The Best Luxury Hotels in Zanzibar

Find the Park Hyatt Zanzibar in the middle of the Unesco-listed Stone Town
Find the Park Hyatt Zanzibar in the middle of the Unesco-listed Stone Town | Courtesy of Park Hyatt Zanzibar / Expedia
Photo of Judy Cogan
26 January 2021

Off the coast of East Africa, Zanzibar is a dreamy destination where you’ll find turquoise-blue waters, palm-fringed white beaches, sailing boats and a warm welcome. Absorbing the local culture and natural beauty is a luxury in itself, but you can go the extra mile and stay in an equally deluxe hotel, all bookable right here on Culture Trip.

Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort

Hotel, Resort, Luxury
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Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort
Courtesy of Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort / Expedia

This award-winning hotel thrives on its connection with the surrounding landscape and villages. It’s been built entirely with local and natural materials, and the landscaped gardens hold more than 400 species of Zanzibari plants. Stay in a bungalow with a secluded garden, or a larger villa with a private jacuzzi overlooking the powdery white beach. The resort offers a variety of meal plans, and the main restaurant, Cobia, puts dishes together using only the freshest ingredients – fresh lobster, tree-picked fruit and herbs from the on-site garden. Elsewhere, the spa will swallow a whole day, with high-end treatments such as ayurvedic massages, facials and reflexology, and your first session is completely free.

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The Residence Zanzibar

Resort
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The Residence Zanzibar
Courtesy of The Residence Zanzibar / Expedia

Set on 32ha (79 acres) of impeccably landscaped gardens, the Residence Zanzibar is home to one of the most luxurious spas on the island, which is comfortably the hotel’s star attraction. It has a whirlpool, sauna and steam room, along with a menu of treatments, including the Etan Signature Face Therapy, which draws on the rejuvenating effects of frankincense. Top the day off with dinner at the Dining Room, one of two on-site restaurants that bring Zanzibar’s African, Omani and Indian influences together. In the morning, wake up to breakfast served on a large floating basket in your private plunge pool.

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Fruit and Spice Wellness Resort Zanzibar

Hotel, Resort, Luxury
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Fruit & Spice Wellness Resort Zanzibar
Courtesy of Fruit and Spice Wellness Resort Zanzibar / Expedia

The friendly staff at the Fruit and Spice Wellness Resort Zanzibar aim to help you de-stress and reset during your stay, by putting your wellbeing above all else. Surrounded by tropical vegetation, its Jungle Spa is the perfect spot for a stress-melting massage by the beach. Meanwhile, dinner at Maoni, the outdoor fine-dining restaurant with water views, is anything but stressful – Maoni means “unique panorama” in Swahili, and the African food is as authentic as it is delicious.

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Baraza Resort and Spa Zanzibar

Resort, Hotel, Spa Hotel
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Baraza Resort & Spa Zanzibar
Courtesy of Baraza Resort and Spa Zanzibar / Expedia
This award-winning property sets the standard for luxury hotels in Zanzibar. The elegant architecture – complete with magnificent arabesque and filigree details forged by local craftsmen – is a celebration of the island’s heritage, which dates back to the era of the Sultans. All the wooden furniture and each Omani trunk and brass lamp were made specifically for this palatial hotel, comprising 30 villas with courtyards and private plunge pools. The out-of-this-world spa is styled like an Arabian harem, offering a menu of reviving treatments that you’ll want to sample in full.
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Park Hyatt Zanzibar

Hotel, Luxury, Chain Hotel
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Park Hyatt Zanzibar
Courtesy of Park Hyatt Zanzibar / Expedia

This plush five-star hotel sits in the middle of the historic Stone Town, a designated Unesco World Heritage site and the beating heart of the island. Wander inside to find marble floors, lofty ceilings and leafy courtyards. The elegant colonial-style rooms and suites offer spectacular views of the dhow harbours and the Indian Ocean. Spend a day wandering through Stone Town’s maze of narrow alleyways and bustling markets, stopping en route to admire the famous Zanzibar doors, Hamamni Persian Baths and Palace Museum, which documents the Omani sultanate during the 19th century.

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Hotel Verde Zanzibar

Hotel, Luxury, Spa Hotel
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Hotel Verde Zanzibar
Courtesy of Hotel Verde Zanzibar / Expedia

Opened in January 2020, this luxury property on the outskirts of Stone Town is leading the race to become Zanzibar’s greenest hotel. It has a zero-waste policy, an advanced water recycling system and more than 600 solar panels generating electricity. All of its furniture was either made or sourced locally, too. Each room or suite has a private balcony with ocean or mangrove forest views. As for activities, the hotel boasts a waterpark and marina, a launchpad for high-octane fun with jet-skis and speedboat rides ready to go. It’s worth noting that this is a dry hotel, but it comes with an impressive menu of mocktails, fresh juices and purified water.

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Milele Resort and Restaurant

Hotel, Resort
Map View
Milele Beach Resort
Courtesy of Milele Resort and Restaurant / Expedia

In Swahili, Milele means “forever”, a word that united the hotel’s Italian owners, Erika and Isabella, in their shared love for all things Africa. Now, they share their mutual passion with people from all over the world through their renowned hospitality. There are Swahili-inspired designs everywhere, including in the sleek rooms that open onto a private veranda. The neighbouring beach – 300m (984ft) of non-stop white sand – separates the ocean and the hotel’s seawater infinity pool.

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Breezes Beach Club and Spa

Hotel, Luxury, Spa Hotel
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Breezes Beach Club & Spa – Half Board
Courtesy of Breezes Beach Club and Spa / Expedia

This boutique hotel is sprinkled with thoughtful touches, from the Zanzibari wood-carved furniture to the rich and colourful fabrics adorning them. There’s also a concierge desk that offers a variety of ultra-local experiences, such as a guided walking tour of the nearby coral reef at low tide or a cooking class with an expert chef. The resort’s restaurants highlight locally sourced produce, including fresh seafood and coconuts handpicked on the beach. For some deep relaxation, book yourself a massage or a signature foot treatment at the Frangipani Spa Zanzibar.

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  • Zanzibar Serena Hotel

    Hotel, Inn
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    Zanzibar Serena Hotel
    Courtesy of Zanzibar Serena Hotel / Expedia
    Opened in 1997, this vintage property comprises two renovated, historical buildings: a 19th-century Extelcoms building and an 18th-century home formerly occupied by a Chinese doctor. Much of the original architecture and cultural elements have been preserved. Some rooms feature hand-carved four-poster beds, while the swimming pool has a distinctive Arabic design. Its idyllic waterfront location on the edge of Stone Town will put you within short walking distance of attractions such as the Old Fort and the Forodhani Gardens. There’s also a concierge and 24-hour room service to take advantage of during your stay.
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    Zuri Zanzibar Hotel and Resort

    Resort
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    Zuri Zanzibar
    Courtesy of Zuri Zanzibar Hotel and Resort / Expedia

    Owned by Czech investor and philanthropist Václav Dejčmar, this hotel aims to connect its guests with nature and themselves. There are 56 thatched-roof bungalows, suites and villas – all hidden down lantern-lit jungle paths in a large tropical garden a stone’s throw from the Indian Ocean. All feature natural materials and market-sourced curios. Wander the grounds to find a fragrant spice garden, a library, an outdoor gym and a spa stocked with natural products. The property is about an hour from the airport and Stone Town, but still in prime position for gorgeous sunsets.

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    Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar

    Hotel, Luxury, Resort
    Map View
    Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar
    Courtesy of Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar / Expedia

    This adults-only bolthole comprises 15 domed pavilions set within 20ha (50 acres) of tropical gardens and forest. It was originally designed for ABBA’s Benny Andersson, who used it for secluded getaways, which might explain the Scandi-style look and feel to the three-room pavilions. The wooden-slatted shutters and wide-arched, glassless windows offer sweeping views of the Indian Ocean and bring you even closer to nature. Each pavilion has a private plunge pool and a dedicated butler who will arrange everything from meals to island activities to enjoy when you’re not hanging out by the waterfall bar at the Main Pavilion or soaking up the view from the 25m infinity pool.

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    Essque Zalu Zanzibar

    Resort
    Map View
    Essque Zalu Zanzibar
    Courtesy of Essque Zalu Zanzibar / Expedia

    Many Zanzibar resorts try their best to blend into the local landscape, but Essque Zalu Zanzibar bucks that trend boldly. Nothing is subtle here. It has the highest makuti thatched roof on the island, two restaurants, three bars and a giant lagoon-style pool. There are suites and three- and four-bedroom villas to call home, all with Indian Ocean or tropical garden views. In the villas, private plunge pools, spas, kitchens and either a terrace or balcony come as standard. You can also join a Swahili cooking class led by native Tanzanian sous-chef Rose Mosha at any time that suits you during your stay.

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    These recommendations were updated on January 26, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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