Intimate, stylish, luxurious… Matemwe Retreat is the perfect place for honeymooners and couples. Offering oodles of wow-factor, it’s one of our top picks for romantic travellers seeking something very special on Zanzibar.
Matemwe Retreat is owned and run by Asilia. This company operates a number of impressive properties across Kenya and Tanzania, including Zanzibar. The retreat’s sister properties are Matemwe Lodge and Matemwe Beach House. Matemwe Retreat, the most sophisticated property of the trio, is ideal for a romantic break or even a honeymoon. Accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, and a laundry service. Please note, the retreat is closed from 3rd April to 31st May every year.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The retreat is accessed via an hour and 15 minutes’ road transfer from Zanzibar’s international airport. Its four villas are situated upon low cliffs on the north-eastern coast of the island, nicely secluded amongst palm trees.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT MATEMWE RETREAT:
There are four villas, spaced approximately 50 metres apart within palm tree woods to the north of the Matemwe Lodge site. All villas are made out of stone and local materials, so they blend beautifully with their natural surroundings. An ornate Zanzibari door leads into the ground-floor space, which is taken up with the lounge and dining areas (for more information, see next paragraph), as well as the bedroom. In the bedroom, you’ll find a king-size bed with mosquito netting and bedside lighting. Additional amenities include air conditioning, a fan, a safe, Wi-Fi, and a hairdryer. The en-suite facilities comprise flush toilet, twin washbasins, a shower, and a sunken bath positioned next to louvred doors so you can admire your view while enjoying a sumptuous soak surrounded by candles! Both the bedroom and the bathroom feature a palette of mainly natural tones that casts a golden glow all around you.
As mentioned, the lounge and dining areas of every villa at Matemwe Retreat are also positioned on the ground floor. Specifically, the lounge is situated on a deck, and it includes a private bar used for morning breakfast and evening cocktails. Adjacent to this space, there’s the dining area. A private butler is on hand to serve all your meals and drinks, and also to arrange activities for you. Of course, you might be tempted to spend all your time on your private rooftop terrace, which is located on the upper floor of your villa. Accessed via a spiral staircase from the bedroom, the terrace offers another comfortable seating space, a plunge pool, and breathtaking vistas towards Mnemba Island! Throughout your stay, you’re welcome to visit Matemwe Lodge to make use of the property’s restaurant, bar, spa, gardens, and two swimming pools. You can also pop to Matemwe’s beach, although you might prefer the private cove farther up the coast, which is reserved for guests of Matemwe Retreat.
ACTIVITIES AT MATEMWE RETREAT:
Guests opting to get active during their stay here can enjoy the same exhilarating variety of activities offered to travellers staying at Matemwe Lodge. Here’s the list in full (with some being an extra cost):
Diving excursions – Mnemba Island, opposite the property, is merely a 30 minutes’ boat ride away. If you’re new to diving, you can take courses at Zanzibar’s PADI dive centre before embarking on an underwater adventure! There’s a great range of dive sites to explore, from gently sloping walls and peaceful gardens to turtle reefs and substantial drops of up to 50 metres. And all sites are home to a veritable treasure trove of marine life, not least vibrant reef fish, turtles, and dolphins.
Snorkelling– At low tide, you can snorkel just off Matemwe’s beach, in the coral reef and rock pools. The activity is also available around Mnemba Island.
Kayaking– Why not hire kayaks and paddle around the island’s scenic north-eastern coastline? You’ll have lovely vistas over sparkling seas and serene lagoons.
Dhow trips– A dhow is a traditional Zanzibari sailboat. Guests can climb aboard and set sail on the ocean, perhaps doing a bit of birdwatching during the journey.
Reef walks– This activity can be combined with snorkelling. Matemwe’s beach at low tide is thrilling to observe, due to its astonishing assortment of marine creatures.
Stone Town tours– Former capital of the spice trade, Stone Town is the old part of Zanzibar City. You can visit all sorts of historical buildings, such as former sultans’ palaces, mosques, churches, and forts. The town boasts interesting museums and bustling markets too!
Spice tours– Culture fans will also appreciate learning about the history of spice on Zanzibar, as will anyone intrigued by the use of spices in cooking. You’ll look around a spice plantation in the company of a knowledgeable guide, and often there are chances to sample the wares following the tour.
Local village visits– Finally, you can also add a little culture to your beach holiday by visiting Matemwe village. The locals will be happy to show you around their homes.