“Affordable, laid-back luxury on one of the most idyllic palm-fringed beaches imaginable”
The rooms are fairly typical of Zanzibar beach hotel rooms, with whitewashed walls, mosaic floors and beds carved from Mninga and Mvule trees. Interior decoration isn’t the strongest point of the resort, but all rooms are clean and pleasant, and new guests can expect amazing floral decorations on their beds.
Each room has a private terrace, with a mosaic floor and handmade wooden chairs or loungers - the ideal place to sit and watch the ocean, which is just 20 metres away. There are 13 Beachfront Cottages, 4 Sea View Suites which have their own plunge pool, and 3 Garden Cottages, which are slightly cheaper and don’t have sun loungers. And although the cottages tend to share an adjoining wall with one neighbour, they still feel totally private.
The ensuite bathrooms are are more Moroccan in style, with earthy red walls and a walk-in hot-water shower. The only caveat is that the hotel uses brackish water to avoid depleting the freshwater table, so you do feel a bit salt-encrusted after a few days.
The food is one of the highlights at Pongwe. Meals are served in a big palm-thatched building overlooking the beach, with lots of sofas covered in African fabrics. On arrival, guests are given a glass of juice here - ours was mango and ginger.
Kick-start a day in paradise with breakfast on your private terrace. Linger over fresh fruit salad or a cooked English/American as the sun warms up. The other meals follow a set menu formula, but with more leeway than at other hotels. Lunch, for example, allows guests to choose from a range of dishes including bacon and feta cheese salad, tuna nicoise, steamed crab claw with rice and tomato sauce and fruit platter.
Dinner is 3 set courses, and guests can choose how many of these they want. Our menu was spicy pumpkin soup, grilled king prawns with spicy potatoes and vegetables, then chocolate gateau. Once a week there is live entertainment from a local Jambo trio.
If you want the chef to rustle up a particular dish for you, they are happy to do so with some advance notice. The bar also stocks some really good South African wines and Spanish cava.
Children are welcome but there are no babysitting facilities and no special children's play area. The hotel can provide cots and highchairs at no extra cost.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking