Zanzibar, a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa, is a full of white sand beaches, easygoing vibes and shady palms. Wherever you stay, you’ll find paradise. We list our top hotels to stay at on this beautiful island.
Overlooking the gorgeous white sands of Kendwa beach and serene waters, Gold Zanzibar is an ideal choice for guests looking for some serious R&R during their time on the island. Designed with a mix of Arabian and African influences but with modern comfort in mind, the rooms are the perfect rest stop between your days on the beach or trips into the island. With a premium placed on your relaxation, the hotel has a wellness centre with a range of treatments, including holistic journeys, massage rituals and facial ceremonies.
Found along the northern tip of the island and leading directly onto the pristine Nungwi beach, Sandies Baobab Beach Zanzibar, named after the traditional baobabs that surround the resort, aims to make your stay a truly memorable one. The bright and spacious rooms are surrounded by the island’s natural gardens, offering guests a lovely natural view. Along with their own in-house restaurant and bar – which guests can make the most of when booking all-inclusive – Sandies also has an amphitheatre that regularly entertains its guests with a mix of music, dance shows and acrobatics.
Not far from Mnemba Island on the northeast shore of the island, the Miramont Retreat is an excellent choice for guests who want adventure. Boasting a stunning sea-facing villa and a cute collection of poolside bungalows, the resort has plenty of options depending on the stay you’re looking for. Popular with younger visitors to the island, Miramont’s team is happy to book a plethora of activities available, including diving, kite surfing and dolphin watching.
An adult-only resort near the white sands of Nungwi beach offering exclusive beach access and all-inclusive food and drink, Riu Palace Zanzibar is well suited to guests looking for a luxury, laid back stay. Each of the spacious guest rooms and suites come expertly designed with a host of contemporary creature comforts, such as climate-control air conditioning, satellite HD TVs and fully stocked minibars as standard. As an all-inclusive resort, guests at Riu Palace are encouraged to make use of the three themed in-house restaurants and buffet breakfast, served every morning.
A unique accommodation option on the island, instead of the usual guest room experience, Zuri Zanzibar offers guests their very own villa or bungalow, each featuring an unparalleled view of the peaceful lagoon below. A perfect choice for a romantic getaway, each of the villas is separated enough to ensure the utmost privacy and include thoughtful features, including private terraces, outdoor showers and high ceilings, modelled after traditional African architecture. On top of that, Zuri is home to a mesmerising private spice garden, a homage to the island’s heritage and a wonderful place to relax among the island’s beautiful plant life.
A secluded sanctuary set among beautiful tropical forests and a long beach, the Residence is an oasis retreat on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Taking inspiration from the Island’s rich history, the hotel’s aesthetic is a mix of the Swahili, Omani and Indian styles. The Residence delivers an opulent five-star experience, where guests can even hire a butler to look after them during their stay. Besides enjoying the hotel’s in-house treats, such as its private pool and gardens, The Residence encourages guests to explore Zanzibar with trips to historically important places and natural wonders.
Just a short trip out of Stone Town and part of the well-known Melia group of hotels, Melia Zanzibar offers the same charming service, attractive interiors and fantastic facilities has made them so popular. Each of the rooms and suites are spacious and professionally furnished, but if you’re looking for something a little more special, try one of the “Level” villas, which feature a private pool, terrace and relaxing garden views. The hotel has four restaurants to choose from – our favourite is the jetty lounge, which offers a range of light bites and drinks and can be found at the end of a small pier, surrounded by the calm ocean waters.
Often touted as one of Stone Town’s best hotels and built into one of the former residences of the island’s last Swahili rulers, the Emerson Spice is a great option for guests wanting to experience the island’s fascinating history. Each of the 10 individually styled rooms are inspired by an important person in Zanzibar’s history, and include vintage furnishings such as ornate Swahili beds and an indigenous Zenji Deco design. One of the hotel’s highlights is the Secret Garden cafe, found in one of the city’s hidden open-air ruins, which hosts local TaraJazz musicians and international artists.
An award-winning, five-star resort set amongst 12ha (30 acres) of the island’s best tropical gardens, the BlueBay Beach Resort is among the best hotel options on the island. Each of the rooms are beautifully furnished in a traditional Zanzibari style, with ornate hand-carved furniture, huge windows and even a separate dressing room to prepare for your days on the luscious nearby beach. Always looking to go above and beyond in making your stay as relaxing as possible, the hotel offers guests everything from a babysitter to a butler to make sure you make the most of your time on the island.
A welcome retreat from the bustling streets of Stone Town, Kisiwa House is an ideal option if you want to explore everything the city – a Unesco world heritage site – has to offer. Located on a peaceful residential street in the heart of Stone Town, the hotel is best known for its personable Swahili hospitality and modern elegant rooms, which feature a plethora of special amenities such as complimentary wifi, luxury toiletries and flat screen HD TVs. Each room has an incense burner to give you the spellbinding “Udi” scent – a Zanzibari perfume made of a wide variety of local ingredients..