Originally we had booked to stay 8 nights in Kinazi Upepo, until a few days before our departure we discovered Kinazi was closed and had been taken over by Cristal Resort which near enough next door. So we were booked into Cristal for our stay.
It probably has the best setting of the hotels/guest houses in Paje, with the palms and view of the Indian ocean from our terrace.
We stayed in an Eco Bungalow for US$20 a night. The bungalow was a wooden bandas with a thatched palm roof and coral wall which separates the bathroom from the bedroom. It is very basic and almost like camping, but it was the best experiance. They also have stone bungalows available if the thought of that doesn't appeal to you.
At night you sleep in a mosquito net and the sound the of waves, the wind in the palms. Night service comes round at 6 in the evening with coil and to lower the nets. Mozzies are a problem there especially at that time of year so I reccomend spraying yourself with repellent before bed.
We stayed during the islands blackout and although Cristal has a generator this is often turned off during parts of the day and there are the occasional blackouts, but you have to go with the flow and remember where you are. We had other minor problems too - ants in the bathroom, no water and electric shocks from the shower head. But whenever there was a problem the staff would be straight round to fix it.
We arrived at the end of the rainy season and many other resorts we closed, so there were no other choices of restaurants. The food at Cristal was good and had a choice of 3 mains, which changed every night. Breakfast is included - fruit, pancakes, eggs, toast and you can pay more for extras. The average price for lunch was around TSH6000 and TSH9000 for evening main courses per person.
The place is very very quiet at night with most people disappearing to bed around 9-10. We were hoping to stay at Kinazi which had a reputation of being quite lively. When this re-opens (under the new management) I hope it continues as it was, to give people a choice of an evening.
They have a pool which is handy at low tide and it is still developing the resort with more bungalows. They offer trips, snorkelling, diving and transfers (although transfers were on the expensive side).
The staff were great and was good getting to know them. It was a great experience staying there and was very sad to leave. I would defintely recommend it.
We stayed 3 sleepless nights in the over priced Jungle Bungalow which had a disgraceful bed on the top floor. There are two of these bungalows and these are the dearest rooms available yet they are in the worst positons next to the bar area whch music thumps until early in the morning which isn't exactly relaxing!
The staff are very rude and unhelpful. They pay no attention to guests needs and are more interested in there own daily socialising. The Italian owner has a chilled out attitude which unfortunately has come across on all facets of the business with no one really giving the staff a sense of direction to look after their guests.
In general the place needs some money spent on it and if you are looking for any Zanzibar Culture/Food you wont find it here. We spoke to other guests there who were also very dissatisfied with the hotel and staff and some of the guests moved to other acomodation. Pricing for Food and Alcohol is expensive and there are nice bars just a short stroll down from here.
There are very few qualities to mention however the Pizzas are tasty and the massages are quite good. The beach is also nice but isn't always available to swim in properly.
Best Beach Getaway: “Kinazi Upepo” Arguably Paradise! Azure waters, palm fringed white coral beaches, no beach boys. Restaurant, bungalows and bandas right on the beach. Restaurant offers good but pricy seafood. Only place on the beach that offers happy hour. At night all you here is the sound of the surf.
Bandas are $25US and Bungalows are $50US per night.
We looked at beaches in Jambiani and didn't compare to Paje. We didn't go north to Bweju, but the word is, that this is the best beach no matter what the Lonely Planet says.
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