A guide to Zanzibar hotels

5th March 2020

Zanzibar has a plethora of hotels; most are very mediocre. Luckily, we have scoured the island and found the very best one for each budget. In this little guide, we will run you through your very best Zanzibar options for your Indian Ocean getaway.

The best (best) value Zanzibar hotel:


(From $180 + per person per night)

View from Pongwe's swimming pool

Pongwe has a phenomenal atmosphere. It is fun, quirky and authentically Zanzibar, but lacks in the “frills” which you may get from the slightly more expensive offerings on the island. The beach is fabulous, and as is the food, service and rooms. We would recommend paying $30 more per night, and staying in on of their Seaview Suites which come with your own private pool. We would say Pongwe is the very best hotel in this kind of price range for all types of travellers, especially honeymooners. The only exception would be families with smaller kids, who may find a little more to do at Breezes which has its own water sports club. Everyone love Pongwe, and it is a real failsafe option!

The best mid-range Zanzibar hotel:

Zuri Zanzibar

(From $280+ per person per night)

Beach at Zuri Zanzibar

Much of the time, we would choose Zuri Zanzibar over some of the more expensive options on the island. This is because the beach is simply stunning and by far the best on Zanzibar. It truly is the Indian Ocean ideal! Wide, white, powdery with turquoise waters – if you are obsessed with the best beaches in the world, it must be Zuri. The rooms are equally as lovely and offer everything you need – and if you have a pocket for it, even more with their private family villas and jacuzzi rooms. The standard rooms are by far the best value for money though and allow you to enjoy this slice of paradise, for a lot less than you would expect. The only downside is that it is quite a big hotel with 55 rooms – but if this doesn’t bother you, then Zuri is our number 1 choice. However, it is everyone else’s number one too, so is always full! If you want to go here, we recommend booking over a year in advance.

Best high-end Zanzibar hotel:

Xanadu Villas

(From $400+ per person per night)Dinner set up at Xanadu

Xanadu is comprised of 12 separate villas and each one offers varying levels of luxury. Even the cheapest villa, Umande at $400 per person per night is probably one of the most luxurious experiences available on Zanzibar. The villas are nestled in a beautiful tropical garden, and each one boasts private pools, and all the space and privacy you need to a relaxing and spoiling beach getaway. Xanadu is also blessed with having a Michelin star chef and dining here can be done anywhere in the complex thanks to your private butler who will set up breakfast lunch and dinner in your room, on your balcony or by the pool. Xanadu is in our view, the best exclusive and high-end option on Zanzibar.

Best high-end private island on Zanzibar Archipelago:

Mnemba Private Island

(from $1,300+ per person per night) Sun lounger at Mnemba

Also part of the Zanzibar archipelago, and just off the island itself is the beautiful private Mnemba Island. In our view, this is the ultimate honeymoon escape; the beach is truly stunning, and as there is only one lodge on the whole island, you get this paradise all to yourself. The bandas are the epitome of “beach shack chic” and are very tastefully done and ran by andBeyond, you know the food, attention to detail and overall experience is also going to be of the highest calibre. However, at $1,700 per person per night in high season – it is a seriously expensive beach option. If you are after a private island experience which is more cast away than chic, then we would seriously recommend the haven which is Fanjove Private Island. At $400 per person per night, it is far better value than Mnemba. The food and overall experience is still exceptional, but the accommodation is on the rustic side of beach-shack-chic.

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