Whether you choose to stay in a trendy boutique hotel or a beach resort, Zanzibar delivers, says Sammye Walton
Zanzibar, the island of spice, has breathtaking Indian Ocean views and is home to the ancient city of Stone Town. Its penetrating magic, history, and splendour are what bring mainlanders back for many visits and what attracts the rest of the world thousands of miles for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.
Pick of the pillows
If tranquility is what you are after, a stay on Michamvi Peninsula is a must. Located on the southeast coast, the headland is bordered by Chwaka Bay to the east and the Indian Ocean on the west. There are only a select few hotels in this unspoiled area, giving visitors quiet access to the Jozoni Forest-Chwaka Bay Conservation Area and pristine beach looking out to a long barrier reef, perfect for snorkelling. Upendo Zanzibar offers a ‘chic on the beach’ boutique experience, in their luxury, three-bedroom Villa Retreat, with the all-inclusive option of a private chef. The rooms are light and airy, with a massive platform bed loaded with luxury linens. Guests can wander over to Upendo Lounge & Restaurant for their famous Bloody Mary or a wide array of fresh tropical juices and smoothies.
For more of an upscale resort setting, the Konokono Beach Resort affords a variety of beach, garden and family villas with large comfortable king-size canopied beds, your own living area, spacious bathrooms, and a plunge pool in the middle of a private rock garden.
This year’s recipient of the Holiday Check Top Hotel Award for Zanzibar, the Neptune Pwani Beach Resort & Spa, is the ultimate, all-around beach destination. Situated on the northeast coast along the Kiwengwa shoreline, Neptune offers a family-friendly environment complete with two swimming pools and a watersports centre. Each spacious room boasts a large balcony with an ocean view, and Swahili style decor.
• Upendo Zanzibar (US$200 for two people in a Beach Banda – US$1100 for full villa which sleeps six), www.upendozanzibar.com, Michamvi Peninsula Zanzibar, Tel: (+255) 777 244492.
• Konokono Beach Resort (US$430 for 2 people in Garden Villa – US$690 for four people in Family Villa), www.konokonozanzibar.com, Michamvi Peninsula Zanzibar, Tel: (+255) 772 265431.
• Neptune Pwani Beach Resort & Spa (from US$165 per person all inclusive), www.neptunehotels.com, Pwani Mchangani Zanzibar, Tel: (+255) 774 567893. (Please note all price ranges are for peak season of June – August)