Reviews of Echo Beach Hotel
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
idyllic first impression of Zanzibar
Welcome was lovely - friendly and genuine. Staff were unfailingly helpful, smiley and chatty. Loved the dogs and the donkey as we are animal people but would understand if others not so keen. Trips organised for us were perfect - the team asked what we wanted to do and picked up very accurately on the style we liked - for instance, when we asked to go on a boat they accurately assessed that we wanted a local, low key experience rather than going out with a big group in a more commercial style. Good choice of excellent food and wines.
Lovely surprise of fizz and cake to celebrate my birthday the day we arrived. Room very comfortable and spacious. Lighting maybe a bit dark for chillling with a good book - but not to the point of being a big problem. Lovely big bathroom - water didn't drain very well in wet room area, so bathroom flooded quite easily but once we got the hang of it, it didn't matter.
Great massage and pedicure. Located in quiet part of Zanzibar, so not lots to do for those who want lots of entertainment but absolutely perfect for us. Overall, we couldn't fault the place and have already been recommending it to friends.
Echo Beach Hotel review
Nice chalets, fabulous quiet beach, excellent food, fresh fish every day, & nice staff.Read more about the whole beach holiday
Echo Beach Hotel review
Beautiful location with an almost deserted beach & ten or twelve cottages with a secluded feel.
Very well appointed. Nice pool & excellent food with fresh fish every day. Snorkelling quite near by.
Disappointing Echo Beach Hotel
We were both very disappointed with this hotel which lacked the warm and friendly feeling of the two game reserves. I think we should not have chosen a location so far from a local village as we felt totally "captive" once at Echo Beach. Neither of us dive and I was worried about being able to get back into a boat if we had chosen to snorkel so things were a bit restricted for us.
Part of the problem was the fact that there was no where really comfy and shady to sit and relax. The swimming pool was in glaring sunshine all the time and the loungers were not very good. There were only 3 other guests at the hotel which didn't add to the atmosphere. We couldn't fault the food and we found the room, which was large, was very basic with nowhere comfortable to sit.
The owner was not surprised when we said we were leaving early and she didn't charge us for luch or our drinks. She did mention she would make a refund and we sincerely hope she will.
Poor start to Echo Beach stay
We chose Echo Beach expecting from the Expert Africa website a small, simple beach hotel with rooms that "look out to the sea (all have a sea view), and encircle the lodge's swimming pool... stone tile floors polished to a gleam ... and high-quality fabrics ...including lovely cotton bed linen, silk cushions and fluffy towels in the bathroom."
However, since the blurb on Echo Beach was written, new bandas have been built behind the row around the pool. The view is of the airconditioning unit of the bungalow in front (or the building site to one side). The concrete floor was sandy underfoot (we later found out our room had been used to store dive gear & had obviously not been swept), the linen was thin with the matress visible through it and the towels were neither fluffy nor matching.
Immediately that we were shown this room we complained that it was not acceptable. Manager Sue was not present, Andrew was behind the bar smoking but disinterested and totally unwilling to help. It was left to an unsmiling reception lady to tell us that they hadn't been expecting us (apparently some paperwork that they normally get to confirm the booking had not arrived?) and that the new banda was the only room they had left. She suggested that it might be possible to move to a pool-side banda the following day when another group departed.
We accepted this (because after phoning Expert Africa, the only other option was to change hotels for an additional cost of £500) and after meeting with Sue the next morning we were able to arrange to move to a pool-side banda.
Food at Echo Beach was pleasant, local staff friendly and the pool clean. Sue made an effort to mingle with guests and was an excellent host. The beach in front, as we expected, was not suitable for swimming although an excursion to Mnemba atoll was worthwhile for the stunning coral and tropical fish.
Had we been accomodated in one of the original bandas, Echo Beach would have essentially met our expectations. However the poor welcome and low quality of our original room took the shine off what would otherwise have been a pleasant, if unremarkable, stay.
Echo Beach Hotel review
Lovely spot, very friendly staff & excellent food. Beer reasonable price, snorkling from Breezes very good.
Room just right although bush babies trashed the cushions.
Echo Beach Hotel review
We had very high expectations of Echo Beach and whilst we had a really nice relaxing time, there were a few things that didn't live up to them.
We were expecting to be put in one of the original bandas facing the sea, but when we arrived we were told that we would be staying in one of the newly-built ones behind the existing ones, which had no real view to speak of. The staff tried to dress it up by saying it was the nicest room in the hotel, but we felt they were over-compensating so we wouldn't complain. They said they were full for the entire week so we neglected to complain and didn't ask to be moved. The rooms were nicely furnished with a large comfy bed and mozzie net, but not on the cutting edge of design as the website makes out. There was also a constant smell of damp from the wet room.
We were also expecting great things from the food, only to be disappointed on many occassions. The blurb says that Andrew is French-trained, but not once did we see him in the kitchen. A lot of the meals were often luke-warm or cold, and mealtimes often seemed rushed - at most meals all three courses were completed within an hour. The waiting staff also require some further training. Whilst they are very friendly, every day I declined the fruit and my wife declined the eggs, we were made to feel very strange for doing so.
Overall the service was good, but not outstanding. It took the owner three days before he spoke to us and the warmth from the staff felt forced on occassions. That said they were still very friendly and accommodating, they just require a bit of extra training.
I don't want to focus too much on the negatives, as we did have a really nice time. The hotel is in a stunning location with an amazing beach and they do really try with the menu design - the delivery often let them down. Also, the original bandas looked lovely - if we were in one of them we would have been really happy.
If you're expecting five-star service, amazing food and ultimate luxury, this place probably isn't for you. However, if you're looking for a relaxing break in superb surroundings, nice accommodation and reasonable food, this is the place. Just make sure you know what room you will be put in before you arrive.
We spent 6 wonderful nights at Echo Beach and found it to be amazing. First off, the setting is unbelievable- we have traveled the world and we think that this is the best beach that we have ever seen. The sand is white, the water is turquoise and the beach is lined with palm trees - the best thing is that apart from a few local fishermen, the beach is deserted.
Andrew and Sue, the owners have done a wonderful job in creating this haven of tranquility. Nothing was too much for them- when we enquired about purchasing some Tanzanian jam that we had tried on safari (safari mix), the promtly went out and bought us some and refused to take any money for it. When we asked, at the last minute, about having dinner on the beach, they actually built us a cabana! They lent us a hairdryer, an adapter and even some jelly shoes for walking out to the reef.
The food is very good and they have an excellent selection of drinks (reasonably priced). My wife is a vegetarian and she felt very well looked after. You can eat in the restaurant, on the beach or on your own veranda. The staff are very friendly and gave us exceptional customer service. They even do your laundry free of charge!
The villa was beautiful, spotlessly clean with a huge bathroom and walk in shower which would have accomodated an entire rugby team! We particularly liked the huge, private veranda as well as the comfortable four poster bed.
My wife had a massage in the spa and declared it to be the best massage she has ever had. I did an introduction to scuba diving which was excellent and we hear they are in the process of setting up a dive shop on site. They can also arrange various excursions and transfers.
Everyone we met on safari and in Stonetown had heard of Echo Beach - it obviously has an excellent reputation. We were very sorry to have to leave and will definitely return.
Echo Beach Hotel review
Echo beach is in a beautiful spot with open access to the vast empty beach. It is relatively new and Sue and Andrew have created a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. They have had some staffing problems but they are continually working hard to improve this. The bandas are lovely and the gardens very pretty. This is a very quiet area and there are no activities or other facilities nearby so this is very much a chill out and relax place, however tours and activities can be arranged. The food was very good although we felt that some of the lunchtime menu dishes were rather small, more starter sized than main dish sized.Read more about the whole beach holiday
Beautiful setting, amazing empty white powder sand beach. Really nice resort, very tasetful and well layed out. We were in a brand new honeymoon bugalow which although was nice, had a few teething problems and had only been finished the day before. For example one problem was having no curtains on the windows which was not very private.
The food was ok though not of the standard we were expecting after the initial reviews. There was limited choice at breakfast and the menu was almost the same every few days. I had to send food back when it wasn't cooked and there was very little help with understanding my food allergy. Drinks were reasonably priced but food was a little expensive for what it was. In general the staff were friendly and helpful, although their english was quite limited. They seemed to be recieving little help or supervision and were always blamed for mistakes. This leads to our main concern with Echo Beach.
We were very unimpressed with the management and organisation at Echo Beach. When we arrived we were met by Lissa (?) who seemed to be a friend of Sue and Andrews but she didn't expalin what her role was. Sue was friendly and approachable but there seemed to be various problems with electricity, builders, court cases etc which meant she seemed quite distracted and stressed and openly admitted booking errors and problems with staff which didn't fill us with confidence. Andrew was unfriendly, sarcastic and if we approached him with a problem or issue he was very unhelpful, passed it in to Sue and would then just walk off. I had two pairs of shoes stolen from outside the bungalow. We had perhaps become a bit blaze as in previous resorts we had been told security was not an issue at all. This problem was not handled very well.
Echo beach has so so much potential and really is a stunning resort but needs to decide whether it is a 5* resort as it is claming or a more laid back, chilled out beach shack type place. Again, we did not think it gave a high class impression with the mamagers standing by the bar drinknig and chain smoking. We would recommend it as a nice holiday resort but for us and other honeymooners we spoke to we expected that little but more when it was our holiday of a lifetime.
We did diving at Breezes which was excellent both in staff amd equpiment and although the visibility was not as good as we had imaginged it was good diving. We organised a sunset dhow and swimming with dolphins through Sue and a local taxi driver. They were both very good but In hindsight although we were advised that he (Dini) was much cheaper than Fisherman Tours we are now concerned that the money was mainly going to him and not the locals who took us out. We booked a spice tour through Fisherman Tours which was excellent. We weren't expecting much but it was really interesting, the guide was excellent and a real character who had an excellent rapport with the locals. The young man who was accompanying us and gathering all the leaves and spices etc took us to his house which was a very humbling experience. So on reflection we perhaps should have booked all the trips through them although it does seem a long way for them to some from Stonetown.