Our Safari vacation always ends with a sunshine destination, preferably with a beach and a pool. We began our trip in Kenya and decided on Zanzibar as our last stop for a few days of rest and relaxation. Before heading to our resort, we spent one night in the island’s capital: Stone Town. You can read all about our day tour here. Zanzibar is one of East Africa’s best beach destinations and a great addition to a safari in Tanzania or Kenya due to its proximity and ease of access. There are several luxury hotels around the island and it can sometimes be overwhelming to decide where to stay. Your choice really depends on your preferences. It is important to note that the nicest beaches are located east and north of the island so keep that in mind if this is your top priority.
The Residence Zanzibar
We decided to stay at The Residence, in the southwest portion of the island. It is renowned for its exceptionally high standards and a nice pool precedes the beach. I am content if I can see the ocean while taking a dip in a private pool and The Residence checked that box and many others. If seclusion is what you are looking for, this is the resort for you. The 32 hectares resort is made up of beautiful tropical gardens and a mile-long beach.
The resort is a little over an hour drive from Stone Town and the airport. I do not recommend renting a car. Not only do they drive on the left-hand side, but the roads are not lit at night and the street signs are confusing or non-existent in some cases. You’ll also risk running into cattle, people walking on the roads and cyclists everywhere. If you think your smart phone will get you around, think again. The internet is terrible outside the resorts, so you cannot rely on your phone for navigation. Once you arrive at The Residence be prepared for a 4 km drive on dirt road to get to the actual resort. Those who suffer from back issues may want to consider this.
One Bedroom Luxury Ocean Front Pool Villa
Ocean front is where you want to be! The villa is right on the beach, which means you can take a dip in the Indian Ocean and head right back to your deck for some privacy. The best part of being on the eastern part of the island is that you can watch the sun set on the ocean; it is truly stunning. There are only 13 ocean front villas and you’ll want to avoid the ones next to the water sports center. We stayed in villa 104 where you get more privacy and less traffic.
Each guest gets a bicycle that is parked outside the villa upon arrival making it easy to get around the resort. You can also request to be picked up by golf cart if cycling isn’t your thing or if your outfit doesn’t permit.
The rooms are very spacious, over 1600 square feet to be more precise. There is a living room area that leads into the bedroom and a large bathroom with outdoor shower. The canopied king size bed is equipped with mosquito nets which are much needed in a tropical climate. The grounds on the resort are sprayed every two weeks which helps immensely. The only time I got bitten was while dining off the resort.
Dining At The Residence
We had our best meals at The Residence, this includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are two restaurants on the resort; The Dinning Room and The Pavilion. Breakfast and dinner are served in The Dining Room and this is the only à la carte option for dinner. You can also opt for room service at an extra $10 charge for delivery. The Pavilion offers a buffet style dining option with a mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines where guests can enjoy daily entertainment like acrobatic shows or live traditional music. I personally don’t like buffets, so we only dined at The Dining Room and breakfast is always better when served in your room, so we opted for room service every morning. Our breakfast arrived late two out of the three mornings so keep that in mind if you book any excursions or spa treatments and leave enough time in between.
Enjoy A Treatment At The Spa
The treatments are designed by ila, a niche British spa known for using natural ingredients while supporting tribal communities, villages and farmers worldwide. Make sure to book your treatment ahead of time as these tend to fill up fast. We waited until the last minute and the only treatment available was a 60-minute massage. The massage was underwhelming to be honest; I’ve had better.
Why You Absolutely Need A Pool
Whether it is a main pool or your own private villa pool, make sure your hotel is equipped with either option. Zanzibar is tidal which means there are periods in the day where the water recedes a fair distance making it difficult to go for a swim. This only lasts a few hours at a time, but it should still be a consideration when planning your vacation if you prefer the beach over the pool. You can take a look at the tide report here.
I highly recommend this hotel is you are looking for a top-end accommodation with great service. It is secluded so if you wish to be closer to the action I would suggest staying in Stone Town. It is the perfect place to fully recharge and completely disconnect.
Are you a beach or pool person? Does the fact that Zanzibar is tidal deter you from visiting?
Let me know in the comments below!
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