Zanzibar has quickly become one of the most popular island destinations. Its sandy beaches, sky blue waters, and balmy climate make it a coveted destination for tourists from around the world. When planning your visit to Zanzibar, deciding where to stay is one of the most important aspects.
In this article, we look at the best resorts in Zanzibar – for those who are looking to add an element of luxury to their tropical vacation.
The best resorts in Zanzibar offer an ideal mix of amenities, food, location, resort lifestyle, and local culture. Zanzibar is packed with amazing resorts, so narrowing them down was tough. We’ve included a diverse mix of options, so you can find something that suits your preferences and your budget.
Of course, quality resorts don’t come cheap. If you’re looking for more economic travel options, check out our list of the best hotels in Zanzibar.
1. The Residence Zanzibar
We start our list with the Residence Zanzibar. This is one of Zanzibar’s premier resorts, and it’s easy to see why.
Situated on the northeast tip of Zanzibar’s main island, the resort is located in quieter more isolated area of the island with less tourists.
Check out the peaceful beach, lounge by the pool, wander the gardens, or relax in your own spacious villa.
The rooms at this resort are a sight to behold. There are many different sized suites or villas available – you can even opt for a personal butler. The villas are like mini luxury-apartments and have big windows that look out onto the Indian Ocean.
The resort is packed with activities and amenities for the whole family, including a gym, various water sports and equipment, bike rentals, and so much more. The Residence Zanzibar is one of the most popular resorts in Zanzibar for a reason.
2. Zawadi Hotel Zanzibar
Next on our list we have the Zawadi Hotel. The Zawadi Hotel is consistently one of the highest rated all-inclusive resorts in Zanzibar.
Located on the eastern side of the main island, you can find Zawadi just North of Dongwe beach. The eastern side of the island is where you’ll find the majority of Zanzibar’s popular beaches.
The view is absolutely breathtaking. The resort is perched atop a small cliff that dips to give guests access to a sandy white beach down a short staircase.
The sizeable villas are decked out with luxurious furniture and appliances. Each villa even has its own outdoor area with a private plunge pool. Take in the stunning views of the Indian Ocean.
Overall, it’s an excellent modern resort in the perfect location. The food is great, the amenities are awesome, and there’s so much to do. What more could you ask for?
3. Double Tree by Hilton Resort Zanzibar
The Double Tree by Hilton straddles the middle line between luxury-hotel and resort. It’s a great place to stay, that has deservedly earned it’s spot on our list.
The Double Tree is located in Nungwi, which is one of Zanzibar’s most popular tourist towns. The streets of Nungwi are lined with plenty of options for food, drinks and shopping.
Since it’s located in one of Zanzibar’s most popular towns, the streets and beaches have the potential to be quite crowded, especially during high season.
If you’re looking for a high-energy beach vacation, this resort is a great choice. The room options are varied, but all are quite spacious and contain comfortable beds and modern amenities. The resort features a swim-up bar, restaurant and plenty of areas to relax throughout the grounds.
All guests at The Double Tree get access to the sandy white beach, but it can get quite crowded during the day, so get there early to claim a spot.
4. Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort
Here’s another quality beach resort located in Nungwi. This is a high-quality option that won’t break the bank. Though not exactly comparable to some other resorts on our list, it’s still a very luxurious accommodation option.
Situated on a large property with great views of the Indian Ocean, the Royal Zanzibar has plenty to explore, including swimming pools, a fitness center, and a games room.
Guest rooms are spacious and comfortable with sizes from 80 sq. m. to 100 sq. m. All feature private balconies with ocean views.
5. Baraza Resort and Spa
The Baraza all-inclusive resort is situated on the eastern side of the main island, right on Dongwe beach.
Inspired by Zanzibar’s Arabic influence, the resort’s regal décor and art throughout the common areas and the guest rooms are reminiscent of a sultan’s palace.
The luxurious property features rich gardens, secluded swimming pools, and plenty of spots to relax. The resort boasts excellent food and top notch service.
Baraza is steps away from Dongwe beach – a spacious white sandy beach, with shallow warm waters ideal for swimming.
6. Essque Zalu Zanzibar
The Essque Zalu is situated on the northern tip of Zanzibar, also in Nungwi. The Essque Zalu is a boutique resort. With only 40 suites and eight villas, this is a great destination for a quiet vacation. A lush green forest separates the resort from the hustle & bustle of Nungwi, so it truly feels like a secluded getaway.
Each suite is decorated with locally sourced goods and native artwork, providing guests with authentic Zanzibari culture and design.
The resort houses two restaurants and three bars with delicious local food options. Don’t forget to check out the elegant spa, pools, and state-of-the-art fitness center.
If you’re looking for something a little quieter and more secluded, Essque Zalu is an excellent choice.
7. Zuri Zanzibar
The Zuri Zanzibar is another resort you’re sure to love. It’s situated on the northwest side of the main island, nestled away in its own private location on shore. The resort boasts a 300-meter private beach that’s free of busy foot-traffic from the surrounding areas.
Accommodations sport modern African design that are fun, bright, and full of life. Guests can choose from a bungalow, a suite, or a villa. Explore the resort’s many amenities, including a fitness centre, a pool, and a games room for kids.
The resort is situated in a lush, green jungle forest with excellent vantage points from almost anywhere. It’s one of our top picks on this list, and we think it has the coolest design of any resort we’ve encountered in Zanzibar.
8. Tulia Zanzibar
The 2018 winner of “Best Luxury Beach Resort in Africa,” the Tulia Zanzibar, caps off our list.
The Tulia Zanzibar is situated on the eastern shore of the main island with a private beach for resort guests. If you’re looking for true seclusion, this adult-focused resort is it.
The resort encourages relaxation, tranquility and natural-living. The Tulia offers free yoga classes, weekly spa sessions, and tailored activity plans for each guest’s unique needs.
If you’re looking for an active, healthy and laid-back experience, The Tulia is a great spot!
Further Information for Booking Your Stay
Best Time to Visit Zanzibar
Knowing when to book your trip is just as important as knowing where to go. Zanzibar experiences rainy and dry seasons so be prepared.
Rainy season in Zanzibar is considered low season for tourism. Avoid Zanzibar from March to May, where frequent torrential rain and monsoon-like conditions are prominent. There’s a good chance that your beach vacation will get rained out in these months.
There’s a less intense rainy season from November to December. During these months, there are still great pockets of perfect weather.
It’s a good time to book your trip if you want to score some deals and avoid some of the crowds. Although, it’s still pretty crowded around the Christmas holidays.
High season (or dry season) in Zanzibar is from June to October and late December to February. You’ll get tropical heat mixed with endless blue sky. Be prepared for crowded beaches and more expensive accommodations during this time though. We recommend you book your favorite resort well in advance.
Which is the best part of Zanzibar to Stay?
The resorts in Zanzibar are almost all located on the main island of Unguja (referred to simply as “Zanzibar”). This island has something for everyone and offers different experiences depending on travellers’ needs.
On the Northern tip of Zanzibar are the lively towns of Nungwi and Kendwa. These beach towns house many resorts and places to eat, shop, and drink.
The eastern shore of Zanzibar is packed with beaches, local villages, and other destinations. The beaches on Zanzibar’s eastern shore tend to be quieter and more secluded, but there are definite exceptions. Generally speaking, the closer to a main village or town, the more crowded the beach.
The western shore of Zanzibar is home to Zanzibar City, Zanzibar’s capital and main urban center, including historic Stone Town. Though generally free of traditional beach resorts, there are plenty of places to stay.
Zanzibar has a lot to offer. With so much choice, you have the freedom to pick a resort that suits your personal preferences.
Thanks for checking out our guide to the best resorts in Zanzibar. Zanzibar is world-class destination for beach life and resort vacationing.
There’s plenty to choose from in our list. Consider what you are looking for in a tropical destination, then match your needs to an option on our list. You can’t go wrong!