We got picked up at a small airport on the coast of Mozambique by a heli of the resort. The 20min flight was stunning. We flew over the untouched coast line, with mangroves and even little villages. Our destination was the Quilalea Island Resort. Only on a part of the island there were little beach front villas. The rest you could partly discover on foot. Scuba diving was excellent. Evening dinners on the beach were sooo romantic and the sunset sail was amazingly beautifull. The bar was a little more uphigh and had a small pool with view on the Indian Ocean…
One idyllic spot for a dream holiday!
BTW: I could watch the most superb Wimbledon finale (Federer-Nadal) and there was even internet on this most isolated part of the world…
Wonderful place on a beautiful small peaceful island !
Great Hotel Great staff and Magnificient food !!!!!!
We will certainly be back !
Liked — The magnificent panorama and the kindness of the staff
Disliked — nothing
My fiancée and I have recently returned from a 10 day stay in this magnificent island just off the coast of Pemba. We wanted to go somewhere for a bit of a splurge, it had to be in africa and had to have a decent amount of activities (as I get board just lying on the beach). We couldn’t have picked a better spot. Although it was a bit of a journey from Cape Town, it was well worth it. We arrived off the boat to be greeted by Nathan (the manager) and his team of staff who looked after us all holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff, and as there are only 9 villas on the island we could do any activity pretty much whenever we wanted to. This included diving, canoeing, deep sea fishing (with a lot of fish…), dhow trips, massages, nature walks etc etc. Another highlight was the food. If you are a seafood lover then look no further, although it was a set menu every night there was a reasonable degree of flexibility, and the lobster, prawns and fish were some of the best I have tasted.
If you are a fussy traveller who wants a TV in your room and an a la carte menu then this is not your place – I would suggest Mauritius. However, if you want proper old school African Island romance, with excellent service and diving then get on a flight right now…
My husband and I stayed on Quilalea Island for a week in August 07 and had a wonderful time. We found it was the perfect balance of gentle activity – snorkeling, kayaking, boat trips, walking – and self-indulgent relaxing.
We stayed in Villa 9 which has it’s own private beach area and a little ladder down the cliff face to the water. We could not have asked for a more secluded little paradise to spend our honeymoon in. I particularly enjoyed shell seeking on the beach – the shells on Quilalea are like nowhere else I have ever been, with great big conch shells washing up very morning.
On top of this the food was amazing. Tessa, the new chef, is a very talented lady. She makes the best lobster and seafood I have ever had in my life. Her tuna sashimi beats Nobu’s hands down. We ate in a different location almost every night – on the beach, in the restaurant, and best of all in the cliff-top private dining area which was fabulously romantic.
The new management team, Dave and Erica, could not have been more kind and welcoming, and we had become genuinely fond of them both by the time we went home. The other staff were also extremely welcoming and kind, particularly Ines and Ali.
In summary we couldn’t have asked for a better stay and definitely hope to return.
Nothing can take away from the natural beauty of Quilalea. That said, if it is unadulterated luxury you are looking for you may be disappointed.
Arriving by helicopter was amazing and a real plus and we were greated with smiles by the staff. Management was changing hands which may account for the lack of a clear identity to the staffing.
The resort felt more like a business than the romantic refuge we had been dreaming of for our honeymoon, particulary as we signed a disclaimer only minutes after arrival and were then presented with a (breath-taking) price list for the extras (including all drinks).
The villas were very pretty and our bed was scattered with rose petals the first night we spent there, although this decreased to just a flower after that. The facilities were basic which is understandable given the very remote location. There is no excuse for the lack of cleanliness though; the shower had green mould growing up the wall and the mirrors had not been polished in some time.
Snorkelling on the house reef was stunning and a highlight, although do not expect too much help from the staff. Snorkelling off a boat was also an experience but beware the strong currents.
Excursions we undertook were a kayaking trip through the mangroves of Sencar and a visit to the coconut plantation in Quirimbas, both of which were lovely and we felt we got more of a taste of the real Mozambique. Both excursions were extremely well guided and Ines in particular was a great help throughout.
Food and drink were tasty but there is limited stock coming into the island. Nathan the chef was very helpful and made special meals for my husband who was unwell.
A beach picnic is to be recommended as this is stunning but again this is due largely to the natural surroundings more than anything the lodge has to offer.
Quilalea, whilst idyllic, did feel like a slight disappointment after our safari in Beho Beho and I would not go back again.
We have just spent our honeymoon in Quilalea and we fell in love with this little heaven on earth. Everything was impeccable. Both the senior and junior staff, composed of lovely and passionate individuals and lead by the super efficient Ernst, are very friendly and professional and were always keen to meet our needs.
The rooms are in typical African style, made with attention to every detail, with a spacious patio at the front, breath-taking sea-view and massive bed. A nice touch were the vanilla flavour complimentary shower gel and sun lotion.
Even if the island is very small, there are plenty of activities for the more sporty guests; diving (we saw turtles, rays, eels), snorkelling, fishing, kayaking in the mangroves, sunset on the native dhow boats, sailing on the catamaran. All perfectly organised. What we really liked was the wake-up call with tea or coffee and homemade biscuits and the time spent at the bar just before dinner. The guests (mainly honeymooners) and the staff gather there for a drink (or 2) while tasting the delicious tapas.
Last but ot least a comment on the food. It was simply amazing. We were there for 11 nights and never had a bad meal or even the same meal. The chef, Mark, and his staff made any effort to meet guests’ tastes and spoiled us with amazing chocolate-based desserts. The experience of Por do Sol is very special….
We recently spent our honeymoon on Quilalea. We are very seasoned travelers (I have traveled to 72 countries), and I have dove in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. I would rank Quilalea near the top of them all! The staff are outstanding. The food is spectacular and the chef is very charming. We felt that everyone was very focused on meeting our needs and expectations. The marine sanctuary means that the sea life around the island is abundant. On dives just off the house reef we saw turtles, rays, eels, etc. On two ocassions we were able to snorkel with dolphins. In only a half day of fishing we caught 2 tuna and 3 king fish. Nathan, the chef, made us wonderful sashimi with the catch! It was lovely to dive at sites were there are NO other dive boats, and just the small group from Quilalea. The dive master was very professional. And Mozambique is a charming off-the-beaten track escape. We would definitely recommend it.
We have just returned from three weeks in East Africa. We spent ten days at Quilalea and enjoyed ourselves. However this was not quite the outstanding hotel we were expecting.
We flew BA to Dar Es Salaam.
We then flew Precision Air to Pemba, Mozambique where Quilalea staff met us and helped us get through the visa process there.
The Quilalea helecopter was out of action as it was bing serviced. So the hotel owner John flew us in his 6 seater Cessna to Quirimbas, the next door island to Quilalea. A jeep trip ferryied us to the coast to meet the speedboat. So far so good…
Arriving at the coast we met another Quilalea staff member who helped us put on dive bootes. These were to protect our feet as we crossed the mud flats and waded through the incoming tide towards the speck on the horizon which was the speedboat.
once the water was deep enough a canoe picked us up to take us on out to the speedboat. We then had 20 minutes crossing to the island. Everyone mucked in and took this in good heart – what else can you do? The staff explained the tide happened to be at its lowest and that this was exceptional – except it happened again when we left and to others we met duing our stay
Very Robinson Crusoe but not what I was expecting for a top hotel.
My husband is a diver and went on the diving package which was reasonable value as he dived twice a day – I was on the standard package which was not such good value – in fact downright expensive.
The diving was (according to my husband!) very professionally run. The divemasters were very friendly and helpful. The corals were superb but the visibility so bad at this time of year that it was hard to tell what fish were around. As we had chosen the hotel partly for its diving this was unfortunate.
The snorkeling was frustrating too. Only at low tide was it possible to see the coral and fish because of the appalling visibility. There was lots to see but limited opportunity to do so.
The main beach is very nice but lots of loose, sharp coral. The dive bootes provided by the hotel here a great help as were our reef shoes we had brought with us. This meant we could swim whatever the tide.
The rooms are of a lovely design. Big and airy with a comfortable big bed. The main bathroom was also nicely laid out with shutters to the excellent shower with the al fresco option of having the doors open onto the sea. But the loo was basically a whitewashed cupboard with a tacky stained ceiling. However it did have a bidet and it all worked fine.
Nice big terrace with chairs but no sun loungers
A fresh bottle of water was provided every day in the room – a very positive point.
Less good were the multiple holes in the mosquito net – it took the edge off a lovely presentation. Luckily there were no mosquitos – the island is too dry. When the bed was turned down during supper, the bed lights inside the net were switched on – as a result there were often more midges inside the net when we went to bed than outside!
The big plus for the hotel is undoubtedly the restaurant operation. Very good food based on fish – unsurprisingly. But if there was anything you did not like they would do you a different meal. Several times the food reached real gourmet heights.
The snacks served at the bar before dinner were excellent
We had seen fishermen digging up clams when we arrived and asked if the hotel could get some. The Head Chef, Nathan, not only got the clams but produced a mothwatering Pasta Vongole, a real treat appreciated by all. The service in the restaurant was immaculate and the waiters keen to please.
Most of the management staff were very new – so new their names were not in the Hotel Guide folder in the rooms.
The staff worked very hard and were very eager to do anything they could to help make our stay a success. The General Manager Ernst has outstanding customer service skills and is very sensitive to individual client needs.
However if anything went wrong it appeared to us that Ernst and the team would not have the aurthority to deal with it. Everything in terms of administration was decided off the island by the owners. They are a delightful couple who came to Quilalea while we were there for a couple of nights
It meant staying at the hotel was rather like a visit to a county house when the owners were away. Very nice and comfortable but a little strange. Many small details were not thought through properly eg the hotel folder not up to date
Most of the clientel are honeymooners and the ones we met loved the whole experience. We have stayed at a number of remote island hotels so possibly we look for a higher standard. But the price we were paying was over the top for what we got on the regular package.
I don’t think we would are likely to go back unless there is a big overhaul and they are more upfront about the best time to dive there.
If the minor details are sorted out and the transport issue managed properly this could be what it describes itself as – a real Paradise island. I wish them well
My husband and I spent a few days at this beautiful resort. The experience was so magical and peaceful and it is now the place I return to in my dreams in order to get away from the madness and rush of everyday life. We loved every aspect of our stay.
I recently spent time at Quilalia Island Villas and can honeslty say it was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life – I loved everything about it – simple and effortless style created by a family who clearly understand and respect the people, the culture and a life that appears to have stood still for hundreds of years! Our suite was large, airy and secluded – all have their own private beach areas and are secluded from the others. Wading out into the ocean from in front of my suite as the sun rose on yet another perfect day, I truely felt that we had the island to ourselves! There were always friendly faces to help, assist and chat, but more importantly we were left to ourselves to relax and make Quilalea ‘ours’. Food was superb – we spent 4 nights there and were never served the same ‘meal’ twice. We snorkled, swam, dived, walked, had massages, ate like kings, were treated like royalty and made friends for life – we will defintley be back, only next time, for longer!
I used Trip Advisor to see what other travellers had to say about Quilalea before I booked and after spending 3 gorgeous days on the island, to be honest I was very suprised at the few ‘negative’ comments that were posted!
My wife and I had the most amazing and romantic time on the island. The attention to detail wherever you walked on the island was breathe taking! Some of these touches include: flowers on your beds, refreshing scented face cloth and cocktail in a coconut shell on arrival, complimentary african souvenirs, a private grotto with views of the ocean at the massage spa. Authentic Dowl sunset cruise, the most amazing marine life only 5 meters from the main beach, hand crafted local furniture, I could go on and on and on! The service was excellent and no sooner had I finished my drink was their an ice cold replacement at hand! Some months after our trip I find myself returning back to my photos on my laptop and start planning my next trip back to this seculded african ‘slice of heaven’! Thank you so much to everyone at Quilalea for making it the most memorable holiday!
We stayed in Quilalea in July this year and found the island way more than we could have hoped for. Having previously visited Zanzibar and Southern Mozambique we wanted somewhere different for a few days after a long safari – we chose Quilalea on the advise of our agent who sends us to Africa every year.
As discerning, and somewhat restless travellers who have travelled throughout much of Africa, beach is not top of the list as much has let us down. Quilalea however blew us away – weve visited many lodges in Africa and Quilalea has that charm that is so difficult to find.
On arrival on Quilalea, by helicopter, you can feel its character from the moment you lay eyes on the island – the exclusivity and sudden realisation that you really are in one of the last untouched areas of African Coast dawns upon you.
Its undeniable charm however lies in its unpretentiousness and relaxed atmosphere – it is exactly what an old-african hand wants to see! Service here is laid back, but at the same time, it is incredibly good and professional….most importantly though we found it exceptionally friendly – we spent alot of time talking and playing games with the staff (boules and backgammon in particular!!)
The rooms are simply stunning with views out to sea and great sea life right on the doorstep for snorkeling. Day trips to the surrounding islands are also great fun. Food is fantastic, local dishes cooked by local chefs….finally!!!! One day we took a hamper to a private beach and were left alone untill we returned to the lodge for dinner.
Just came back afetr 8 nights in Quilalea:
The resort is located in a beautiful beach and the reef is 5 metres away.Snorkeling is great,Diving and fishing outstanding.The food is good and the rooms are very simple but elegant.I was not very lucky with the weather.I would advise to visit the island in october or november otherwise you might get some rain and the sea is usually rough.The staff is very nice and always ready too help but if you are expecting things to be done soon then this is not the place for you.It may take 1 hour to get breakfast……
The senior staff (fishing,diving,sailing) are extremely professional but check before you go as our diving instructor was a bit “unfriendly”.
Overall the place has to be visited before it will be destroyed by tourism so if you are not afraid of 18 hours to get there and you don’t need a club or a fancy bar…..QUILALEA is the place to go!