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“Spectacular...but things to bear in mind”

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Diamonds Star of the East
Ranked #11 of 17 Hotels in Nungwi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 8 May 2012

There is no getting away from the fact that this is truly a five star hotel. The food was wonderful, the villas are huge and the services on offer are immense. To top it off it is set in a stunning location and is as close to paradise as you can ever get.

Having said all this, there are a number of things that you may want to keep in mind before you arrive. The "butlers", as nice as they are, rarely leave you alone. A number of times when we left the resort to explore the island we were greeted with such questions on our return as "where have you been?" or "why would you want to leave?" or "we've been looking for you". There is a constant undertone that you are being carefully watched, not for sinister purposes but to ensure that should you squeeze out a bead of sweat from your temple, someone will be on hand with a cool towel and a bottle of water before it gets to your chin.

Sadly it would also seem that the hotel does not, despite visitors paying (justifiably) enormous sums to stay at the hotel, pay its staff the minimum wage. This is actually the norm in Zanzibar and the mainland, but it means that butlers and service staff are always trying to do "extras" for you. My wife believed this was out of pure kindness but I suspect it was always to look for a tip and can add to a certain claustraphobic feeling which is ironic given the secluded nature of the resort.

The hotel does not employ Zanzibaris but rather people from the mainland. The reason, the staff say, is that locals reject the tourist boom in the island and because of their religion are not comfortable with bikini clad women and free flowing alcohol. This is categorically not true. We spoke to a number of Zanzibaris who would relish the opportunity to work in a place like Star of the East. I suspect the employment of mainlanders has come about through an agreement between the owners and the politicians in an attempt to smooth over some of the cracks in the union, though it would appear it is just making things worse.

Finally there was a corporate party that visited the sister hotel (Gemma Dell'Est - which is within the same complex) during our stay. We were forewarned about this and the hotel provided a wonderful evening at the Stars of the East restaurant so that they could use our beach for an event. This was all fine. However, the next evening, we were walking along the beach and to our horror found it littered with beer bottle tops and cigarette buds. Even after informing the manager we were still picking stuff out of the sand a few days later. Equally on the last day of our honeymoon the party were allowed to play dance music at full blast from their beach, which is immediately adjacent, and totally spoiled the serenity of our last day. I would advise not to vist Stars of the East if there is a corporate party on at Gemma Dell'Est.

These are just points to bear in mind but overall it was a fantastic holiday, with fantastic staff in a breathtaking setting.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank winnebago13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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90 - 94 of 178 reviews

Reviewed 7 January 2012

After a wonderful safari we were delighted to spend several days at the Zanzibar Star of the East. Our Villa (Star of India) was very comfortable, and well appointed. The level of service we received across the board, was top shelf. We all enjoyed the lovely beach and the daily afternoon volleyball games. The food and beverage at Ocean Blue was amazing, and the chef was very willing to prepare kid friendly dishes for our daughters (14 and 11 yrs.) when they were looking for something other than his tasty multi-course dinners. Finally, Sabine, the Rooms Division Manager, was so thoughtful and took great care of us thru our entire stay. We can't wait to come back and visit all of our dear friends!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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6  Thank Ketch77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2011

We arrived on mondaymorning after our wedding on saturday. Tired after the party and then the long flight we were welcomed in our hotel by a vriendly lady Sabines who showed us the way to our villa....We never felt so alive again. It's amasing what we saw; a very large bedroom with flatscreen tv, an extra tv-room, bathroom with in and outdoor shower, a butler entrance. Outdoor a very large garden with big covered terrace and of course a nice swimmingpool. And all that was totally private. Nobody can see us and we don't see our neighbours. It is really perfect. Above the accommodation we have a 24 butler service, very friendly and helpfull, everything you ask for is realised by them. There is also a private beach at the sea, only for the villa-guests. Looks like paradise. And then the food...everyday breakfast, either served in the restaurant or on your terrace. Four course lunch and diner, prepared by an european chef. Really enormously delicious. His preparations look like paintings and are really excellent. This restaurant (and chef) deserves a star! If you have any special request, the chef will prepare it for you. One night we have a private dinner on the beach and he also prepared our lobster. Words are not enough to describe what we had here. It's a pity that we had to leave after one week. This is the perfect spot for honeymoon. We surely will come back! Thanks to all the staff who made our honeymoon perfect

Room Tip: ask for villa number 4, it has an indoor jacuzzi. Not all villa have an indoor jacuzzi
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank alainchristoph
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2011

We have not long returned from the Star of the East where we stayed for our Honeymoon. We really can not fault the place in any way..... The food was to die for, the staff were very helpful, the villas were really lovely and to an extremely high standard with some nice features. The private pool was a real luxury for us and enjoyed the outside under cover area when it was raining as it was still so warm.

The butler service was a nice touch but it was never too intrusive.

The beach and sea were truly breath taking!

We had a massage in the spa which was also lovely and left us feeling even more relaxed than we already were - if at all possible.

We did try food at the Gemma Dell Est one evening in the Pavillion Restaurant but have to say it was a bit disappointing but i think this may have been because we were being so spoilt at our restaurant! We also ate at the pizzeria one night and that was nice and a romantic setting on the beach front.

If you are looking for a romantic holiday or honey moon, staying in amazing accommodation in spectacular surroundings you can not go far wrong with the Star of the East, we would return in a shot!

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Chris T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 October 2011

After a perfect safari in Selous (see my review of Mivumo River Lodge), we spent the remaining 10 days of our honeymoon in Star of the East. It was incredibly good and we didn't regret it for one moment! The whole experience was so overwhelming that it is hard to describe it in words.

The rooms are very large (it are actually villas, not just rooms) with a very nice outside area where you can relax in the jacuzzi, have a drink or meal and enjoy the shade or the sun (depending on your mood and the weather). There is also a swimming pool with a small beach close to the restaurant, which no one seemed to use, so we had it all to ourselves. We also spent time at the private beach (it is separated from the beach of the guests of Gemma dell' Est) in front of the ocean so we could swim and walk along the beach.

The food at the restaurant was very good with lots of choices in the menu. The only "negative" thing is that it is too much (four courses for lunch and for dinner), so after a few days we often had a snack served on the terrace of our room instead of the full meal or skipped one or more courses. The food is mostly European (the chef is from Luxembourg) and very tasty. You can go (for free) to all the restaurants of the Gemma dell Est (even the ones that are paying for their guests), but they don't seem to be at the same level. We only tried the grill restaurant at the beach, because of the romantic setting at night.

When you book a honeymoon arrangement, you will also be treated with a private dinner on the Star of the East beach. You can define your own menu with the chef who will prepare it for you. We chose the lobster, which was perfectly grilled at the beach. We also received a massage for the both of us, again on the terrace of our villa. We had to ask Sabine (the manager) for this arrangement, as they had forgotten about it. So if they don't mention it to you, just remind them about it.

If you don't want to see anyone during your stay and have a really private holiday, this is really the place to be. Everything you ask for can be arranged at your room and your personal butler will take care of it. (It might sometimes be a bit difficult to make them understand everything in English, but that should improve as they are only open since a year.)

We can certainly recommend this hotel for a honeymoon or a romantic get-away!

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Katia W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Diamonds Star of the East

Address: Nungwi Road, Nungwi, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Nungwi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Nungwi
#6 Spa Hotel in Nungwi
#7 Family Hotel in Nungwi
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Nungwi
#10 Luxury Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range: $1,192 - $1,790 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Diamonds Star of the East 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A magnificent private sanctuary of eleven exclusive villas with their own plunge pool and a tastefully furnished terrace, a covered Makuti patio and a large tropical garden to enjoy exclusive privacy and the supreme view over the Indian Ocean and the famous Zanzibar sunset. The villas are named after eleven of the most precious gems in the world to match the modern and contemporary African style architecture. Personal butler service, a private beach and unmatched all-inclusive services accommodate the most discerning traveller with ultimate comfort, privacy and luxury. Literally everything and anything you could dream of is catered for at the very highest level of all-inclusive services including access to all facilities, restaurants and bars of Diamonds La Gemma dell’Est. Diamonds Star of the East is member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Diamonds Star Of The East Zanzibar Island/Nungwi

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