Villa Bahati, Zanzibar
Set in the peaceful and original village Jambiani, Villa Bahati is located directly on the beach and has spacious private garden with sunbeds and hammock, perfect for relaxation and day-dreaming. According to the close relationship with Jambiani village and Zanzibar culture in general, the villa presents an exceptional 'local touch' and reflects the unique atmospheremore
Offensive - Jenny. Date of travel: Jun 2008
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I don't even know how to express in words the level of offense the owner of this hotel has caused in the village of Jambiani. This woman is a guest in this village welcomed in by the residents of Jambiani. Her hotel is located right next to the village primary school. Legend has it that this woman initially tried to buy the land on which the school sits to expand her hotel (offering to build them a new school somewhere else). The residents refused. So, her next step was to build a giant monstrosity of a cement wall closing herself off from the neighboring school and subsequently blocking the sea breeze that once flowed through the classrooms offering the students a bit of relief from the zanzibar heat. Now the primary students are forced to sit in their little ovens while her guests sit happily sipping their mango juice - free from the bother of those pesky little voices next door. How anyone can be so culturally insensitive is beyond me. how can someone be welcomed into another community only to turn around and insult those who welcomed you in the first place? Jambiani is THEIR village - not ours. the whole point of having a hotel located in a village setting is to get some sort of cultural experience. isn't it? Not to slap the villagers in the face and show them yet another ridiculous example of how selfish and inconsiderate westerners can be. it's embarrassing. I heard about this wall before seeing it, but was still not prepared for the sting i felt when i passed for the first time. I am insulted by this, my family is insulted, I can't even begin to imagine to what level the people of Jambiani are insulted. My family and I have taken the time to get to know some residents of this village and have spoken with them about this woman and her wall. I have yet to find a person with kind words about her. They shake their heads and say they don't understand. they say she is a bad person and wish she would leave, but as much as they want her gone they are powerless to evict her from the community (not that she's IN the community) All I can say to her is, shame on you.
Villa Bahati, Jambiani - Zanzibar : forget it - Rich. Date of travel: Jul 2006
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I’ve been working for several years in tourism market for big tour operators as a representative ( Maldives, Dominican Rep., Kenya, Cuba, Canary Islands, Egypt, Ibiza, Formentera, etc.). So I’ve learned and seen something (but still there’s much to learn) to make up a proper idea of the way this small hotel is run. Booking– the reservation was ok. I got in touch directly with the owner and I always received a prompt clear reply. The first emails have been likely replied by the owner’s husband, very kind and warm. I was asked to pay for my stay directly to the hotel, once there. Anyway I preferred to pay something in advance to have a sort of guarantee. Instead once I said I came from Italy, I was asked to pay at least the 50% of total stay price. It really sounded strange to me but anyway I made immediately a money transfer to their bank. Arrival – Before we took the flight I sent an email to the owner of Villa Bahati to remind her the flight code and expected time of arrival (9.50 am) in order to arrange the best way the trabsfer I requested. At the arrival in Zanzibar airport (9.30 am), we waited more than half an hour. No one showed up. I tried anyway to call the villa from the tourism office just outside the airport. No one replied! I decided then to take a taxi (10.15 am) and drive to the villa, thinking of a misunderstanding. As we arrived at the villa (around 11.30 ) , local staff seemed surprised to see us, the owner was not there, anyway we were given a welcome cocktail (just a glass of mango juice). We waited for some minutes then the owner came over and we talked about this misunderstanding. I thought I sent a wrong arrival time, she checked calling her local agent (I think) and she told me that he had been waiting for us for more than 1 hour at the airport and that I’d sent her 10.40 as arrival time. So I did apologise: high likely it was my mistake. I offered to pay anyway for the transfer even though we did not use it. By the way, once back in Italy I looked at my e-mails and I found out that I told her 9.50 am as arrival time in the latest e-mail (which she read and replied) while 10.40 am was mentioned in one of the first mails. It was not my fault then, and anyway, the flight code is just a means to check locally with the airport if the flight is on time or late in order to arrange the transfer in the most suitable way.... Briefing at the villa - few minutes after we arrived at the villa, got a shower, I had a briefing with the owner. I was given just few details about breakfast, lunch and dinner and so on. Before I left I was asked to pay right there the rest of money for the accomodation! Wow, I paid, but I wasn’t able to find a reason for that: is there something wrong with italians? Maybe she felt safer with all the money in her pocket .. Staying at the villa- Villa Bahati is an old villa between two brand new nicer villas just built by the owner. The core business are these two villas (Kikadini and Maroc). Guests here are mostly Scandinavian and the owner she takes much great care of them ( they pay much more... ). We spent one week in the Villa Bahati. There were other two french guests in house for 3 nights and scandinavian guests in Villa Kikadini for 2/3 nights. So we stayed longer than the others but we got less than the others. The owner seems not to like italians and to prefer only scandinavians. She is not able to deal with people, she is not warm nor kind, she does not how to run a business like this. She never stopped to ask if everything was ok , she never tried to start a conversation. Once all the guests went away (french and scandinavian and some friends of hers) she disappeared for two days. But she was just in Villa Maroc which is the next door villa ( just on the other side of the property wall). She completely forgot us! Then she showed up two days before we left to say “bye bye I have to go to the court in Stone Town?. I had to stop her because still I had to pay my bill. She took the money and went away. We remained alone in Villa Bahati. Alone, in the night time when the beach is completely dark, the staff is off, all the gates can easily be opened and everyone can enter the villa taking the stairs getting up to the terrace and then getting down to the patio and knock at your door. She went away, she did not leave us a telephone number or a name we could call in case we need help. I had to ask the chef if there was someone to look after the villa in the night time and I had to call some builders who were actually working on villa maroc to come as security, asking them to sleep upstairs on the terrace until morning. Moreover I had no confirmation for the transfer back to the airport which were scheduled at 6.00 am. I had thus to alert one of these builders to find me a car in case no one had showed up the day of departure. For this kind of stay we paid 700 US $!!!! Very, very bad!!! Spot & sea - the villa is set on a really wonderful spot. Lush nature with coconut trees, white sand, blue to green sea, blue sky and lovely warm breeze. And peace, a lot of peace. The best place to relax if you want to cut yourself off from caos and massive all inclusive villages. Anyway behind Villa Bahati there’s a local village with its own life (jambiani). The sea in front of the villa suffered from seawed plantations ( local women at low tide come from the village to pick up seegrass which they sell, once dried, to cosmetic industry). The first 100 meters or more are full of seagrass, and you need to go through it to reach a light blue lagoon before the reef. With the low tide is a nice walk , with the high tide and rough sea is quite hard. But after all this is not really a big problem. Rooms – rooms are quite simple and poor. But windows are small and mosquito nets are fixed to the shutters and not to the windows(??). So when it’s really hot you cannot open the shutters whitout getting a lot of mosquitos and gekos from outside. In the night time electricity can stop in the village: the fan stops and you’d better go upstairs on the terrace and sleep outside!!! If you decides to go to Villa Bahati take the front sea room (blue room) at least you’ll have some wind blowing in . The rear rooms are too hot and get no wind at all. Service and restaurant – the staff is set to match first scandinavian guests’ needs in kikadini. They come first, you come later. If you sit for your breakfast in the morning, you can even wait 40 minutes before all the staff come back from the other villa and start to cook for you. They are always running high and low from villa bahati and villa kikadini.. There’s one chef, one waiter, three girls making the rooms and cleaning the garden. that’s all but if the villas are full, you’ll wait or you’d better move to the next hotel. If you take B&b, dinner is 20 us$ for each one : you have a starter, the main course and the dessert. One day there was no wind at all, wet air, mosquitos, sweating all the time we were given for dinner a hot green peas soup, and (even though I asked to eat fish for all my stay) lamb legs and a thin little fruit stick. Not enough to call a dinner. If you go to the next door eco resort “ Casa del Mar?, which I strictly recommend, you can have a good choice of salads, rice, fish, meat, fried chips, and fresh fruit juice (mango, pineapple, papaya, passion fruit, coconut, banana) all served with a good touch and taste and the portions are more than fair. For 20 Us$ you eat a lot in two. Another night coming back from some fresh fruit drinks taken in “Casa del mar?, we found the owner (silvya) standing by the main gate: “where have you been?? she asked. She reminded me my mother when I was quite young. I replied : “ to Casa del mar for a drink..? “the dinner is ready!!? she said disappointed and then she changed definitely behaviour and disappeared for two days. Not enough to say a good host, not enough to say a good owner, not enough to say a hotel or even a guest house. Do not waste your money and time unless you are scandinavian. This lady does not really know what means welcoming people and run the business of a hotel and the villa is definitely not for italians or for who likes warm people, good food, and likes details...
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