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The smartest rooms in Bagamoyo are the six suite-size executive units at the Millennium Sea Breeze Resort (tel. 023/244-0201; www.millenium.co.tz). They're thoroughly modern and packed with all the amenities you could hope for -- including air-conditioning and big, comfortable beds (the best ones also have terraces that face the ocean) -- but the hotel itself lacks any atmosphere that might be described as relaxing. Instead, it's a very popular conference facility, and you're almost always surrounded by people conducting business in little breakaway groups around the pool. Fortunately, the beach is close at hand and once you're on it, you can walk for miles in either direction. Standard doubles cost $150 (including all meals), but the rooms are truly hideous; fork over the extra $60 for the executive suite -- or, better still, make a beeline for Lazy Lagoon.

Another resort with comfy rooms but a totally inappropriate atmosphere is the Livingstone Club (tel. 023/244-0059; www.livingstone.co.tz), which is the best of a generally awful cluster of beachfront hotels to the north of town. Again, this feels like a once-decent hotel that's gradually gone downhill despite some interesting architecture, amazing tropical gardens, and fair rooms (which are far better than the standard units at the Sea Breeze, and marginally cheaper).

Owned by the same people as the Sea Breeze (who, it turns out, are politically connected at the highest possible level) is Bagamoyo's first heritage property, the Millennium Old Post Office Hotel (same contacts), which has six vaguely characterful, comfortable bedrooms above the town's original German-built post office (which is now the bar and hotel reception area), right in the center of the old stone town. Accommodations are superficially appealing, and there's some attempt to keep with the heritage theme (despite the wall-mounted plasma TVs, ugly minifridge, and ill-fitting tile floors), but there's no attention to detail (no bedside reading lights), with sparse decor and cheap finishes. Worse still, the owners have built a new concrete block with two dozen more rooms right next door. They're planning a nightclub in the basement and currently pride themselves on having Bagamoyo's most advanced kitchen appliances. Their website cheekily claims that this is a five-star hotel -- it's not, and there's no beach access, either (lots of potential noise, though). By all accounts, you'll be far happier in one of the simple, light-filled beach cottages at Travellers Lodge (tel] 023/244-0077 or 075/485-5485; www.travellers-lodge.com). They're all en suite, air-conditioned, and set in a vast beachfront garden -- at $80 double (including breakfast), they're definitely the best deal in town, with sufficient space to escape the conference crowd, should one turn up.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.