sea views, and those downstairs with garden views. The stairs to the upper rooms are quite steep. Please note: because of the stairs and the construction of the balconies, Expert Africa doesn't book these suites for families with children under six.
- The two suites, known as the Honeymoon Suite and the Blue Breeze Suite are located in a separate building right on the beach, with their beds facing the sea.
- The ground-floor Honeymoon suite is billed as the hotel's “most luxurious room" and has its own garden with a verandah and private plunge pool.
- Above this, the Blue Breeze Suite covers a similar area but has a large private terrace instead of a garden, with lovely views of the ocean and beach below. Its furniture was created by recycling an old pier from Stone Town.
The vibrant beachfront bar is a popular hangout, with an eclectic menu of fruity cocktails on offer, as well as equally colourful and exotic curries and fresh seafood.
Activities at the Sunshine Hotel include diving at Sunshine Marine Lodge, snorkelling trips to Mnemba Atoll and various island excursions, such as spice tours and Stone Town visits (it's essential that you read the Quadbike warning in the 'Health & Safety' section below for our comments on insurance issues regarding this activity). Guests should note, however, that it is not possible to swim in the sea here at low tide because the lagoon between the shore and the reef is very shallow.
The hotel loans out snorkelling equipment (fins, masks and booties) and bicycles for exploring the local area, free of charge.
The Sunshine Hotel is a good-value, welcoming beachside hotel that has a young and lively vibe. Its cheerful name is very appropriate, with bright sunny colours, friendly staff and a pretty beach giving a happy and relaxed atmosphere. It should appeal to those who like their hotel to have a bit of a buzz while remaining unpretentious.
- East Coast Zanzibar, Zanzibar
- Ideal length of stay
- We would recommend a stay of at least three nights.
- It takes around 35 minutes to fly to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, then it’s a further hour by road to the Sunshine Hotel.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Half Board
- Food quality
- A buffet breakfast is served from 7.30am until 10.00am and consists of a choice of bread, fruit, jams and spreads, with tea, coffee and juices to drink. You can also order a hot breakfast, with eggs cooked to your preference.
Lunch, served from 12.30pm until 3.00pm, tends to focus on light, fresh meals such as pasta, sandwiches and snacks, from an à la carte menu.
At dinner, served from 6.30pm to 9.00pm, there is a choice of various hot dishes such as fish, seafood, curries and samosas, as well as chef's specials that change daily. Every Tuesday Sunshine Hotel have a Swahili dinner, with local dishes such as Zanzibari pilau rice and cooked green banana.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- No room service is available except in the honeymoon suite, which has a private beach banda.
- Drinks included
- No drinks are included.
- Family holidays
- The good-value Sunshine Hotel welcomes children of all ages. With its unpretentious, vibrant atmosphere, nice pools and friendly staff it’s a good choice for family beach holidays in Zanzibar. Cots and high chairs are provided by the hotel.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- Beach holidays
- Located on a pretty beach, typical of Zanzibar’s east coast, Sunshine Hotel is a good-value lodge which is colourful and vibrant. Away from the beach’s attractions, it has pleasant gardens and a relaxed lounge and cocktail bar.
- See ideas for Beach holidays
- Attitude towards children
- Sunshine Hotel welcomes children of al ages.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions at Sunshine Hotel.
- Special activities & services
- Cots and high chairs can provided by the hotel.
- Generally recommended for children
- Although Sunshine Hotel appeals mainly to young couples, in its lively, fun atmosphere families with children can feel welcome, too.
- Children should be under parental supervision at all times, especially around the swimming pools.
- Power supply notes
- There's a backup generator
- WiFi is available throughout and cellphone signals come and go.
- TV & radio
- There are no TVs or radio here.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Most of the hotel's water is supplied from the village's public supply, but drinking water is supplied in bottles (one 250ml bottle per guest per day free of charge).
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The hotel has a first-aid kit and there is a hospital in a nearby village.
Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity from the Sunshine Hotel (see the Information from the owner). As with any potentially dangerous activity, it's vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a quad bike.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- Sunshine Hotel is gated with guards on the front gate. There are also 24-hour guards on the beach.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are available in the main areas. The hotel also has a pump that takes water from the swimming pool that can be used in an emergency.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is available for an extra charge, this is around $2 per item.
- The hotel accepts Tanzanian shillings, US dollars, GB pounds and euros, and will offer an exchange service if they have enough cash.
- Accepted payment on location
- MasterCard, Amex and Visa are accepted here but a 5% commission will be added.
Other lodges in East Coast Zanzibar
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Pongwe Beach Hotel
Pongwe Beach Hotel is comfortable, good-value, family-friendly beach lodge, with a lovely pool, secluded beach and good food.
Matemwe Lodge is one of our favourite beach lodges. With only 12 cottages right on the edge of the old coral cliff, it is personal and relaxing.
Shooting Star Lodge
Shooting Star Lodge has a friendly atmosphere and a beautiful infinity pool, sitting above a stunning stretch of beach on Zanzibar's east coast.
Mnemba Island Lodge
Mnemba is a private island resort with 11 chalets, fringed by some of the best coral reefs in the Zanzibar area.
Matemwe Retreat is one of the most exclusive lodges on Zanzibar, with four split-level villas each with their own veranda, sun terrace, plunge pool.
Sunshine Marine Lodge
Sunshine Marine (sister of Sunshine Hotel) is located in a secluded part of the east coast, with a first-rate, in-house dive centre.
Green & Blue
The pretty Green and Blue hotel has a picture-postcard setting on a sweep white sand in the Matemwe area of Zanzibar’s north-east coast.
Formally known as Matemwe Beach Village, Zanzibar Pearl Boutique Hotel is one of the newest properties on the island
Matemwe Beach House
Located on Zanzibar's stunning east coast, Matemwe Beach House offers private accommodation for friends or families travelling together.
Melia Zanzibar is a very large resort hotel on Zanzibar’s east coast and is well equipped for business and leisure trips.
Tulia Zanzibibar Beach Resort is a 16-room boutique beach hotel that opened in 2016 on Zanzibar's east coast.