The Best Hotels in Tanzania for Every Traveller

Hotel Slipway in Dar-es-Salaam is one of many fabulous hotels in Tanzania
Hotel Slipway in Dar-es-Salaam is one of many fabulous hotels in Tanzania | © Thomas Cockrem / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Amar Grover
30 December 2020

If you’re heading to Tanzania for a traditional safari or Indian Ocean stay, you’re likely to stay at lodges in the wild and boutique beachside retreats. Yet for the more practical middle ground, in terms of style, comfort and price, why not try the island of Zanzibar, or the capital, Dar Es Salaam. Here’s our pick.

Hotel Slipway

Facing a breezy bay from the Msasani peninsula’s low-rise seafront, Slipway’s cheery enclave encompasses shops, restaurants and bars. Around 7km (4mi) from the city centre, this is an upmarket neighbourhood that’s as popular with locals as visitors. The original blue-washed property has an appealing, faintly Art-Deco exterior and characterful rooms with traditional furniture, while a newer wing boasts more upmarket accommodation. Slipway can organise boat cruises, fishing and diving trips for you, along with excursions to Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
In-room accessibility
Full-service spa
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Terrace

Xanadu Villas & Retreat

On Zanzibar’s remote eastern coast, Xanadu is an impeccably luxurious yet discreet beachfront hideaway. With domes, vaulted ceilings, archways and rounded chamber-like rooms, individually designed villas offer a notably stylish retreat. Shady terraces with plunge pools, lush tropical gardens, ethno-chic furniture and 24/7 butlers suggest an aristocratic Swahili estate owned by a spice magnate. Activities from kayaking to spear fishing and spice farm tours will help pierce the bubble.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
24-hour front desk
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Smoke-free property

Promised Land Lodge

If rustic simplicity with a bohemian vibe fills your sails, this lodge lives up to its name. Garden hammocks, driftwood furniture and fisherman’s gazebos complement a cluster of thatched conical-roofed cottages with four-poster beds and diaphanous mosquito nets. Framed by an Indian Ocean beach, its simple unpretentious Zanzibari style lends an easygoing atmosphere.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
Concierge services
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Terrace
Bar/lounge

Gold Zanzibar Beach House & Spa

Tucked away on the island’s northwestern tip, beside a superb stretch of blinding-white sand, Gold is a conventional resort-style property veined with pleasing touches of Swahili design. Accommodation generally features muted earthy tones with gold accents; the jungle and beach villas offer private plunge pools or Jacuzzis. The main beach-front restaurant boasts a striking cavernous makuti thatched roof, while the arches and pendant lanterns of the Sultan Bar reference the island’s historical connections with Arabia.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
Full-service spa
Beach towels
Wheelchair accessible (may have limitations)
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Terrace
Smoke-free property

Sandies Baobab Beach Zanzibar

Named after the striking baobab trees that grace its leafy compound, Sandies is an all-inclusive resort on Nungwi Beach, in the northwest of Zanzibar. The accommodation is sleek and unfussy – gleaming white rooms with wooden accents – while traditional makuti thatched roofing lends a pleasing veneer of Swahili style. An amphitheatre hosts evening shows, and the curvy swimming pool resembles the body of an acoustic guitar.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Beach towels
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Multilingual staff
Terrace
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Miramont Retreat Zanzibar

Idyllic oceanfront locations don’t always come with a hefty price tag. Miramont’s simple garden bungalows and rooms have a bohemian-meets-gap-year feel, buoyed by a beachside terrace of rustic loungers moored beneath elegantly leaning palm trees. A generally young and fun clientele lend a cheery rather than polished atmosphere with the laid-back Bob Marley-tinged ambience of a Zanzibari fishermen’s commune without the nets or chores.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
Beach towels
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Terrace
Bar/lounge

Aluna Nungwi

At the island’s most northerly point and practically in the shadow of its oldest lighthouse, Aluna is a modest newly renovated property with two pools. Traditional makuti thatched roofs atop simple cottages lend a touch of Swahili style and weekly communal barbecue dinners with live music aim for a friendly family feel. Here on the quieter rim of Nungwi town, the bucolic charm of its leafy surroundings is enhanced by the neighbouring turtle sanctuary occupying a tidal pond.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Restaurant
Concierge services
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Bar/lounge

Pongwe Bay Resort

Perfectly scalloped out of the eastern coastline, Pongwe Bay hosts this resort on its northern reaches. With bougainvillea, frangipani and banana trees in the gardens, the property faintly resembles a Swahilian village, albeit one with a sky-blue pool and modern loungers. Rooms and suites feature sleek whitewashed decor with dark wooden furniture while sandy footpaths help make the resort feel like an organic extension of the fine beach.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Full-service spa
Concierge services
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Terrace
Smoke-free property

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  • Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

    Facing but set back slightly from the harbour, this sleek, modern hotel stands in the convenient Kivukoni district, famed for its fish market. Rooms and suites offer sensible, practical decor with floor-to-ceiling windows affording panoramic views. There’s a particularly well-equipped fitness centre and the elevated infinity pool seems to blend into the nearby harbour, interrupted only by the line of palm trees in the front garden.

    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Outdoor pool
    Full-service spa
    Conference space
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    Riu Palace Zanzibar

    This palatial resort – with golf carts for guests who don’t want to walk – occupies fetching gently sloping terrain overlooking the powder-perfect sands of northwest Zanzibar. Extensive, well-tended gardens combine with stylish interiors skilfully distilling Swahilian and Arab aesthetics with archways, pillars, lanterns, lattice screens, woodwork and ethnic furnishings. An enormous infinity pool complements better-than-average facilities for watersports and tennis.

    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Full-service spa
    Beach towels
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Fitness facilities
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff
    Terrace

    The Palms

    Sumptuous plunge-pool villas and butler-serviced tranquillity underline the atmosphere of this boutique property on the island’s south-eastern coast. It’s an all-inclusive, child-free resort popular with moneyed couples and honeymooners, and its enviable location beside Bwejuu Beach – reputedly the island’s best – lends further cachet. A library and some unusual activities, ranging from coconut palm climbing to learning bao (a local board game) and village tours, encourage discerning guests to embrace Zanzibari culture.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Outdoor pool
    Restaurant
    Full-service spa
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Fitness facilities
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    Serena Mivumo River Lodge

    European country-house glamour meets East African culture at this remote riverside lodge in the vast Selous Game Reserve – Africa’s largest. The elevated position lends stunning vistas across the tea-coloured Rufiji River often dotted with wallowing hippos and sly crocodiles. Full English breakfasts, sundowners, puddings and cheese – a minor miracle considering its location – tick all the boxes. Beyond the usual game drives, there are guided walks, some tailored to birdwatchers, and compelling riverboat safaris.

    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Outdoor pool
    Restaurant
    24-hour front desk
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property
    These recommendations were updated on December 30, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.