We chose our dive shop first (Mafia Island Diving - see separate glowing review) and they recommended we stay at Pole Pole. Great recommendation! the hotel has a quiet, peaceful vibe that was exactly what we needed after our safari in the Serengeti.
The rest of the review is written by my 14 year old son, who earned two Dad points for this effort :)
If you are looking for a quiet place to kick back and relax, then Pole Pole should be high up on your list!
First of all, all the staff members are very friendly and try to please you in every way. From the waiters all the way up to the managers, people have been very helpful. A special mention here goes to Alberto, the manager of the hotel, who, when my Dad presented him with a problem that was in no way his responsibility, he made it his goal to fix.
(Just before leaving our home town, my Dad noticed that his dive computer was not working. Trying to be smart , he ordered one shipped directly to Mafia so that by the time we got here, it would have already arrived. Unfortunately, shipping items to Tanzania turned out to be a disaster, and the dive computer got caught up in all sorts of legal hold-ups and expensive taxes).
We liked the quiet atmosphere of Pole Pole and enjoyed the no TV no phone in the room approach, although this serenity came at a dear price: there is no wi-fi in the room, only in the pool area and even there it s really poor. Also, the rooms did not have windows, only mosquito nets which is far from the end of the world but its just a little inconvenience. Regardless, these tiny hold-ups are more than made up by the fact that the cleaning team were very efficient in timing the clean-up sessions so as that we barely even saw the cleaning ladies. Also they offered to do our laundry for free and we only had to put the dirty clothes in a basket. Additionally, the eco approach and the sand roads make it seem that much more like the corner of eden that it is.
Even so, things aren't all honey and milk, although it s definitely not far from it. One of our biggest complaints regarding the experience of our stay is the ridiculously long wait time for food and drinks and overall sense of time that most of the staff seem to lack in. For example, we would wait about 15 to 20 minutes just for our first course to arrive at dinner and lunch and we can t really say it was worth it. The food really isn t a selling point for Pole Pole.
[Dad note: remember, this is a 14 year old boy writing. The waiting time at meals was not at all such a severe pain for adults :) and the food wasn't bad - just average]
It should also be noted that even though Mussa(the assistant manager) couldn't quite deliver regarding the dive computer situation and just kept stalling, he definitely shone through when my Mom needed some stitches removed; he brought us a really well trained doctor that is not a given on the Mafia island. One of the best advice that you can follow while on the island and pretty much in Tanzania in general, is don t get sick ;D.
Finally, we have to give our thanks to David, who is the owner of a dive shop in association with Pole Pole and who provides all the entertainment, including diving, of course, excursions and more. He also took every evening to come in person at Pole Pole and talk to every single one of his guests. He even spent time with us teaching us photography.
All in all, our stay at Pole Pole was a great one and I wish we would come back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Seven bungalow suites overlook the infinite hues of blue of Chole Bay, the core of Mafia Island Marine Park. Pole Pole is an exclusive eco-resort, renowned for its great cuisine, unpretentious and laid-back atmosphere, warm but discrete hospitality. Balancing luxury and respect for local culture and environment it is the perfect place to relax after a safari and the ideal base for exploring the underwater wanders of Mafia Island. With a touch of style. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Pole Pole Bungalows Hotel Mafia Island