The DoubleTree Zanzibar Nungwi Hotel Review is part of the South America & Africa Points Heist Trip Report.
Getting There: It’s $30 from Stone Town. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. It was $35 on the way back to the airport as the driver changed the rate during the drive by putting his boss on the phone. He wanted $40 but I agreed to $35. That made the ride uncomfortable.
It takes two hours to get to the DoubleTree because of traffic and increasingly terrible terrain as you get closer to the hotel. I would certainly not recommend renting a car and driving there, especially at night.
After getting through the bumpy trails that wind through this village, the DoubleTree reveals itself. It is situated right on the beach with many restaurants and bars within walking distance.
While the PH Zanzibar was beautiful, I have to commend the good folks at the DoubleTree for their impeccable hospitality. On the second night, there was a HHONORS cocktail hour where snacks and drinks were served. I had a glass of champagne and was going to leave. The hostess stopped me and said that Paul, the head of guest relations, wanted to meet me before I left. I thought I was caught red handed for stealing towels (joking). He actually just wanted to introduce himself and make sure that I was enjoying my stay. I can’t say enough good things about the service at this hotel.
The room was standard but we were upgraded to an ocean view room the second night.
The Hotel Itself
After being on the road for weeks, it was nice to be in a peaceful, isolated resort.
If you take a day trip to the beach and happen to arrive during low tide, you may pronounce that John Denver is full of shit, i.e., this beach is not beautiful. During low tide, there’s literally no water making the beach look like a disaster zone. I walked and walked until I finally reached the clear water as I did not believe that the tide could ever bring enough water to get these boats to float.
Hours later, the tide did come in and it reached the break wall of the hotel. It was crazy to witness the before and after. I spent my day in the water just in case this phenomenon was a one time occurrence. The next day, the same bleak beach reappeared, followed by beautiful water hours later, culminating with a beautiful sunset.
I didn’t go to other beaches on the island because this one was plenty beautiful. It doesn’t beat out Boracay or Seychelles, but it’s up there with Mauritius.
Besides Maldives where the water was outside my bungalow, I prefer the pool to the ocean. I spent most of my time in the pool chatting it up with people from around the world and drinking. This was more of a Cancun hotel experience than an isolated, romantic island experience. Like Cancun, there was a soundtrack that repeated daily. The one that forever will remind me of this place is Busy Signal’s Missing You. Who, apart from Dylan, can write better lyrics?
Gurl you’re all I need
And I’m always missing you
Miss you miss you
Miss you miss you baby
Miss you miss you Miss you miss you
I need your tenderness
I can’t resist you
Miss you miss you
Miss you miss you baby
Me miss you miss you miss you
Warning: This may be the worst music video of all time.
To All Include Or Not
As a Hilton Gold member, I received free breakfast. I had the option to upgrade to all inclusive for $60/day per person. This included a lunch buffet, snacks, a dinner buffet, and all the Safari beers and standard cocktails I could drink.
The first day, I didn’t bother with the all inclusive. I ate next door at Gerry’s Bar and had a fantastic burger. I paid $4 a beer at the resort and had dinner at a terrible restaurant on the beach called Waves. The expenditures for the day reached $120. For convenience, I decided to upgrade for the final two days. While the buffets were decent and I drank more than my fair share of drinks, I would not recommend the all inclusive. I felt like a retiree on a cruise ship, eating at scheduled times. I felt like a blob, eating just to eat. The food was good but it’s no Keekorok!
On the day I checked out, I went back to Gerry’s for a fish wrap and more specialty drinks. This solidified my belief that all inclusive is not the way to go. All inclusive for drinks for the fun of hanging out in the pool’s swim up bar might be worth it, but most hotels don’t offer a solely drunk man’s package.
If you get cabin fever from the all inclusive life and it happens to be a Saturday night, take a taxi to Kendwa Rocks, a nightclub on Kendwa beach that stays open till the early morning. The outside bar plays music until 2:30AM. At that time, an indoor nightclub opens until the last guest leaves.
I spent 120k Hilton points for four nights here. I think three would have been sufficient given TPOL’s Travel Philosophy, but for those that love doing nothing, more may be appropriate because of the beach, sunsets, and service. Looking back, maybe I could have One More Night.
Warning: More amazing lyrics to follow: