11 of Tanzania's Best Boutique Hotels

Dining al fresco at Olivers Camp
Dining al fresco at Oliver's Camp | Courtesy of Oliver's Camp
Gill Lange

A melting pot of sights and sounds, the country of Tanzania has much to offer the intrepid traveler in terms of luxury accommodation. The downside is that the plethora of choices may make it difficult to even know where to start. We step in and help to make life a little easier with this list of 11 outstanding boutique hotels and lodges in the country, taking you from savannas to sandy shores and historical cities.

1. Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Serengeti


Singita Sasakwa Lodge
Courtesy of Singita Sasakwa Lodge
Have your every whim catered to at the elegant and luxurious Singita Sasakwa Lodge, holding a fabulous location in the Grumeti Reserve in the Serengeti. If old world elegance surrounded by spectacular scenery and wildlife is your cup of tea then at Sasakwa Lodge your cup will runneth over, as a personal butler and game drives in a private concession are standard here. Accommodation comes in the form of nine gorgeous private cottages and one villa, all with their own infinity pools and views of the grassy savannas, while the turn of the century manor house holds the main lodge. A beauty spa, gym, library, tennis courts and boutique complete the scene, along with star gazing, walking safaris and fine dining under moonlight.

2. Boutique-Hotel Matlai, Pingwe

Boutique Hotel

Boutique Hotel Matlai, Asili house suite
Courtesy of Boutique Hotel Matlai

Discerning travelers and those who relish their privacy will want to book a break at Boutique Hotel Matlai where paradise and luxury hold hands like lovers. The hotel, on the south-east coast of Zanzibar, is surrounded by lush tropical gardens with sweeping views of the azure Indian Ocean and promises all-day indulgence and relaxation. The exclusive villa resort offers two varieties of accommodation and guest can either book Asili House, boasting four bedrooms and swimming pool, ideal for large families and small groups; or the romantic Villa Kidosho, with two suites and a private infinity pool. The resort also offers a beach bar, playground and spa.

3. Maru Maru Hotel, Zanzibar


Surrounded by the deep history and vibrant culture of Stone Town is the Maru Maru Hotel, ideally located just a few steps from the city’s historical wonders, colourful markets and maze of sidewalk stores. The beautifully restored hotel is a vivid mixture of old and new, offering a relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere. Taking pride of place at the top of Maru Maru is the roof terrace that offers breathtaking views over the Indian Ocean and the ideal spot for lazy sundowners above the bustle of the city below. There are a number of accommodation options to choose from and the hotel also features three restaurants and an art gallery.

4. Chapwani Private Island Resort, Tanzania

Boutique Hotel

© Klaus Pichler/Flickr

Chapwani Private Island Resort offers something completely different and the ultimate in privacy, set in the middle of the azure and calm Indian Ocean. A 15-minute boat ride from the mainland of Zanzibar is all it takes to get to this small and secluded hideaway that offers just 10 cosy rooms and one villa, all with magnificent ocean views and personalised service. The resort is also eco-friendly and grows their own fruit and vegetables while the island and its surrounds are awash with pristine flora and fauna. Therapeutic massages that utilise the electromagnetic potential of the sun, boat excursions and snorkelling are among the other activities to be enjoyed on this piece of paradise.

5. Zanzibar Palace Hotel, Zanzibar


Suite at Zanzibar Palace Hotel
Courtesy of the Zanzibar Palace Hotel

Guests can melt into the mysteries of Arabian nights at the exclusive and award winning Zanzibar Palace Hotel, with rooms that feature unique decor, hand-picked antique furniture and plush Persian rugs. The atmosphere is one of opulence combined with a bit of magic, that makes travelers believe that Aladdin and the genie themselves might just appear. There are nine suites scattered over three floors that surround an atrium and the hotel is ideally situated right in the heart of historic Stone Town. A private restaurant and luxury spa round off the highly hospitable and charming hotel.

6. Oliver's Camp, Arusha

Boutique Hotel

Suite at Olivers Camp
Courtesy of Oliver's Camp

Secluded and off the beaten track, this gorgeous camp is just what is needed to get away from it all for a while. Located in the remote reaches of the Tarangire National Park, the camp overlooks a floodplain and is close to swamps where game arrives in abundance to graze and drink. The 10 luxury safari tents are beautifully appointed in colours and textures that reflect the African bush land surrounds, each with their own en-suite bathrooms and outdoor showers. Meals are usually alfresco, whiskeys are sipped around a roaring fire, and picnic lunches can be packed for those that are out and about on a game drive or walking safari.

7. Chumbe Island Coral Park, Chumbe Island


Chumbe Island Coral Park is an award winning private island that protects a coral reef sanctuary, forest reserve, rare wildlife and historical buildings. The design of the accommodation is based on state-of-the-art technology that aims to have zero impact on the environment and the seven bungalows all offer complete privacy yet still allow for a brilliant sense of freedom and being at one with nature. The ocean is just a few steps away and snorkeling and nature and historical walks are some of the activities to keep guests busy. Cuisine is an eclectic affair using only freshly caught, local sustainable seafood and crisp fruit and veg.

8. Plantation Lodge, Karatu


Suite at The Plantation Lodge
Courtesy of the Plantation Lodge

The name The Plantation already gives travelers a peak into what they can look forward to at this stunning lodge, surrounded by trees and fragrant, tropical gardens. Laze the days away amid bird life, sunshine and flowers while evenings begin with sunset cocktails followed by a decadent evening meal. The lodge is conveniently located close to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tarangire National Park, making a day trip easy. In between guests are spoilt with morning and afternoon tea and a range of choice wines from the lodge’s cellar. There are a variety of accommodation options, all beautifully decorated in contemporary African style.

9. The Oyster Bay Hotel, Dar es Salaam


Oyster Bay Hotel
Courtesy of Oyster Bay Hotel

Cool, sleek and contemporary, The Oyster Bay Hotel provides a refreshing sanctuary from the tropical heat of Dar es Salaam. While the neutral interior palette is soothing on the eyes, one can’t but help gaze around at the wonderful contemporary art work and furnishings gracing the hotel, that also features a lovely smooth flow between inside and outdoors. The air-conditioned suites are crisp and inviting and all offer sea-facing balconies with doors that can be opened to let in the ocean breeze. Guests can also cool off in the swimming pool located in the lush and tropical, yet beautifully manicured garden.

10. Serena Mivumo River Lodge, Matambwe


The Serena Mivumo River Lodge gets it all right when it comes to blending an authentic sense of wild Africa into luxurious and opulent surrounds. The 12 timber chalets present traditional thatched roofs, each with their own private viewing deck and pool, ideal for early evening sundowners while doing some secluded game spotting. The chalet’s picture windows also offer fabulous vistas of the surrounding wilderness with sweeping scenes down to the gorge below where hippos and elephants often congregate on the river banks. Edwardian crystal chandeliers mix with marble basins and contemporary leather furniture to inspire the ultimate in safari luxury.

11. Zanzi Resort - Hotel Zanzibar, Tanzania


Zanzi Resort
Courtesy of Zanzi Resort

The Zanzi Resort gives those seeking a bit of solitude in the sun every reason to go out and buy new bikinis and board shorts. This gorgeous little jewel is nestled right on the edge of the Indian Ocean, surrounded by opulence and a salty sea breeze. The seven ocean villas and six African eco garden-view bungalows are located on six hectares of tropical paradise, offering serenity and the utmost in privacy. A private butler sees to all the everyday basics that you want to forget about for a while, and the restaurant serves meals complimented by organic vegetables and spices from their own eco-garden.

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