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Zanzibar Beaches - Where to stay in Zanzibar

Best Places To Stay In Zanzibar; The Best Beach Hotels


Zanzibar has real charisma with it's Arabic infused energy, which makes it in many ways the Indian Ocean ideal; with it's white sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, turqiose oceans, and fantastic hotels and lodges, it is a must do after a tiring safari. Great for all groups; honeymooners, friends and family it is a really unique setting to unwind in and forget your troubles. There are loads of places to stay in Zanzibar, below are some of our favourites.

Baraza

Baraza Resort and Spa is one of the most luxurious hotels on Zanzibar.  It transcends traditional expectations of a beach hotel and provides a phenomenal service that offers its guests every creature comfort and more!  It boasts one of the finest beaches on the island and combines this with some incredible facilities. You are in very safe hands with this top end beach resort.
 

Kilindi

Kilindi is run by the very reputable Elewana. Originally privately owned and built to be Zanzibar’s new big thing, Elewana have done a great job at keeping it a top property.  Management has reformed Kilindi into one of the best two person accommodation options on Zanzibar.  The pavilions are what make Kilindi, with two private plunge pools, massive bathrooms and bedrooms and great views. There is also a family pavilion and with the ever-increasing standard of service it’s certainly one of our recommended top hotels on Zanzibar.

Mnemba Island

Travel writers have often named Mnemba as one of the top beaches in the world, certainly in Africa.  Mnemba is the ultimate definition of barefoot luxury, one of the few places where you can snorkel straight off the beach and onto pristine reef.  Owned and run by &Beyond, the food and service is top class- however, all this does come an eye watering cost…

White Sand Villas

An absolute favourite of ours, White Sand Villas near Page has set a new standard on Zanzuibar.  The beach here is very, very good and the luxurious and spacious private villas are perfect for families and honeymooners alike. If it can be afforded, it should absolutely be top of your list on Zanzibar.

Xanadu

Xanadu is a new and welcome addition to Zanzibar, a boutique property with 6 beautiful private villas. Situated on the South East Coast of Zanzibar, Xanadu has a beautiful private beach and views over the Indian Ocean. 
 

Zuri Zanzibar

The Zuri Zanzibar Hotel and Resort marks a new departure for Zanzibar hotels; it is big enough to classify as a large hotel, but with only 55 suites, rooms and villas dotted through its beautiful gardens and beach, it exudes a confident air of luxurious glamour. All areas are big, bold, and well designed for stylish comfort, and come in a variety of options and price ranges to suit various requirements and budgets. 

Ras Nungwi

Very very sadly Ras Nungwi burnt down in 2017 and we are still waiting to see if it will be rebuilt.  The below information was true of the old hotel

Nungwi - The Ocean Suite

The Ocean Suite is an exclusive private suite run by the Ras Nungwi beach hotel.  The private house has its own private steps down to the beach, just to the side of the main hotel. One of the best suites on the island, complete with private plunge pool, great privacy and lots of space.

The Palms

The Palms really is the most intimate and luxurious lodge on Zanzibar.  It is a honeymooner’s paradise!  It offers an impeccable standard of service, one of the most beautiful beaches on Zanzibar and some incredibly lavish accommodation.  The staff at Palms go that extra mile to make sure that their guest’s every need is catered for. It’s an extremely romantic beach destination….

Residence Zanzibar

The Residence Zanzibar is one of the most luxurious resorts on the Zanzibar, with sister properties in Mauritius, Maldives and Tunisia.  This large resort is located in the south west of the island, which is not necessarily best known for its beaches, however, with each room coming with its own private infinity pool it doesn’t really matter!  A choice of excellent restaurants, top end service and an array of activities- all in all, a top quality resort on Zanzibar.  A close contender to Baraza.

Zawadi

The newest offering from the established luxury brand 'The Zanzibar Collection', Zawadi looks is a seriously luxurious and intimate lodge. On the East Coast of Zanzibar, just 9 private, well-appointed Villas sit atop a cliff overlooking the vast Indian Ocean.

Breezes Beach Club

Breezes is exceptional value for money.  It may be a large hotel but it delivers a trusty and excellent product.  It is our favourite in the ‘large hotel’ category and perfect for families and honeymooners alike.  Having been running for longer than most of the other properties on the island you can expect the years of experience to shine through.  The facilities are great and the lovely long pristine beach makes its size all worthwhile.  If you are looking for something smaller and with the good beach and facilities, then have a look at Ras Nungwi on the north of the island, but we do love Breezes.

Gold Zanzibar

Zanzibar is an island famous for its excellent beaches, but none of them can touch the beach that sits in front of Gold Zanzibar.  The rooms, well-laid out and with good views of the beach and sea, are large but the decoration is slightly tasteless. The pool is enormous with great views.

Pongwe Beach Hotel

In terms of value for money, there are few better on Zanzibar than Pongwe.  It’s extremely economical and is home to one of the best beaches on the island!  The food is great and the accommodation is very comfortable.  The negative aspects are that due to its popularity the lodge needs to be booked well in advance, it’s also not in a very good position for diving or snorkelling.

Sunshine Hotel

Charming and exceptional value, Sunshine Hotel offers simple accommodation on one of the islands best beaches. Regarded by us as one of the best value hotels on the whole of Zanzibar, what you lack in luxury you more than make up for in value. Located up in Matemwe the hotel also gives guests easy access to Mnemba Island for Zanzibar's best diving and snorkelling. Overall a lovely little property that helps make an overall itinerary more affordable.

Anna of Zanzibar

Anna of Zanzibar is a small, personal and homely beach lodge with a fantastic beach. It is a vibrant and well run option that provides a good option for those wanting to enjoy the south-eastern beaches without going to the bigger resorts. It is one of the few mis-priced options on Zanzibar that is genuinely good value.

Matemwe Lodge

Matemwe Lodge is a really fantastic small lodge with beautiful breezy rooms and wonderful views out to Mnemba Island. We love Matemwe for offering a great escape from the hustle and bustle that surrounds much of Zanzibar.  

Echo Beach

Echo Beach is a lovely, relaxed little lodge on one of Zanzibar’s nicest beaches.  With Zanzibar becoming ever more popular with adventurous tourists heading out to the tropical paradise, Echo Beach retains a peaceful tranquillity that is hard to match.  The lodge has an extremely relaxed atmosphere that becomes a home away from home for its guests.  You are there to enjoy the great food, beach and swimming pool in equal measure, without the feeling of being in a slightly more pretentious resort.


Essque Zalu

Essque Zalu is the latest addition to the collection of luxurious hotels on Zanzibar.  It is big, bold and impressive (the makuti roof is the biggest on Zanzibar). It’s a hotel that is modern, stylish and definitely a great option for those looking for a forward thinking hotel catering for every urban luxury.  It might not be to everyone’s taste, but if modern architecture using traditional methods and a luxurious and attentive service are up your street – Essque is for you!


Hideaway of Nungwi

Newly opened to a hail of fanfare in 2013, this large resort is a level or two up from its many Italian competitors. The rooms, large and furnished to a high standard, all look down the hill to the sea. The dining options at Hideaway are numerous, ranging from standard by-the-pool lunch to African game meat. As one would expect from a 5* resort,it has a big pool and an even bigger spa. Being a large resort, it is not to everyones taste but it successfully fills a gap between the many enormous (and often terrible) large resorts and Baraza/The Residence.

Hotel Matlai

Hotel Matlai is an interesting property. If you’re not bothered by the quality of your beach then Matlai is a cool boutique beach hotel and excellent value. It has just 4 rooms, all right on the beach with unobstructed sea views. The management team have made it their aim to break the mould somewhat, with an small outdoor cinema, boules court, beach volleyball court, and butlers accessible by mobile phones. It’s just a shame about the beach, which is half rock, half sand.

Kasha

We do like Kasha and there are aspects of it which make it worth the money, but only as long as you are aware there is literally no beach.  It is extremely tidal, so when it is up you are confined to the lodge. The rooms are excellent though and you can enjoy the luxuries of air-conditioning, private plunge pools and television.  The service has been rocky at times but a 3 night stop here at the start of your trip can be worthwhile if taking advantage of their frequent offers and making full use of the rooms.


Kono Kono

Everything about this lodge looks great.  The rooms look good, they are big, the beach is excellent and pool is lovely.  But we can’t think of anywhere on Zanzibar with such shaky management.  Like its sister lodge, Kasha Boutique Hotel, it may be worth a three night stay at the beginning of a trip with the motive being to enjoy the rooms, private plunge pools and privacy while you just relax for a few days.  But don’t expect all the wines to be in stock or the best level of service.  For a longer stay you are better off sacrificing the lovely room and paying the same for a lodge that will deliver for you.

Matemwe Retreat

Matemwe Retreat is a group of 3 private villas attached to the Matemwe Bungalows beach lodge.  They are extremely luxurious and give the feeling of being waited on hand and foot in an exclusive, tropical hideaway.  If a completely secluded experience on Zanzibar is what you have in mind then this really does fit the bill.  Matemwe Retreat is the perfect honeymooner’s palace!

Shooting Star

Shooting Star used to be one of Zanzibar’s few trusted products.  It still hold its own amongst its competition, but being rather dated now, it gets perceived as not being a good place to stay.  It is exceptionally good value for money and makes an itinerary much cheaper than if you used a more modern beach lodge.  The food is good, the rooms have air con, the views are as good and the pool and main area is superb.  If you are looking to spend a bit more money, there are two amazing castle-like suites.  Otherwise, have a look at Mchanga for a similar priced lodge or Ras Nungwi and Echo Beach for a noticeable step up in quality.

Sunshine Marine Lodge

Directly opposite Mnemba Atoll, Sunshine Marine Lodge has Zanzibar’s best location for diving unless you stay on Mnemba itself. The downside to this location is a small cliff instead of a beach, but a beautiful, unspoiled beach 600m to the north makes up for this.Like its sister Sunshine Hotel, it offers unbelievable value. Although aimed primarily at divers, the 3 swimming pools and relaxing quietness make this a good all-round option.

Unguja Lodge

Unguja lodge has a lovely remote location, friendly staff and spacious rooms. The major downside, sadly, is its total lack of beach. The beach here is rocky but the compromise is walk-in snorkelling which hardly anywhere else has. It’s a real shame about the beach, but if you aren’t fussed about sand and want a good value Zanzibar resort, then consider here.


Blue Bay

Blue Bay resort works very well for a more economical option in the large hotel category.  It may be big but this hotel has everything you need and rather nice rooms given the low price.  Most large cheaper hotels are notoriously bad but the Blue Bay Resort delivers a great product if you are not expecting the world!  We do prefer Breezes Beach Club which is slightly more expensive and smaller in comparison but we think it is worth the little extra cost.
 

Fumba Beach Lodge

Fumba Beach Lodge is on the west coast of Zanzibar and in close proximity to Stone Town.  It’s a nice beach lodge with a nice main area and swimming pool.  The gardens are especially colourful and impressive.  Unfortunately the beach at Fumba is just not as good as others on Zanzibar.  We would definitely advise that guests opt for a suite as they have good access to the sea.


Green and Blue

The newly opened Green and Blue sitting at one end of Matemwe beach, this is a fresh looking compact hotel set within lush leafy gardens. With three different room types, all identical in design and size, except for the pool front and beachfront bungalows both have a private outdoor plunge pool. The restaurant, in a fantastic spot perched overlooking the sea, serves delicious Zanzibarian food with a modern twist. The resort has three freshwater swimming pools, one being a spa pool, and are excellent for relaxing around if you do not fancy the sometimes busy beach, which sometimes can also have a problem with sea urchins.

Mchanga

Mchanga Beach Lodge is a real find and is still very much an undiscovered lodge on a great little beach.  Set away from the large hotel resorts both up and down the coast, the feeling of the lodge is of being in an unspoilt enclave.  With so few rooms the lodge remains small and intimate, in our view essential for a beach stay!  Mchanga is excellent value for money and rather underpriced in our opinion, which makes it one of Zanzibar’s best small beach lodges.  If you are looking to spend a little bit more then look at Echo beach or Ras Nungwi.
 

The Z Hotel

This is a good hotel for the younger crowd looking for a bit of nightlife, coupled with a very good beach although you could be hassled by ‘beach boys’.  It’s in the centre of the busy village of Nungwi and attracts the young European market looking for inexpensive fun and a party.  Credit to the hotel, it has great rooms and a relatively good restaurant but the location, good beach or not, it is very busy and difficult to find your own space.

Zanzibar Ocean Paradise

For a large island hotel this place is not bad at all. It is big and commercial but excellent value for money, a great location and offers everything that all its competitor’s offer. Only Blue Bay and Ocean Paradise really pull off this category of hotel quite well.  However, if you want something slightly smaller in comparison but still quite big, then look at Breezes Beach Club.  A bit more money but well worth the extra cost.
 

Diamonds La Gemma

This is one of Zanzibar’s largest hotels.  Although it does offer a lovely cheap rate on all its room categories, the ambience and European-party induced character it has adopted make it reason to look elsewhere if you are after some sort of peace.  In fairness to the designers, the rooms are well hidden from the bulk of the property but once you’re at your room, you are evidently in one of many large blocks.  If you are looking for a big hotel, we much prefer to use Breezes which offers a better quality product at about the same price.


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