Zanzibar is an ideal vacation destination for so many reasons. With white sandy beaches, endless blue oceans, lively villages and towns, it’s no wonder this island archipelago has exploded in popularity.
In this article, we want to make it a bit easier to plan your ideal Zanzibar vacation. We’re running down our favorite hotels in Zanzibar.
Best Hotels in Zanzibar
The “best” hotel in Zanzibar will mean different things to different people. Location, price, amenities, room size; there are so many factors to consider. We made sure this list has plenty of variety.
Let’s start with one of our favorite options. The Zanzibar Serena Hotel is located right in Stone Town, a historic area with preserved architecture, attached to the capital of Zanzibar City. Stone Town is the ultimate destination for tourists if you want to get a true sense of the history behind Zanzibar.
Zanzibar Serena Hotel is located right by the beach. It offers picturesque ocean views, and it’s a short walk to many bars, shops, and restaurants.
It’s a luxury hotel, with spacious rooms, modern furniture and appliances, air conditioning, a private balcony, and so much more. There’s a 24-hour front desk, free wi-fi on premises, a great pool and delicious free breakfast.
This is an excellent hotel located in the heart of Zanzibar. This is the perfect place to stay while you stop in Stone Town.
Here’s a great option if you’re looking for more of a beach vacation. Zanzibar’s beaches are known for endless white sand and sky-blue ocean views. This hotel is located on Pongwe Beach – one of the more popular beaches in Zanzibar’s east coast.
Both modestly sized and priced, this hotel is ideal for those looking for quiet amenities to enjoy their beachfront vacation. Designed with traditional “beach hut” architecture, we really love the vibes at this hotel.
Just steps from the beach, the rooms are modern and comfortable with ocean views. There’s also a pool to enjoy if salt water isn’t your thing.
This is a great option if you’re looking for a beach vacation without breaking the bank.
If you’re looking for a luxury hotel to spend your vacation, this is the option for you. The Double Tree by Hilton is situated in Nungwi, on the Northern tip of Zanzibar. Nungwi is a bustling village situated on sandy white shores, with lots to do for beachgoers and tourists.
The Double Tree offers spacious luxury rooms with private balconies. They are stylish and comfortable, with big comfy beds and decked out with modern appliances.
The rooms surround a large congregation area with a pool, a bar, and many places to kick back. There are options for dining, drinking and fitness on the grounds.
This hotel has everything you’d expect from the Hilton name, and it’s situated in one of Zanzibar’s most popular beach destinations. Just be prepared for crowded beaches, because the beach gets quite full during peak season.
Here’s another great option in Nungwi. This is one of Zanzibar’s best boutique hotels, which puts it a bit more on the expensive side. You get a luxury experience that is truly unique. Located right on the white sandy beach in Nungwi, the area boasts an impressive coral reef and a large amount of marine life.
The rooms are gorgeous – with modern furniture and appliances, and big windows to let in plenty of light. The hotel has all the amenities you would expect from a luxury offering, including a pool, bar/lounge area, fitness centre, and many different meal options.
The hotel itself is tucked away by the beach, so it feels quite a bit more secluded than many of the other hotels in this popular tourist village. You’re within walking distance of the beach, and many shops, restaurants, and bars in Nungwi.
Paje beach is located on the eastern shore of Zanzibar Island. It’s a popular beach for watersports, but you’ll still find plenty of spots to relax. The Palms Beach Resort is a small hotel located right on the beach. It’s quaint, quiet, and comfortable.
The rooms are clean, small and modern. The real attraction of this hotel is that it’s right on the beach. Most of the rooms look out onto a private pool area, and you’re just steps away from Paje beach. There’s even a private, fenced off beach area with sun chairs and loungers.
Paje is a popular Zanzibar beach, but it doesn’t get quite as crowded as the Nungwi beach hotels we mentioned above. It’s great for tourists who are looking for something a little more low-key, but still want to experience an abundance of Zanzibar culture.
6. Mama Root
We really love this small boutique hotel option. Mama Root hotel is located near Kizimkazi beach, which is on the west side of Zanzibar island.
Kizimkazi beach is much less crowded than many of the beaches on Zanzibar’s east side and northern tip. If you’re looking for a secluded, quiet beach vacation, then this boutique hotel is exactly what you’re looking for.
The hotel itself is great. It has its own special character and personality and is decorated in true beach-front style. We can’t say enough about its unique, fun vibe, and you’re sure to meet other tourists who appreciate a more laid-back vacation experience.
There is a roped-off private beach area for customers to enjoy, with plenty of comfy beach chairs and loungers.
Mama Root isn’t exactly a luxury hotel, but it’s quaint, clean, and packed with personality. It’s the place you want if you desire a quiet beach vacation, as opposed to the hustle and bustle on Zanzibar’s eastern and northern side.
The Tikitam Palms Hotel is another great option in the Pongwe Beach area of Zanzibar’s eastern coast.
The villas and rooms have a true sense of Zanzibar’s local culture, all decorated with African modern art and colonial style furniture. They’re villa-style rooms or classic room options have private bathrooms, air conditioning, and mini-bars.
The Tikitam Palms Hotel also features a private beach area for customers to enjoy. The hotel itself is surrounded with a lush, tropical garden. So even if you don’t get a sea-facing room, your views will be great.
The hotel also offers plenty of activities – including free watersports equipment rentals, water polo, volleyball, billiards, and more. There are also 2 restaurant options to choose from.
Overall, Tikitam Palms is a quality option in Pongwe Beach, especially if you really want to dive into the beach-front lifestyle and get on “island time.”
Clove Island Villas is another amazing boutique hotel option located right on the beach. The hotel is a series of huts, which house the rooms and villas. You’ll truly feel like you’re living the beach bum lifestyle for the duration of your stay.
The rooms are gorgeous and filled with all the comforts of home. Each room opens up onto a beachfront pool area, with plenty of spots to relax. The beach is j past the pool area.
Clove Island Villas are located on the southern tip of Zanzibar and the beaches tend to be more quiet and less “touristy”.
Overall, it’s another quality beachfront location and a great hotel to cap off our list. This one’s a bit more on the “premium” side, but not too pricy considering what’s included. There’s always something to do, with a restaurant, pool, bar, lounge area, and a short drive from Makunduchi town.
How to Pick a Hotel
Zanzibar has become such a popular tourist destination in recent years, so there are plenty of hotel and resort options. All this choice can quickly become overwhelming. Here are some factors to consider in choosing the best hotel among the options above:
It’s hard to go wrong with any beach in Zanzibar. Most offer white sand, clear blue water, and endless ocean views. Some beaches are a lot more “touristy” than others. Generally speaking, beaches closer to major towns get a lot busier.
This includes Nungwi and Kendwa on the northern tip, and many of the villages along Zanzibar’s eastern coast. If you’re looking for a more low-key beach vacation, consider a hotel that is removed from the hustle and bustle of the major towns.
For more on Zanzibar’s beaches, check out our comprehensive guide.
The Time of Year
Zanzibar has defined “low” and “peak” seasons, which are parallel to their wet and dry seasons.
The strongest rainy season in Zanzibar is from March to May. You likely want to avoid Zanzibar during this time, as there is potential for strong rains and monsoon-like conditions.
There is another rainy season from November to December, but it is milder, and you can still get some great weather. Booking a trip during this time might be ideal because you can get cheaper accommodations, and there’s still potential for great weather.
High season is June to October and January to February. These seasons feature classic tropical conditions – hot, dry, and blue skies. Booking during this time is more competitive, and the beaches get more crowded, but you’ll be sure to get great weather and lots of sun.
Price vs. Quality
You might be tempted to compare hotels on our list by price. While price is certainly a valid consideration, we think the better metric is price vs. quality. Settle on a price range you are comfortable with, and compare hotels in this range based on what they offer. Also be sure to consider location!
There are tons of great options to choose from! The key is to pick the best option for you.
Thanks for reading our guide to Zanzibar hotels. There are so many great hotels to choose from.
Narrowing down hotels for our list was a difficult task, but we tried to include something for everyone. Whether you want a lively, high-energy beach vacation or a low-key, secluded beach retreat, you can find it in Zanzibar!
For more on Tanzania, check out our guide to the Serengeti.