Zanzibar Island Hotels

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  • Reviews: 3984

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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MOUNT ZION LONG BEACH BUNGALOWS: HAKUNA MATATA

This is by far, the best hotel/resort in Jambiani. It is excellent value for money. Your first impression when you arrive is that the complex is like a small botanical garden. Immaculate sandy paths connect every part of the complex and there is really no need for shoes. Hakuna Matata is the pace of life here. The hotel is run by a colourful collection of Rastafarians who make you feel very welcome. Please be patient and ask for things about 1-2 hours before you need them. If you want dinner at night, you need to tell them at lunchtime so they can prepare.

Rooms are large and comfortable. Large comfortable beds have huge mosquito nets and a ceiling fan. There is plenty of closet space. Bathrooms have hot showers, are clean and basic. Leave shoes outside to keep sand out.

The restaurant is very open and overlooks the beach. Breakfast is included and is excellent. Dinner offers very good food in a relaxed environment.

The beach bar is massive and offers games and a book library. They can make any drink you want and have ice-cold beers. Music plays continuously, mostly Reggae, but they take requests or will play your own CD if you ask. Next to the bar is a hammock and several sun beds. On some nights they build a fire on the beach.

The complex is walled in except for the beach. Security is provided by 8 dogs that are let out between midnight and 6am

The whole complex is a photo opportunity. At night you can walk the beach and see more stars than you will probably ever see anywhere in the world. There is virtually no light pollution and the view at night is incredible. You do not need a torch to walk around at night because they are so bright.

Staff can organise excursions across the island to places like Jozani Forrest, but you have to bargain for prices!

The hotel is owned by Zion Jumba who will organise transfers from the airport, just email him.

*** OPEN DURING THE RAINY SEASON ***

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Jungle and Rain Forest, Budget Travel
  • Written August 5, 2006
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  • toonsarah profile photo toonsarah
  • Reviews: 3632

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Dhow Palace Hotel: Traditional comfort

We spent five nights at the Dhow Palace Hotel in the centre of old Stone Town. This is a converted and extended former Omani mansion, dating back to the 1870s, and it retains a very authentic Zanzibari/African feel. Internal balconies on each floor look down on to the central courtyard with its palm trees and creepers, and traditional furniture provides comfortable places to sit in a number of lobby areas. Our room was large, and it too was furnished with traditional beds and other pieces, with a rather exotic-looking tiled shower cubicle (see the photo of Chris, number 2, which he has kindly agreed to allow me to use LOL).

The hotel is a mid-range one, despite the exotic appearance, as facilities are a little limited. There is no lift, and with the very high ceilings each floor is a considerable climb, so it wouldn’t be a good choice for anyone with walking difficulties (and even if you book a lower floor room, you will have to climb to the rooftop if you want breakfast!)

Since our visit the Dhow Palace appears to have been extended – there is mention on the website of a new block (added 2004) and swimming pool, neither of which were there when we stayed there. But we were entitled to make use of the swimming pool at its sister hotel, the Tembo House Hotel, just a few minutes’ walk away, which we did on a couple of hot sticky afternoons.

As well as the traditional atmosphere and furnishings, we especially liked the rooftop restaurant where breakfast was served each day – fresh mango and pineapple and a great view of Stone Town was an excellent way to start the day! You can also get lunch and dinner here (we had a late lunch of beef burgers on the day of our arrival, but never had dinner here) but note that alcohol is not served.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Historical Travel
  • Written April 17, 2009
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Our bedroom at the Dhow Palace

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  • toonsarah profile photo toonsarah
  • Reviews: 3632

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Breezes Beach Club: A great stay by the sea

This was our other “let’s splash out a little” stay of this trip (the first being the fabulous Ngorongoro Crater Serena). And although we have stayed in a couple of similar resort-style hotels elsewhere since, this one remains our favourite and our benchmark for such places.

Rooms are distributed in a number of “cottages”, each named after a local flower or tree. We were in a ground floor “deluxe” room (despite the name a less luxurious option than the upper floor suites) in Flame Tree. We had a king-sized bed draped with (unnecessary) mosquito nets, a large seating area, terrace with hammock and view across the gardens to the sea, and a good-sized bathroom. Everything was very tastefully decorated, with light fabrics, dark wood and a few local crafts pieces. I loved the cool tiled floor, although not when I inadvertently stepped on and crushed a large millipede invisible because of its similar terracotta colouring!

There is a large pool which was relatively quiet when we were there, though occasional organised activities (exercise classes and water polo) meant that we couldn’t use it all the time. This was never a big problem, however, and we enjoyed playing around with the balls and polo nets left behind after the games!

The beach here is private for the length of the hotel’s frontage, though you can easily walk further if you fancy stretching your legs. It is of pale sand, fringed with palms, and the sea is wonderful for swimming in (warm, clear and just gentle waves).

In the evenings we enjoyed excellent cocktails in the African-styled open-sided bar and delicious meals in the main dining room. These varied between traditional dishes served as a buffet on some themed evenings (e.g. Swahili, accompanied by local drummers and dancers) or full service more international cuisine on others. Meals here are included in your half-board accommodation, but you can book and pay separately to dine in the more intimate seafood restaurant nearer the sea (we meant to do this but never go round to it) or in a private “dinner for two” setting right on the beach. There is also a more casual beach-front restaurant serving snacks and lunches. During the day waiters circulate the pool area and the loungers set out under the palms that fringe the beach, taking drinks orders. The fresh pineapple juice and smoothies were wonderful, but as you don’t pay until you leave (everything is charged to your room, no cash accepted) it is all too easy to run up a large bill while indulging in these!

Looking at the website I see that they appear to have added more facilities since our visit, including more bars and a spa, but otherwise it appears largely unchanged and hopefully unspoiled.

Although large compared with the places we normally stay (70 rooms) this has the comfortable feel of a smaller hotel, perhaps because the rooms are so well-spaced around the grounds. The owners try to ensure the hotel is as environmentally friendly as possible. We also loved the open airy feel to the public areas, especially the bar.

  • Opinion of Price: most expensive
  • Written April 17, 2009
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Pool area at Breezes

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  • DAO profile photo DAO
  • Reviews: 3984

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TEMBO HOUSE HOTEL: 5 STAR IN STONE TOWN

The Tembo House Hotel is a real ‘WOW’. It has an understated front that opens into a dramatic courtyard that has a fantastic swimming pool surrounded by the inner balconies of the spectacular rooms. Go past this to sit on the terrace and have a cold drink or a great meal as you take in the sights of the ocean and nearby islands.

The hotel is an old building that housed the American Consulate in 1834. In 1884 it become the premises of Cowasjee Dinshaw & Partners who managed trading companies in the western Indian Ocean. Their name is still on the main entrance of the hotel.

Facilities
• Fantastic swimming pool in the courtyard
• Own beach in front of the terrace restaurant and bar
• Bahari Restaurant (local and international cuisine)
• Internet Café
• Laundry

Rooms
• Most with balconies overlooking the ocean or swimming pool
• Air-conditioning
• Refrigerator
• Telephone
• Satellite TV
• Mosquito netting/fans
• Large Zanzibarian beds

Even if you do not stay here, come for a meal on the terrace. The food is fantastic and you can enjoy authentic African dishes with a gentle breeze and a fantastic view. The swimming pool is the best of the few in Stone Town. Go for a dip! Changing rooms and toilets are pool side.

  • Opinion of Price: most expensive
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Spa and Resort, Food and Dining
  • Written February 11, 2007
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  • DAO profile photo DAO
  • Reviews: 3984

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CASA DEL MAR: SMALL AND NICE - ON THE EAST COAST

The Casa Del Mar is a nice small hotel in the middle of the Village and borders several other hotels. It does have lots of great reviews, but I am afraid I did not stay here. I did, however, find them one very hot day as I walked down the beach. They have a circular and open sided restaurant that is very close to the beach and offers some great views of the Indian Ocean. They do not serve alcohol, but the cokes are ice cold and the staff were very friendly and professional. The hotel certainly looked up to a high standard and they keep their beach and sandy paths cleaned.

Even if you do not stay here, I would recommend at least one evening meal here, just for the atmosphere.

*** CASA DEL MAR IS OPEN IN THE RAINY SEASON ***

Casa Del Mar is a nice small hotel in the middle of the Village and borders several other hotels. It does have lots of great reviews, but I am afraid I did not stay here. I did, however, find them one very hot day as I walked down the beach. They have a circular and open sided restaurant that is very close to the beach and offers some great views of the Indian Ocean. They do not serve alcohol, but the cokes are ice cold and the staff were very friendly and professional. The hotel certainly looked up to a high standard and they keep their beach and sandy paths cleaned.

*** CASA DEL MAR IS OPEN IN THE RAINY SEASON ***

Please note the fantastic pictures are with the kind permission of the nice people who own Casa Del Mar Hotel!

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Backpacking, Budget Travel, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
  • Written January 22, 2007
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  • SanguiniA profile photo SanguiniA
  • Reviews: 558

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Blue Oyster: Chillin' Out by the Beach

This is more of a guesthouse than a hotel. It is situated on Jambiani beach, just a few metres away from the sea, with unobstructed views of the Indian ocean. Considering the price, this place is well worth the money - and is spotlessly clean.

My only complaint is that the beds and the pillows were rock hard - we were joking that if we had an intruder in the room we didn't have to worry ... we would just swing a pillow in his face and that would certainly break his nose and jaw!

Each room has a terrace overlooking the ocean (except the budget rooms without the bathroom, which overlook the courtyard). The hotel also has a number of deckchairs and umbrellas on the beach, the perfect relaxation spot!

The guesthouse also has a good restaurant, with views of the ocean and good home-style food. Other guests of other guesthouses nearby were coming to eat here - so that certainly makes this place worthwhile.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Beaches
  • Written July 6, 2005
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Beach at Blue Oyster Hotel


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  • sachara profile photo sachara
  • Reviews: 3950

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Chavda Hotel: Sleeping like a sultan in an Arab mansion

The Chavda Hotel is a lovely Arab mansion with the traditional furniture, that was common in the 19th century aristocratic houses. We had a room with windows and views in three directions at the roofs, courtyards and alleyways around the hotel.

Our room had a large bathroom, seats, a bench and table all in style, a TV and AC and a nicily decorated semadari bed. The semadari beds in Zanzibar are very high, so there is enough place to sleep also under the bed. Luckily all our friends could book their own room in our hotel, so we had no guests.

Free airport pick up, rooftop bar with fantastic views.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Architecture
  • Written August 17, 2004
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semadari bed


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  • Geisha_Girl profile photo Geisha_Girl
  • Reviews: 765

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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The Africa House: A Touch of Old World

Many thanks to VT and especially to Zanzibargirl. I came across her page and found her wonderful tip on this hotel.

We had 3 days to spend in Zanzibar, and the service at this hotel was fit for an African Queen!

The Africa House echoes a sort of Old World elegance, and boasts the "best view of the sunsets" in Zanzibar from their rooftop bar.

Sunset cocktails in Zanzibar? That was more than enough to lure me into this place.....

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Written July 4, 2005
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Regal Elegance


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  • DAO profile photo DAO
  • Reviews: 3984

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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PAKACHI BEACH HOTEL: ON THE ROCKS

Pakachi means border in local Jambiani / Paje dialect. This is the first location you come to when you arrive in Jambiani. It is owned by Mr. Saleh Hamza and has friendly staff. The bar and restaurant are built on a large coral rock and has a fantastic view of the beach and the Indian Ocean. You can drink and eat and really enjoy the natural beauty of Jambiani.

The beach really starts here and extends for 3 miles to the south.

The restaurant offers a wide range of freshly made food and everything on the menu is available, even during the rainy season. It is an excellent place to eat in the evening. The food is fresh, delicious and well priced. The bar is well stocked and the beer is served ice cold. Even if you do not stay here, have at least one meal here. It is a great experience.

The restaurant menu is fully available every day.

The hotel rooms are in gardens on the opposite side of the road.

Excursions and transfers can be arranged by the hotel.

*** OPEN DURING THE RAINY SEASON ***

Opening hours: Restaurant - 07:30 to 22:00, Bar - 24 hours a day!

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Budget Travel, Backpacking
  • Written April 25, 2006
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  • jackfruit profile photo jackfruit
  • Reviews: 124

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Nungwi Village Beach Resort: Quiet Beach Location

Nungwi Village is a increasingly-popular beach destination in the northern part of the island.

The Nungwi VIllage Beach resort is a nice hotel, east of the crowded hotel strip in Nungwi and has beautiful white sand turquoise blue beaches.

Ask for a ocean view room. Rooms are large with mosquito netted beds, plantation wood shutters, high ceilings and zanzibari furniture. Bathrooms are clean and spacious.

Hotel kitchen is excellent. Chicken Ndogo Ndogo comes highly recommended. Kuku Tangawizi is another speciality, but I found it too gingery.

Great ocean views. You can meet local fishermen on the beach just outside the hotel - The resort also has a diving shop. Zanzibar spice tours and Stonetown tours can be arranged at the front desk for a nominal price. We paid $15 for a stonetown tour.

It's a short 5 minute walk to the town center, where all the dive shops and restaurants are located.

$150 for 2 nights ocean view room with breakfast included.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Beaches, Fishing, Diving and Snorkeling
  • Written February 26, 2004
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Our room at Nungwi Village Resort


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  • Laerke profile photo Laerke
  • Reviews: 52

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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White Sands: Peaceful Paradise Cottage

The place has been taken over by a couple from Belgium, who have been renovating the entire place.

If youre staying in the area and want to relax in a laid back atmosphere, this is the place to go.
The food is excellent and even cheap.

There is also a cheeky little monky to keep you entertained.

And finally, its clean and has mosquito nets set up by the cleaning staff before the buggars come out.

Great atmosphere and service!

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Written May 19, 2004
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Main Cottage


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  • grets profile photo grets
  • Reviews: 3429

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Mapenzi Beach Hotel: All-inclusive luxury

Built on several levels cascading down from ther road to the sea, the hotel is not suitable for people with walking difficulties.

The reception, bar and restaurant area is covered with an enormous thatch roof - said to be one of the largest in Africa. The area is large, airy and breezy, with lots of seating areas, a library, dart board and on some nights, disco.

The rooms are all one storey, linked by wooden walkways, on several different levels. Large rooms with mosquito nets, a huge bathroom and seating area outside. Very clean and comfortable.

The beach is not private, but we didn't see any other tourists there during our stay. There were a few touts on the beach, but we didn't find them intrusive.

From the beach the hotel can arrange kayaking and there is bicycle hire available.

Charlie, the resident entertainer, tried his best to involve eveyone in the activities. For some people this would be ideal, for us it smacked of Holiday Camps. We hated the loud music by the swimming pool and the organised volley ball etc, but that is purely a question of peronal taste.

The food was excellent, a buffet dinner with a choice of international and local dishes, always something tasty and interesting. Very friendly and helpful staff.

The hotel really is miles from anywhere - six miles down a rutted dirt track from the main road, with miles of palm trees on three sides and the ocean on the fourth. Nearest public transport six miles away, and very infrequent. Taxis expensive as they have to travel 1 1/2 hours from Stone Town before they pick you up. The hotel can arrange organised excursions, but they are expensive, especially if no-one else wants to join in (most people there during our visit just wanted to laze by the pool and weren't interested in seeing the island)

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Related to: Beaches
  • Written August 14, 2004
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  • SanguiniA profile photo SanguiniA
  • Reviews: 558

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Dhow Palace: Want to live in an Arab Palace?

What a good idea to splash out to stay in this place! It really puts you in the Zanzibar Stone Town atmosphere - the exotic arab taste part that is. Also great is its rooftop restaurant with really good food and great views! The hotel also boasts a pool in its internal courtyard.

Very very highly recommended. And book early in high season, there are only 16 rooms here.

The Arab architecture is stunning, but the atmosphere is rendered truly authentic by the furnishing - authentic Zanzibar antiques. I especially liked the 4 poster beds - so luxurious - as well as the beautiful baths in the bathrooms.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Written July 6, 2005
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Me on a balcony in the Dhow Palace


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  • Geisha_Girl profile photo Geisha_Girl
  • Reviews: 765

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The Africa House: ........and technology!

The Africa House has an extensive library with a fascinating collection of books (mostly antiques), a wonderful area for some quiet time, whether for reading or writing in your journal.

You also have access to their complimentary internet access in this room.

(The morning of departure to Zanzibar, I had completely lost my voice.......first time ever in my life! So the internet access was a great way for me to email loved ones and explain why I couldn't phone them!!! So yes, I was the "Mute Geisha" in Zanzibar........made for some pretty hilarious stories. Trying to do ~sign language~ in Swahili is no easy task!!)

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Written July 4, 2005
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So many books......so little time


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  • Geisha_Girl profile photo Geisha_Girl
  • Reviews: 765

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The Africa House: .......and Transportation!!

One of the other wonderful things about The Africa House is the fact that they provide transportation to and from the Zanzibar airport....at no extra charge! No need to hassle with the taxis.......you email the hotel your flight information ahead of time, and they have a driver and van waiting for you when you arrive with warm smiles and a big sign.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Written July 8, 2005
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We LOVE Zanzibar!


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