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If Zanzibar is nothing else, it’s breathtakingly beautiful. Seriously. It will take your breath away. While I only had a few days on the island, in addition to the rest of my time in Tanzania, I quickly realized that a hotel can make or break your trip. At that point it won’t matter how beautiful your surroundings are. I decided to compile a list of the best hotels in Zanzibar so that you don’t make the same mistake I did and skimp on your lodging. Before you get started, read up on things you may want to know before visiting Tanzania.
Nungwi Beach was my favorite part of Zanzibar because I got to walk over to the beach everyday and wade in clear blue water that was always the perfect temperature to accompany the heat. The Nungwi Dreams Boutique Hotel comes complete with a pool for those who are ocean averse, a bar, free breakfast, free wifi, free parking, etc. Free meaning included with your paid stay, but you get it.
Located directly on Mapenzi Beach, Next Paradise Boutique Resort is an affordable hotel option that offers that Zanzibari vibe. If you’ve been browsing hotels on the island you may have noticed that wooden, four poster beds complete with mosquito nets are a thing. Both on mainland Tanzania and in Zanzibar, all of my beds were like this and now when I see this furniture, I automatically think of my time in Africa. This resort offers amenities such 24 hour airport shuttle service, a breakfast buffet until noon for those of us that like to sleep in, and an outdoor tennis court that I’m sure you never expected to see in Zanzibar.
Because not all of us are on a budget, I felt compelled to offer a luxurious option for the best hotels in Zanzibar. Baraza Resort and Spa is the type of place that you check in to and are completely content with never leaving the hotel grounds. It’s the kind of place where you want to indulge in everything from an hour long massage to a shisha session on the patio. There’s more than one pool on the grounds and should you opt to take a dip, you’ll certainly feel at peace surrounded by architecture that seems to be straight out of the Middle East.
For those starting their Zanzibar adventures in Stonetown, you’ll enjoy the Shaba Boutique Hotel. What stood out to me the most was the decor. Antique mirrors and telephones are eloquent touches to what could easily be a basic, standard room. Like many other hotels on the island, they offer free breakfast as well as airport transportation. They have a shuttle bus service which I didn’t come across during my time on the island but wish I had.
I actually stumbled upon the Spice Palace Hotel while roaming Stonetown and I think it may be one of the more popular hotels in the area. It’s clean and centrally located, I don’t ask for much more during my travels. Keep in mind that this hotel, and many others in the heart of Stonetown are not accessible by car, so either pack light or get in some weight training prior to your arrival.
The Mizingani Seafront Hotel is the type of place you book when you’re after that water view. Not only can you people watch passersby from your balcony, but you’re in a prime location to hop on/off a ferry to mainland Tanzania for a brief stay or to head to the airport. For that reason alone, this is one of the best hotels in Zanzibar, other than it’s relaxing pool and proximity to other Stonetown hot spots.