Zanzibar Hotels

Matemwe Retreat

The Matemwe Retreat represents the height of luxury on the north-east coast of Zanzibar, just north of the village of Matemwe, the resort offers a choice of only 3 removed and private villas with untainted ocean views. Though the Lodge is linked to the neighbouring Beach Bungalows (also part of the Asilia chain), it remains removed from them. Each villa is served by a personal butler, dining is in-house. The Matemwe Retreat is tailor-made for those looking for complete privacy and luxury escape.

Accommodation at Matemwe Retreat

Spread over two floors the villas are spacious and light. The lower ground floor boasts the master bedroom and the large en-suite bathroom with large bath and double basin. There is also a private veranda with hammock and couch. On the top floor of each villa is a private terrace with plunge-pool and sun and shade decks. The villas share the private beach which they overlook.

The Matemwe retreat is linked by a wooden pathway to the Matemwe Beach Bungalows (of which it is a sister resort). This means that guests of the retreat can use the pool/bar or even dine in the restaurant if they desire a change.

What’s on offer at Matemwe Retreat

Food at the retreat is first class and varied. Preferences can be discussed with your personal butler. Drinks are also top quality. Butlers are very friendly and will go out of their way to make sure your stay is memorable, adding their own special touches to your holiday. The villas are kept very clean and the lodge itself is well maintained and commodious. Though on rare occasions your villa may be visited by wildlife such as birds and bush-babies, so long as you avoid antagonising or petting them this should not be a problem (in most cases they are more scared of you than you of them).

Matemwe is famed for its white sands. The beaches are gloriously unspoilt in this region. However, the resort is not completely removed from the pest real life and you may encounter local fishermen. Swimming on the beaches depends heavily on the tides, but this is not a problem if one times one’s beach trips well and you can always relax by the pool when the tide is right out.

Though the main allure of Matemwe Retreat is relaxation, they will happily help organise diving and snorkelling as well as other water-sports and boat trips to neighbouring island Mnemba Atoll, famed for its diving and reefs. Trips to the Matemwe Village can also be arranged for those who want to experience something of Zanzibari life. The hotel will also happily help organise excursions to Stone Town or Spice Tours as well as Jozani Forest or Prison Island trips. It is important to be ready to encounter a very different lifestyle from the luxury one on offer at the retreat on these trips. While the ocean, the wildlife and the beaches are idyllic on the island, life is not always so. You are likely to be approached by touts and to see many scenes which, by Western standards, reflect real poverty.

How to get to Matemwe Retreat

The Matemwe Retreat is approximately one hour from Stone Town by road. The drive is mainly on smooth tarmac roads, but for the last twenty minutes may be a rougher ride. The approach to the resort can appear unnervingly rough, but don’t be alarmed.

From Stone Town or the airport you can take a taxi or hire a car. There is also the number 18 daladala from Stone Town (a Toyota Hiace mini-bus used by locals), but this is only recommended for those with a strong constitution as the journey will be far longer and much less comfortable.

The poverty of the areas that one drives through to reach the island’s resorts can be disquieting. Locals may be seen hanging to the back of daladalas and stray animals often roam the roads. Though the pockets of luxury created by the tourist industry may seem hypocritical, the work of development funds and eco-tourism projects supported by resorts like Matemwe ensure that the locals reap some of the benefits of tourism’s financial gains.

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