We review various properties to stay at while at Zanzibar’s North Coast, Stone Town, East Coast as well as South Coast
Photography: Brian Siambi and Respective Properties
Choose from 55 west-facing bungalows, suites and villas overlooking the beach and close to the mesmerising azure waters of the sea. Designed to provide the ultimate in coziness, equipped with a mixture of contemporary and local furniture and decorated with African artwork, they come with an option of outdoor showers, jacuzzi, a private stretch of beach and more, a unique experience of indoor/outdoor living. Zuri Zanzibar offer a fusion of European, African, Arabic and Indian cuisine, creating a rainbow of sensational flavours at their three restaurants and four bars. Everything from yoga, wellness, a swimming pool and beach to spice gardens, an indoor and outdoor “wild fitness” gym area and a library are at your disposal. Rates on request.
FLAME TREE COTTAGES
This small, independent, family-run beachfront hotel lies on the beautiful turquoise coastline of Nungwi. It is ideally situated for swimming, snorkeling and diving. Mnemba Atoll, just a short boat trip away, is one of the best diving spots in the world. If you fancy some dynamic hatha and vinyasa flow yoga, head to the rooftop for a sunrise or sunset session- the sunsets here are some of the most spectacular on the island, and you can also settle for taking it all in from the cozy beach bar. The hotel lies within a beautiful private tropical garden and has a range of rooms and cottages to choose from. Low season offers start at $160 for direct bookings only.
MAKUTI ROOF ON THE BEACH
A room high up on stilts under a traditional Makuti roof and right on Kendwa Beach in front of Zanzibar Parasailing Clubhouse with great views over the Kendwa bay. It is an open air room with coconut wooden walls to protect your privacy, and has a double bed, sofa, table and locker. The front side is open which looks directly to the sea. The room is part of a watersports centre which has a bar and kitchen facilities and bathrooms are communal, shared with clients of the watersports centre, and are situated towards the back of the clubhouse away from the room. An unobstructed view of the sunsets and beach is the main attraction here. Rates from $30.
ZANZIBAR SERENA HOTEL
The hotel is comprised of two historic buildings designed in traditional Swahili style, a lavish retreat that captures the elegance of a grander era since passed. An ambience of relaxed sophistication has been created in each of the 51 rooms and suites, with wood-framed louver doors opening onto private balconies with unobstructed views of the ocean. Cool white walls, high-ceilings and crisp royal blues and whites give a sense of Zanzibar’s coastal serenity and charm. The rooftop Terrace Seafood Restaurant offers freshly-caught seafood and extraordinary views of the bay while weekly authentic Swahili banquets can be enjoyed by the pool at Baharia Restaurant. Masahani Bar, on the other hand, offers signature cocktails and live performances by local Taarab bands.
This boutique hotel consists of three adjoining World Heritage site buildings in the exotic Kasbah of Zanzibar’s Stonetown. Two of the facades face a quaint square at the end of historic Tharia Street, a principal thoroughfare for walking tours of the city. The third façade looks toward the Anglican Cathedral and the slave market. Nestled among the rear facades is a squared private courtyard containing an ancient well. Dubbed the soul of Zanzibar. The main building, an inspired and lovingly restored merchant’s house has eleven stylishly furnished rooms structured around an airy central courtyard. The rooftop ‘Tea House’ hosts one of Stonetown’s most renowned restaurants offering a stylish ambiance amidst the sound of the calls to prayer from the town’s numerous mosques.
PARK HYATT ZANZIBAR
The hotel has a new and old building, the latter being dubbed the Mambo Msiige mansion which dates back to 1847 when it was built for a wealthy Omani tradesman. A good example of a traditional Zanzibar mansion, it had various functions in the following years before being transformed into the luxury hotel it is today. The new building, also known as Zamani Residence houses the rooms and restaurant characterized by towering ceilings with wooden beams, skylights and golden brass chandeliers. The owner is an avid art lover and collector and the hotel is therefore dotted with several unique pieces. For dining, the outdoor patio is the best place to enjoy the buffets while taking in all the boats and dhows in the sea.
ZANZIBAR WHITE SAND LUXURY VILLAS & SPA
This is a luxury boutique hotel located on the pristine sands of Paje beach. The large property has only 11 villas to ensure maximum privacy for each guest. A stay here is as much about enjoying a cocktail on the rooftop champagne bar as it is about kitesurfing in the sunset or indulging in a massage at the spa after a day of sunbathing. They apply sustainable policies within the resort including recycling and growing organic fruits and vegetables in their plantation, which are used in our restaurant for a controlled quality. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or family holiday, the mission here is to ensure memorable stays and the utmost comfort in a serene and stunning setting. Rates available on request.
Opened in 2015, this independent resort is tucked away in the quiet and pristine Pongwe beach and to ensure the utmost privacy, the property has only 16 villas. The wish of the Czech owners was to incorporate traditional Zanzibari pavilions with chic, modern elements. Choose from seafront luxury villas, royal villas with a jacuzzi or a garden bungalow with a partial sea view, all bathed in soft, natural light. Cobia Restaurant offers delicious meals crafted around international cuisine with the added magic of coastal ingredients, all done by Executive Chef Mgeni Mzima. Staying at Tulia Zanzibar with its lush botanical garden is not just about relaxation but unique experiences and never-ending adventure, all dictated by you. Rates available on request through:
With unrivalled views of the Matemwe lagoon, these five all-natural, thatched beach bungalows are spacious and built using traditional, eco-friendly materials. They feature beautifully finished, hand-crafted furniture including four poster beds and safari chairs. Meals are prepared by local chefs Hashim, Heri and Finiko and can be enjoyed on your veranda or candle-lit dinner by the beach. Built on stilts and on a platform using only the ancient building materials of palm frond and coco wood, these remote and eco-friendly beach bandas offer a truly exceptional experience on the island of Zanzibar. You can walk along the majestic palmed-lined beach for miles in both directions, only occasionally coming across other people. Rates average $100, to be confirmed on enquiry.
THE RESIDENCE ZANZIBAR
This resort lies in Kizimkazi within a lush, forested 32-hectare estate where five-star luxuries sit harmoniously alongside nature’s untouched beauty. Feel your spirits soar amid extensive tropical gardens that meet with powder-soft white sand lapped by the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Inspired by the island’s eclectic cultures, it blends modern comforts with Swahili, Omani, British and Indian influences. Indulge in the privacy of the spacious villas, attended on if you wish by your own butler. Enjoy carefree days relaxing by your private pool, on the beach or exploring the gardens on foot or by bicycle. Savour the taste of the Spice Island’s unique blend of cultures and cuisines, and the pleasure of sensational spa treatments. Rates available on enquiry via:
AYA BEACH BUNGALOWS
The resort has 12 rooms and is located on the southwest coast of the island in Kizimkazi. It has small makuti bandas, all rooms face the sea and are nestled within a garden with plenty of coconut trees and shrubs. It sits in the historical district, only 2.8km from Kizimkazi Dimbani Mosque. Kizimkazi is a fishing village and the catch ranges from kingfish and octopus to tuna, lobster and crab. Fresh fish is therefore readily available and is prepared daily at the restaurant along with an array of local dishes. The restaurant is perched on the edge of a small cliff overlooking the ocean, and has a laid back atmosphere, a perfect vantage point from which to enjoy incredible sunsets. Rates from $70.
UJAMAA BEACH RESORT
Set in Makunduchi, this relatively new resort was built by an NGO that works with international cooperation to help local communities in developing countries. Ujamaa translates to extended family, and this name was chosen because it represents the organisation’s wish to create opportunities for economic training and social development based on the principles of integration, respect and sharing. The place is quiet, overlooks the beach and is embraced by a wonderful tropical garden. It has eight bungalows and is great for families and large groups. The bar-restaurant, with its unique ocean view, offers an exquisite local and international cuisine and directly overlooks the pool and private beach. The cosy wellness centre offers moments of relaxation and also overlooks the sea.