Hotel Matlai is an interesting property. If you’re not bothered by the quality of your beach then Matlai is a cool boutique beach hotel and excellent value. It has just 4 rooms, all right on the beach with unobstructed sea views. The management team have made it their aim to break the mould somewhat, with an small outdoor cinema, boules court, beach volleyball court, and butlers accessible by mobile phones. It’s just a shame about the beach, which is half rock, half sand.
Hotel Matlai - The Details
Hotel Matlai sits on the South-eastern coast of Zanzibar, an area that already has tens of beach-front properties. As a result, Hotel Matlai, newly built as of 2012, has been forced onto a less than impressive stretch of beach. But to many, some of us in the office included, this isn’t the issue that it might be for others. The hotel has plenty of places to sit and relax, from an enormous hammock swung up next to the main building to the large balconies outside each room. The pool, lying between and beneath the 4 rooms, also affords an unobstructed view of the beach and sea.
The rooms themselves are large and well-designed. The style is a modern take on classic-Zanzibar, with French doors connecting each room to its lovely view of the beach and sea. The bathrooms are impressive and semi-open, with the two ground floor rooms having a view of the sea from the comfort of their bath tubs.
This desire to keep things relaxed and indoor-outdoor continues from the pool and bathrooms to the beach bar and restaurant. Both sit right on the beach and the food is excellent. Guests have the option of taking the chef’s suggestion for the evening or they can eat whatever they want. From vegetarian pizza to a full English, they can do it all. To order, guests are given a mobile phone with which they can contact the waiters. This is of course not to everyone’s taste but it is a fun take on an old-fashioned idea.
Being such a small property, the young management team end up feeling more like friends than anything else. There is very much a do-what-you-feel-like atmosphere. If you feel like lying in a hammock all day – you can. If you want to do a full days diving – that can be arranged. It’s a pleasant vibe at a small but fun property.