Spectacular Places To Stay In Zanzibar

Here are a selection of personally recommended places to stay in Zanzibar. We have visited, or stayed in, every one.

Matemwe Lodge, Retreat & Beach House

Matemwe lies perched on a coral rock, surrounded by the best beaches and right opposite the Mnemba Atoll, which offers spectacular diving and snorkelling. Matemwe Lodge consists of 12 bungalows, built from local materials and surrounded by lush garden. Each suite has a private veranda with a hammock and couch, overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Matemwe Retreat consists of 4 private villas, each with views of the ocean. Matemwe Beach House is a 3-bedroom beach house just metres from the beach, within its own walled garden, and looks out over the plunge pool to the beach and sea beyond. Three great options, at a genuine beach lodge, in a great location - casual African beach chic at its best.

Matemwe Lodge - 12 rooms, Matemwe Retreat - 4 Villas, Matemwe Beach House - exclusive use villa

Breezes Beach Club & Spa

On the South East coast of the island Breezes is a popular independent hotel, on a wonderful stretch of tidal beach, with good facilities and it retains a personal feel and plenty of atmosphere. The pleasant air-conditioned rooms and suites are furnished in a relaxed Zanzibar style, each with a terrace or balcony.

Facilities include a spa, gym, swimming pool, tennis court, good watersports facilities and one of the best dive schools on Zanzibar. There is a choice of restaurants and bars.

70 rooms

Baraza Resort & Spa And The Palms Zanzibar

With just 30 villas, Baraza Resort is a luxury fully inclusive resort close to The Breezes Beach Club, ideal for both couples and families. The spacious villas feature luxury interiors, beautiful fabrics, hand carved furniture and brass lanterns, large bathrooms with luxury fittings as well as a spacious terrace and private plunge pool. The Palms is an exclusive and small couples only resort with just six villas, adjacent to The Breezes, for those guests looking for peace and quiet. There are spas at both resorts, and guests at The Palms can use all of the facilities at The Breezes.

Baraza Resort - 14 one-bedroom villas and 16 two-bedroom villas; The Palms - 6 one-bedroom villas

Zanzibar Serena Hotel

The Serena Hotel is an authentic Swahili style hotel, and arguably the best hotel in Stone Town, the ‘old town’ in Zanzibar City. It has a wonderful ocean- front location and great views from the pool terrace, rooftop and main restaurants.

The light and airy well-equipped rooms are decorated in typical Swahili/Zanzibar style, each with a balcony, the suites and prime rooms with amazing views and added comfort. When not exploring fascinating Stone Town spend a day at the exclusive Serena Beach Club in the north of the island. The dining options are varied and the hotel is great for families.

41 Standard rooms; 6 Prime rooms; 4 Suites

The Z Hotel

This 35 room boutique hotel located on the lively northern tip of the Island combines contemporary features and traditional Zanzibar design.

The beach in front of the hotel has powder white sand and is great for swimming. The hotel offers à la carte, alfresco dining in the main restaurant ‘Saruche’, along with Asian-fusion tapas and sharing platters in ‘Cinnamon’, the cocktail bar. Each bedroom has floor to ceiling glass doors which lead onto a balcony with views over the gardens out to sea. The hotel has a ‘mini-spa’ offering a selection of health and beauty treatments.

35 rooms

Pongwe Beach Hotel

Pongwe is an unpretentious, well run, good value for money and authentic African beach lodge on the east coast of the island, set in pleasant grounds and bordering a lovely sandy beach and the ocean.

The 20 cottages at Pongwe are all built in traditional Zanzibari style with thatched roofs, white-washed walls, walk-in shower and handcrafted local furniture. Most of the rooms have a sea view, all have a terrace. The food is good, serving a blend of seafood, local dishes and international fare. The infinity pool, with pleasant deck, is a great spot to enjoy a cool drink and enjoy the view.

20 rooms

Kasha Boutique Hotel

This intimate beach lodge is positioned above a coral cliff with beautiful ocean views and boasts a lovely pool area with bar, restaurant and Shisha bar as well as just 11 luxurious and spacious open-plan villas, incorporating the best of Zanzibar style.

During low tide the small sandy beach below the low cliffs is accessible by stairs – at high tide the sea comes right in and the sand is submerged, but a 5 minute walk will take you to a neighbouring cove where there is always white sand no matter the level of the tide.

11 Villas

Dream Of Zanzibar Resort

Located on the east coast of Zanzibar, Dream of Zanzibar is a large, first-class, all-inclusive resort on the beach front at Pwani Machangani, combining a traditional Zanzibar style with modern hotel amenities and facilities.

The 5 Restaurants offer guests a variety of dining options and the 3 bars are relaxing environments to enjoy refreshing drinks and cocktails. Additional facilities include the Mvua African Rain Spa, an indoor gym, a water sports centre and a multisport court.

104 Deluxe rooms, 50 Junior Suites, 3 Beach Villas

Sandies Mapenzi Beach

This all inclusive hotel is in a prime location and has the vague feel of a large beach lodge rather than a resort hotel. There are 87 comfortable rooms, some overlooking the garden & higher category rooms are closer to the beach, all set in pleasant grounds. Stretch out on a sun bed, relax in the pool or enjoy one of the activities or water sports offered by the local animation team. Dining facilities include a main buffet restaurant, a beach pizzeria, an a la carte restaurant and 2 bars offering refreshing drinks and snacks, and cocktails in the evening.

87 rooms

Fundu Lagoon

Fundu Lagoon is a funky and upmarket, yet casual, beach lodge located on the southwest of the island of Pemba, in the Zanzibar Archipelago.

It is very different from Zanzibar's main island (Unguja), with only a few places to stay and a real feeling of peace and quiet. 18 thatch and canvas rooms and suites (some with private plunge pools) are all comfortably furnished. A stay at Fundu Lagoon is about experiencing this largely untouched, laid-back and beautiful island.

18 rooms & suites

236 Hurumzi (Emerson & Green)

236 Hurumzi (formerly Emerson & Green) is one of Stonetown's earlier hotels and was originally a wealthy merchants residence, that has been restored to its former glory. 24 guestrooms are all (except one) equipped with large stone bathtubs, ceiling fans, some rooms have air-conditioning and all have a traditional Swahili style.

The Tower Top (rooftop) restaurant has panoramic views of Stone Town and the Indian Ocean, and is a perfect spot to watch the sun set. This place is a real Zanzibar institution, with lots of stairs!

24 rooms

The Residence Zanzibar

Every one of the 66 stand-alone contemporary villas at The Residence Zanzibar is stylishly furnished, each with a private deck overlooking a well-sized private swimming pool, with wicker chairs and day beds to relax and enjoy the views, great for those guests seeking seclusion.

Bicycles are also provided with each villa to explore the gardens and local area. On a mile long beach, The Residence offers varied dining opportunities, a pleasant main pool area that looks out towards the ocean, and a modern and peaceful spa. Complimentary activities including sailing, kayaking, tennis and snorkelling, and children are well catered for with a daily club.

66 One & Two bedroom Villas

Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel

On the northernmost peninsula of Zanzibar Island, Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel is a cluster of traditional white-washed and palm thatched cottages in lush tropical gardens overlooking one of the best beaches on Zanzibar, and the tidal Indian Ocean (the tide goes out as well as in!). Infused with the laid- back spirit of Zanzibar, this is a great place to relax and enjoy all that this extraordinary island has to offer. Accommodation at Ras Nungwi is in either chalets or lodge rooms, each air-conditioned and with a private balcony.

The superior and deluxe rooms are located closest to the sea. The Ocean Suite & the Owners Villa (3 bedrooms) are available for those looking for extra privacy and comforts.

32 rooms, 1 suite, Owners Villa

Essque Zalu

Essque Zalu is one of Zanzibar's genuine chic resorts. There are 40 one bedroom suites, styled with local materials and crafts, each offering views over the tropical grounds or the ocean from the terrace or balcony. For families & those in need of extra space there are 9 spacious three & four bedroom villas, each with a private swimming pool.

There are 3 restaurants, a café, 2 bars, and an in-suite dining facility. Good watersport and leisure activities are on offer as well as an outdoor gym and a spa. There is a full children's programme run 3 times each day (included) and a full babysitting/child-minding service.

40 Suites & 9 x 3 and 4 bedroom Villas

Bluebay Beach Resort & Spa

Situated on a fine beach, most of the spacious rooms at the Bluebay Beach Resort have a view of the sea, are decorated in Swahili style and will accommodate up to 2 children under 16 with their parents, or in interconnecting rooms. The 2 Sultan Suites are virtually on the beach, have enormous double beds, and are ideal for honeymoon couples.

With 1,000+ palm trees planted in the gardens, there is plenty of shade for lying around the pool! There are good leisure facilities and a choice of dining options, kids club, a spa and a scuba diving centre. This is a good independently owned 4-star resort, with a nice 'feel' to it.

112 rooms