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One very good 12 days lasting moment
We spent 11 nights there. Family of four. With our 4 year old daughter. She enjoyed every bit of it. In the rhythm of sun and sea. Warm nights. Fresh fish, fresh fruits. Warm smiles and tactful hospitality. It is a rural place. And in the best possible way. Go there with people you love and feel the leisure touch of Makangale Beach and its resort Aiyana.
My now wife and I have been back in London for two weeks, after what was an amazing trip to Tanzania. Our wedding plans had changed and rescheduled several times due to the forever moving target that is the ‘virus’ and it’s impact to travel etc. Originally, Tanzania and the Aiyana were due to form part of our honeymoon, however with the uncertainty of the situation in the UK, we asked if the resort could possibly hold our wedding at very short notice. They agreed almost instantly and after an initial conversation with Philippe, who is the General Manager, we immediately felt our decision had been vindicated. Although we had that feeling of being in safe hands when speaking over WhatsApp regarding arrangements and wants / needs for the day, we also understood and accepted that we shouldn’t expect too much from a resort that is situated on the most northern tip of a fairly remote island (in the middle of a pandemic). It was also to be their first wedding, so we were appreciative and relaxed about the situation, agreeing that we we were just very lucky to be away and marrying given the circumstances. How very wrong we were... We arrived from Pemba’s small airport and took a very comfortable ride through the lush villages and forest which felt like a mini adventure in itself. On arrival at the resort, we looked out of the car window to what was a welcoming committee of about a dozen staff! Philippe was the first to greet us and introduced Prakash, his right hand man, and we instantly got the impression that the two of them were not only lovely people, but complete professionals who knew what top class hospitality was all about. We were taken straight to the dining area for some breakfast and we were in complete awe of the views from the movement we sat down. Situated on top of one of the most incredible white sand beaches we have ever seen, looking out to several shades of clear blue sea and coral reef. After some food, Philippe showed us to our room whilst providing a brief but detailed history on the resort, explaining the architecture and artwork as we walked, which really is delightful. The villa itself was stunning, with huge vaulted ceilings as you enter the spacious reception and living area, then passing into the tastefully decorated bedroom and bathroom. Which, should you wish to utilise, has an outdoor and indoor shower. The bed was huge and comfortable and the amenities perfect, will little snacks and fruit left by the team each day. Our villa came complete with its own patio / veranda area which was merely yards from the beach and framed the most beautiful view with the palms and rest of the lush gardens. Our wedding day consisted of a relaxing Grooms breakfast for one, followed by a massage in their elaborate spa, whilst my wife was taken to a separate villa with the makeup artist. We were told to meet at the main restaurant for a light lunch before a small boat ride to our destination. The light lunch was far from ‘light’, with lobster, calamari, tiger prawns and other seafood, truly delicious and an example of Philippe’s great sense of humour and sarcasm! Not that we were complaining, of course.. A dhow decorated with woven leafed arches and flowers was our wedding transportation, waiting on the shore line. A slow chug through the calm waters of the Indian Ocean brought us within sight of what was the most incredible tidal sandbank, accessible for only a few hours a day, where we could just make out a structure built for the ceremony in the distance. Again greeted by a whole host of staff as we came ashore, they got us onto the sandbank and directed across its white powder to yet another set of beautiful decorated archways. It was champagne on arrival as we signed the papers and exchanged our vowels and rings in the company of the commissioner. With Philippe and Prakash as our witnesses, Dorice my wife’s maid of honour and Mamboleo my best man, it was the elopement we had always dreamed of. After a few more photos back at the resort, we both returned back to our villa to change for the evening meal, which was setup in the most romantic spot on the beach. With no other tables around, surrounded by lanterns candles and the calming waves, it was a fitting end to a truly special day. Our favourite waiter with his infectious smile, Simon, served us some of the most exquisite food we had eaten on our trip. On the subject of food, it’s worth noting that we found the produce and cooking to be out of this world. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and general snacks were always delicious. As part of our honeymoon, we were fortunate to stay at some other very exclusive resorts across Tanzania, however we feel none quite lived up to the standards of the Aiyana kitchen. And it wasn’t just the food, it was the staff serving it too. Attentive, polite, huge smiles and always willing to talk, we loved conversing with the waiters and waitresses just as much as we enjoyed eating the exquisite food. Dorice and Mamboleo served breakfast mostly, with Suleiman around during the day. In the evening Simon and Regina were on hand to make us comfortable. They could not have performed their jobs any better and they were a delight to be around. All overseen by Edouardo, a man that still makes me smile when I think of his laugh and warmth. You shouldn’t miss a cocktail at the bar or poolside either, with sommelier David on hand to recommend and pair your wine with dinner. His trusted number two Masoude was already serving us the finest Dawa’s we’d had on our trip. I’ve mentioned just a few of so many staff that made not only our wedding but the entire stay the most incredible experience ever. If time and memory allowed, I would list you all. We have never come across a more friendly and welcoming bunch of people, that felt like friends whilst ensuring we never lifted a finger or that nothing was ever too much. In all our years of travel, we have never witnessed hospitality like we did at the Aiyana. Such lovely people managed by Prakash and Philippe, who seem to emanate this sense of calm and relaxation which is so fitting of the surrounding. An extremely long review (and believe me I could have continued) summarised by this; do not miss your opportunity to visit this resort, you will have deprived yourself of something truly very special. Also, if given the chance, allow them to arrange and stage your wedding or other events. Our special day turned out to be absolutely perfect and they will do exactly the same for you. We now have the best excuse to continue to return for our anniversaries, so will be seeing you all again very soon! Asante sana to you all. X
We might have found paradise !
WOW! We were lucky to spend 5 nights in this paradise for our honeymoon. This place is so special ! First, I would like to mention the staff. They are so friendly, always smiling and willing to make your stay memorable. They nicely prepared a candlelit table on the beach for us for a private dinner, organized a barbecue one night too. Philippe, the manager, was always checking on us and making sure we were happy with everything. This made our honeymoon so superb, I must say I felt like a princess! :) Then, the place itself. It feels so private, on a magnificent beach. I miss the breakfast view and the sunsets! The rooms are very spacious, clean with a view on the sea. The food is also fantastic. We had some excellent seafood. You cannot go wrong by choosing this hotel, it is a GEM. We hope we will be back one day! ASANTE SANA
Our second stay at Aiyana, exceptional, just like 3 years ago, we will be back!
Amazing place. I can only recommend. We (family of 5) stayed there in 2017 and again in December 2020 and are looking forward to being back asap. The hotel, the rooms (we were in the Presidential villa), the service, the cuisine were just perfect (for us). Luxury, but not too much, in a remote place, away from the crowd. Just like Zanzibar... 25 years ago ;-)
Can’t wait to come back
My husband and I stayed at Aiyana for 4 nights..it was incredible. We were first greeted by Phillipe , he walked us through the gorgeous grounds, gave us information on the island while walking us to our room. Our room was elegant, facing the most beautiful beach you could imagine. The food and drinks were so delicious. The dinner themes and different spots to eat makes each dining experience unique. Our stomaches were always filled, hearts always happy . The staff makes you feel at home, respectful of your space. During our stay at Aiyana, we did scuba diving, sailing, snorkeling, we learned how to play Bao, also how to use palms to make things (thank you Simon). So much you can do, but also just a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery. We can’t wait to come back, Asante sana!
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