Esquire Approves: The Residence, Zanzibar
Whether you’re an animal lover looking for the perfect safari trip; a historian wanting a unique cultural experience; or someone who just wants to turn off and lie on a beach, Africa has got you covered. More specifically, Zanzibar has you covered.
Zanzibar is a region of Tanzania on the East African coast, defined by the Zanzibar Archipelago; a collection of small islands and two large ones, one of which is Zanzibar. It’s often referred to as ‘Spice Island’ due to its historical production of some of the world’s tastiest cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper.
One thing you need to come to terms with early on in your visit to Zanzibar is you are going to be spending a lot of time in your hotel, so make it a good’ un. Although various day trips and must-see excursions are on offer, the travel between the often remote hotels and areas of interest can be far, and you need a base that brings the Zanzibarian culture to you. Which is where establishing a ‘home-away-from-home’ is important.
The aptly-named The Residence Zanzibar ticks all the right boxes. Set between towering palm trees and private shores, it really encapsulates that remote island vibe. Postcard perfect Instagram pictures aside (only temporarily though, the infinity pool will get you all the likes), it is the people, history and beauty of the location that really sets your time in Zanzibar apart.
Located just 55 miles from Stone Town, the hotel sits outside the dolphin safari hot-spot village of Kizimkazi. Comprised of 66 luxury standalone villas, a Middle Eastern design look and feel with both indoor and outdoor — don’t knock it until you have tried it — showers. All this finished off with your own private pool and deck area.
The interiors are reminiscent of the island’s African and Omani heritage with each villa offering privacy and a first class standard of service — a non-negotiable Middle Eastern visitor requisite. The heart of the hotel has to be the people, a friendly, happy bunch of locals who spend their day trying to make your stay a little better. Guaranteed to lift even the biggest Scrooge’s mood with their infectious cheer.
It is the restaurants and spa that really let the famous spices the island is known for come into their own. The Ila spa is nestled amongst two hectares of remote gardens. If you didn’t know you wanted local honey, cinnamon, lemongrass and pungent cloves ground up and smeared over your body, you do now.
A combination of local techniques and ingredients guarantee you leaving more relaxed, moisturized, and calmer than you arrived. When it comes to dining there are two options. The Dining Room offers a range of international dishes with some Zanzibar twists and impressive ocean views, whilst the Pavilion combines Indian, Arabic and Mediterranean cuisines in an isolated garden setting. The Dining Room wins as the place to eat out of the two, and even offer private beach dining with à la carte menu.
With all the activities and great hotels, the island welcomes families with younger children, but the picturesque setting, romantic vibes and spa treatments make it a little more of a choice for couples, a welcome change to your annual Maldives trip.
The Residence Zanzibar. Prices start from AED1,400. cenizaro.com/theresidence/zanzibar Direct flights from AED675 flydubai.com