The house is one of the best holiday rentals in Zanzibar in terms of quality and value for money. Except for the dishwasher it has all the amenities mentioned in the description. We enjoyed three weeks at the house and had a great holiday. However, there are some aspects that guests should be aware of:
1. “Self-catering” applies in the very narrow sense. Unlike many other houses in coastal Zanzibar, this one does not provide for or allow a local chef or house help to assist. You’ll either need to cook and clean dishes yourself or go for the (relatively pricy) full board option. That makes the house less attractive for longer-term guests, especially those from the region.
2. The owner’s best efforts to provide hospitality and support notwithstanding, privacy at this holiday home is limited. The owner stays in a quarter on the same compound, just opposite the house entrance. She is expecting to co-utilise the kitchen of the house and needs to access a storage room next to the kitchen, inside the house, several times daily.
3. Two of the three bedrooms have their own separate entrance but no direct access to the house. (You leave those rooms to the veranda and enter the house from there). For families with children, this can be a challenge at night. It only worked for us because our nanny was sharing the room with our small kids.
4. Language is limited to Italian.
We feel that especially the first two points could have been made transparent before we rented the house. The owner would do well to develop and issue house rules as foreseen by tripadvisor.
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Buganville house is a European house with a Zanzibar flavour. It looks good in the photos but they do not do it justice, it is the best house in the area. It is located in an Italian enclave but is at the far end of the beach away from the all-inclusive resort hotels so is very quiet. The local languages are Swahili and Italian with English a minority language. As we had no Italian we had to rely on Swahili, this could be a problem for some. We decided before we arrived not to accept the offer of hiring a cook to prepare our meals. This turned out to be a mistake; buying food in this area is difficult unless you have a hire car and even then it can be quite a trek to obtain quite simple basics. In the event we were able to change our mind and Chiara offered to cook for us; an excellent decision, I have never eaten better, thank you Chiara!
The pool was fantastic, large and beautifully clean with various loungers air beds etc available; a beautiful sight at night when illuminated. We did have problems with the air-conditioning though; only one of the air-con units worked properly and none of those in the bedrooms worked, something I am sure will be addressed by the owners. The house is well equipped but I would advise anyone visiting that they should if at all possible hire a cook or if not, hire a car!