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All You Need to Know About the Rooms
at Onsea House & Machweo Retreat

Room/Suite (91)
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Guests1 room, 2 adults, 0 children
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Room review highlights
... to spend one day here but it was literally an oasis. The room was comfortable. It is definitely one of the places on our...
... it was like arriving in heaven. Friendly staff, beautiful room and a peacefull environment to let you forget all the rest....
... You're not really in a secluded area; feels like a random room they decided to try doing massages in. - The massage tables...

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RLS46212 wrote a review Aug 2020
Sarasota, Florida364 contributions60 helpful votes
We unfortunately only got to spend one day here but it was literally an oasis. The room was comfortable. It is definitely one of the places on our trip that I wish we could of stayed longer. The lunch we had here was lovely and Axel was so pleasant to visit with. The staff was so kind. Definitely would love to return one day. The mosque prayers was just an added calming benefit to our visit.
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Date of stay: January 2020
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Marlien C wrote a review May 2020
Bosch en Duin, The Netherlands14 contributions
Onsea House & Machweo Retreat is a beautiful hotel just outside the busy Arusha. I stayed there after climbing Mount Meru and it was like arriving in heaven. Friendly staff, beautiful room and a peacefull environment to let you forget all the rest. Delicious food and wine! I can't wait to go back.
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Date of stay: March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Response from OnseaHouse, Eigenaar at Onsea House & Machweo Retreat
Responded 11 May 2020
Dear Marlien, Many thanks for your glowing review of your stay with us in March. You were almost the last person who stayed with us before the temporary closure of our accommodation, restaurant and wellness. This decision has been made consciously in an attempt to minimize the risk to our staff and customers from infection of the Covid-19 virus that has hit globally. Despite the serious repercussions to our staff and our small business that will arise from this decision, we feel it is the safest action under the current circumstances and one that was taken in agreement in between our staff and the management. Our friendly staff can't wait to have you and other guests back as soon as it is safe to travel and open again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Andrew O wrote a review Mar 2020
17 contributions2 helpful votes
My wife and I got two massages here on a recommendation that it was the "best massage spa in Arusha". The people were pleasant, but that's the end of the list of positives.

Now for the negatives:
- It was overpriced: $90 USD each for 75 min.

- The quality of our Swedish massages were "mediocre" and "bad", in turn. My wife got an abrasion on her arm from one masseuse squeezing too hard. On the other end of the spectrum, my massage was so light and cursory as to not be enjoyable. It really seemed like our masseuses were just inexperienced.

- Only a tiny adjoining bathroom space for us to disrobe (not a big deal), and no place for us to secure valuables (bigger deal). Worst of all, other hotel employees kept wandering into that bathroom and the adjacent space. You're not really in a secluded area; feels like a random room they decided to try doing massages in.

- The massage tables had no hole for our faces, so we had to turn our heads for 60 minutes. Really not conducive to relaxation.

- After the massages, scrub, and sauna were complete, they kindly offered us some water and fruit (nice!), but it took them 20 minutes for them to find a place for us to shower and get changed (not great!). They ultimately let us use an unused hotel room, which was kind, but this felt very sloppy.

Overall, there are far better places to get massages in Tanzania. The hotel grounds were nice, and the restaurant is very good, but the skip the "spa".
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Date of stay: February 2020
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Response from OnseaHouse, Eigenaar at Onsea House & Machweo Retreat
Responded 11 May 2020
Dear Aostarello, Many thanks for your review and appreciation of the hotel grounds, the restaurant and the friendly staff. We regret that the experience with our spa was not good , despite it got multiple times rated as best spa wellness in Arusha and one the best in Tanzania (and one of the few featuring also both steam bath and sauna). You were almost the last person who experienced our wellness facilities before the temporary closure of our spa. This decision has been made consciously in an attempt to minimize the risk to our staff and customers from infection of the Covid-19 virus that has hit globally. Despite the serious repercussions to our staff and our small business that will arise from this decision, we feel it is the safest action under the current circumstances and one that was taken in agreement in between our staff and the management. During this closing time, our team has actioned your comments: - Regular Rates: US$ 90 is the price for a 90 minutes program (US$ 75 would be the price for a 75 minutes session which is however not on our program and indicates that the service was likely 15 minutes short). US$ 90 is our regular rate for all 90 minutes programs and is very competitive value including use of steam bath or sauna and unlimited use of the swimming pool afterwards. - Resident Rates: we will offer from the re-opening onwards also special Resident Rates which come at 60 USD / 138,000 TZS incl. VAT for this 90 minutes program. We have also 30 minutes treatments at 20 USD / 46,000 TZS incl. VAT - Staff: junior staff will no longer be allowed to do Swedish or other massages - Valuables: there will be a place to secure valuables in the wellness area - Massage tables: will be replaced - Speed of service: will be improved - Shower facilities: will be fixed Next to this our team will also work on new standard operating procedures and guest protocols taking into account new safety procedures we learned from this Covid-19 pandemic. Our friendly staff can't wait to have you and other guests back as soon as it is safe to travel and open again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ernst F wrote a review Jan 2020
.5 contributions
My wife and I stayed here for 3 days after our trip to the Serengeti. Onsea House is an upmarket boutique hotel, with a unique approach to serving guests embodied by the owner, Axel Janssens. In his early life, Axel was trained as a chef in some of the best places in Bruges and Gent - this says it all. Many guests have commented on the outstanding food, but it is the overall attention which makes him and his place special. The rooms have a personal touch, and any request for help will be dealt with in a "can do" attitude. We were a little unhappy about the noise pollution from a nearby mosque, and were transferred to a room with double glazing facing the opposite side of the mosque where we slept perfectly well.. Two recommendations: Get to know the surroundings of the place, we recommend a walk to the Moivaro plantation lodge (about 2.5km), back with a moto-taxi. Second, do not leave without taking a look at Axel's incredible book about Tansania.
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Date of stay: January 2020
Room Tip: Ask for room with double glazing!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Response from OnseaHouse, General Manager at Onsea House & Machweo Retreat
Responded 17 Jan 2020
Dear 252ernstf, Many thanks for leaving us such a wonderful review. We are thrilled that you loved your experience; our staff will definitely be happy to read what you wrote. We put guest experience and satisfaction as our priority, and your review reaffirms the hard work we put in every day. You may be pleased to note that plans are underway to install double glazed windows (and sound absorbing curtains) in all our rooms. So thanks for your kind words and we look forward to welcoming you again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Marilyn L wrote a review Dec 2019
Dunoon47 contributions16 helpful votes
We were quite disappointed with our stay at Machweo. We arrived late of the evening after a long flight from the US. It was the beginning of our 18 day trip to Tanzania. Everyone had pretty much left for the evening so reception was minimal. The room was very dark and dingy. One of the shades was askew, allowing for light to come in. We tried to fix it and realized that the cord had broken and rather than repairing it properly, someone has just tied the broken cord to another one on the opposite side so there was way to shut out the light. We were very tired and we awakened at 5 AM with the call to prayer. Our windows were open when we arrived and we didn't know to shut them. We figured out to close the windows the next evening. We requested another, brighter room and the staff was very accommodating. However, the shower wand in the new room had broken and was replaced by a shower head sloppily installed in the ceiling. The only was to get water to flow was for someone to hold the diverter button in while the other person showered. Needless to say this was very inconvenient. There was a light bulb over the sink that continuously flickered off and on. The TV did not work so we requested service. Someone came in and looked at it and told us it was an electrical problem and an electrician would come in and check. That was the last we heard from them - the TV never worked. The last night there we had to call and request our bottles of water, as well as a bathrobe. I got a massage and the equipment was not appropriate. There was no extension on the table for your head so that you had to lie on your stomach turning your head to the side. The became uncomfortable very quickly. The table was too high off the floor to conveniently get on it. The masseuse just picked me up and put me on the table. It was very awkward to say the least. The massage was good but there was a trainee that worked off and on. Once again, not very professional. The food was good but expensive - $115 per couple for three courses. Breakfast was quite good. There were no options regarding food as the retreat was a distance from Arusha.
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Date of stay: November 2019
Room Tip: Avoid room number 6 - it's very dark and dingy
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Response from OnseaHouse, Owner at Onsea House & Machweo Retreat
Responded 16 Dec 2019
Dear Marilyn L, We feel sorry you were quite disappointed, unlike many other guests who are very happy about the standard of rooms and service, resulting in an exceptional "Travellers’ Choice Award" in 2019. Indeed when you arrive late with the KLM flight from the US, we intend to be quiet with a limited number of staff in order to cause no disturbance for other guests. We have just finalized renovations and updated the Machweo honeymoon suites which now include double glazing and new sound absorbing curtains (replacing the shades) bringing the noise level of the rooms to the international “quiet room” category 2 standard. These (before) noisiest rooms are now thanks to the double glazing and new acoustic curtains (being produced with ISO 11654 "A" class sound absorption material) as quiet as our quietest rooms and fall with an absolute peak of just 47 decibels, which qualifies for category 2 rating. On average the sound during the call to prayer has been reduced to only 29 decibels which is even lower than our quietest rooms at 31 decibels average. Staff is trained to explain to close windows in case you are a light sleeper. The “shower head installed in the ceiling” are the walk-in rain showers which are highly appreciated by our guests, certainly those who are returning from Kilimanjaro. Staff is trained to properly explain you the functioning of the shower. We never ever had any single issue with DSTV subscription in the past 6 months. Due to unstable power supply or bad weather, it extremely rarely happens that the DSTV systems do not work. If power is however too low, we have 24/7 a back up generator service both at Onsea House as well as at Machweo to assure maximum comfort. There are 2 bottles of water per room per night but guests are at all times able to request more drinking water. Our staff is trained to inform guests during the room briefing. Fresh bathrobes are also available for all rooms. The comments on the massage have been addressed with the wellness team. The massage beds have been reduced in height and new head rests are being sourced. Thanks for your appreciation of the good dinner and breakfast. Our restaurant has been awarded restaurant of the year in Tanzania for several years in a row. Dinner rates have remained unchanged since 2015. For guests who find the 5 course option with pairing wines, water and coffee at US$ 70 too expensive, we offer the possibility to order 1 or 2 separate courses or a lighter 3 course dinner excl drinks at US$ 45. For guests who are willing to eat early, they can pick something from our Brasserie menu, served between 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM with prices ranging in between US$ 10 and US$ 15 for daily specials and main dishes.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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