Mtoni Marine

By 09:04

Planning a trip to Zanzibar the day before didn’t leave me with much options for accommodation. Also considering that I was strapped for cash, I just took what the travel agent offered in terms of flights and somewhere to stay. In hindsight, I was quite pleased with what I was given.

While checking in at the Mtoni Marine, a spiced tea was served as a welcome drink. I happen to think I know quite a bit about spiced teas but this was by far the best I’ve ever tasted. It was served piping hot in a little cup and the hotel reception staff were more than happy to pour more for us when we wanted.

The first thing we did after checking in to our room was check out the cosy beach at the hotel. There’s a pretty mangrove type area where big trees were growing in the waters. A pier separates the mangrove area to the rest of the hotel’s beach which is safer to swim in. I love piers and walking as far in as possible. Watching the depth of the waters and how the waves crash against the stones on the pier is absolutely breath taking. For a three star hotel, it is definitely value for money to be able to stay on the beach.

For lunch and supper, we dined at the hotel’s sports bar. I must say that the food takes super long to prepare. There’s free wifi so you can use the time to catch up with friends and family. Expect to wait an hour though – I call it Swahili time – but the food is definitely worth the wait. Zanzibari food is similar to Durban Indian food but it’s much more mildly spiced. The restaurant only takes cash or adds the bill to your room if you prefer to pay by credit card. They actually have quite a cool tipping policy. If you pay cash, the waiters get the tip and if you pay by credit card, the tips are settled amongst other hotel staff. I like it as most hotel staff are paid similar rates yet waiters get all our tips and not the other staff that helped prepare our meals or make our stay pleasant.

Back at the hotel room, it was a simple and clean room. The bed and chairs weren’t that comfy and the balcony was a waste because there were bugs waiting to come into the room. What the room lacked in terms of luxury, it made up for in d├ęcor. There were woven laundry bags and hangers made from some sort of leaves hanging in the room. Fresh flowers and leaves were placed on the pillows and elsewhere in the room which extends the atmosphere of the environment outside into the room. Outside the hotel buildings, there was tons of greenery. The palm trees and other plants and flowers growing in abundance kept in theme with the island.

Breakfast was served in a little lapa on the beach. Even if breakfast isn’t your thing, just gazing into the horizon across to Prison Island is mesmerising and enough to start your day in a happy mood.

The hotel can organise tours in and around Zanzibar. As tour “companies” come a dime a dozen in Zanzibar with lower prices than what the hotel offers, you can negotiate with the hotel on price. It probably won’t be as cheap as what the man on the street can offer but you can pay less for a professional tour.

Overall, Mtoni Marine was great for my 24 hours that I had to spend in Zanzibar. I would definitely return if I had to stay for a short while however for a relaxing beach holiday, I’d probably choose a more luxurious hotel or resort with a secluded beach.

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