Search the best hotels in Zanzibar
Few place names conjure up such evocative visions as Zanzibar; from pure white sand beaches, Swahili culture and ruined Arab palaces, to unspoilt coral reefs and exotic food. The reality does not disappoint. Some of the most interesting and best places to stay in Zanzibar are simple barefoot luxury lodges with plenty of character and natural beauty but relatively basic facilities. Most people spend a night or two in Stone Town and then head to one of the picture-postcard beaches for some serious down-time.
Although luxury hotels with all the amenities are beginning to move in to the island, generally you're paying for a remote unspoilt location or romantic setting. Zanzibar has not yet lost its soul to the vagaries of commercial mass tourism so go now and enjoy it at its real, very real, unspoilt best.
WHAT NOT TO MISS
- Explore the picturesque winding alleys and old Arabic-style buildings of Zanzibar's main town, Stone Town.
- Sun yourself on one of Zanzibar's many postcard perfect beaches. We recommend Nungwi beach for those looking to avoid other tourists.
- Embark on one of the island's 'spice tours' and learn about Zanzibar's most profitable of trades.
- Visit Prison Island and learn of the area's dark past (slaves used to be detained here). Also find a nature reserve for giant tortoises here.
- The Palace Museum or Sultan’s Palace is perhaps Stone Town's most historic building and also offers magnificent ocean views.
Just remember that our pick of the best places to stay in Zanzibar will get booked up quickly during peak season. So if you want to ensure a highly recommended hotel, get organised and book early!
For affordable beach life
- For an affordable introduction to luxury beach life, Zanzibar style, the Pongwe Beach Hotel on the island's East coast is excellent. It owns the surrounding land so a deserted beach is guaranteed.
- Another quiet budget resort popular with honeymooners and families alike is Shooting Star Lodge, with doubles from as little as $160 per night.
- Find boho-chic at its finest at Indigo Beach, located on a perfect swathe of powder white sand, and boasting a very attractive price tag.
- Experience boutique style on a glorious stretch of white sand beach at the aptly named Next Paradise Boutique Hotel.
- For those who simply aren't satisfied by Zanzibar's picture perfect beaches why not have a whole island to yourself at Chapwani Private Island?
Best luxury places to stay in Zanzibar
- One of the best-known and certainly one of the most luxurious places to stay in Zanzibar is the Mnemba Island Lodge. Wake up in one of the romantic thatch-sided suites built on wooden platforms over the white sand and spend days having your every whim tended to by your own personal butler. Beloved of celebrities - a Hollywood salary helps.
- Another lovely if fairly pricey retreat is The Palms. That the beach is white and perfect goes without saying and the comfortable accommodation is a mix of colonial and local styles.
- Fishermen and women will enjoy the Matemwe Lodge where fishing expeditions with the locals are a highlight. The bungalows and villas look out over the reefs of the Mnemba Atoll.
Best places to stay in Zanzibar - Stone Town
- The closest thing to a hotel in our list is probably the Zanzibar Serena Inn in Stone Town. Reminiscent of an African Colonial Country Club it has white walls, dark wood furnishings and views over the Indian Ocean.
- Beyt Al Salaam, a former tea house, offers beautifully atmospheric rooms mixing African and Arabic styles and houses a fantastic restaurant.
- Get a true Zanzibarian experience at Emerson On Hurumzi, a rambling Stone Town palace, filled with fabulous antiques and boasting verandahs that overlook the Indian Ocean.
Best for the Environment
The award winning Robinson Crusoe-style eco lodge, Chumbe Island, offers state of the art, environmentally friendly bungalows along with an excellent restaurant and utter privacy.
For an apartment or villa
If you've decided that a self catering property would be more suitable for your holiday, then we recommend you visit our online booking partner, booking.com where they have a wide selection for all tastes and budgets.
International flights to Zanzibar tend to go via Tanzania. The most convenient stop in Dar es Salaam.
Ferries leave from Dar es Salaam and take around 2 hours to reach Zanzibar.
Best time to visit - Zanzibar's best weather is found between July – Oct or mid Dec - mid Jan for warm dry days (around 26°C). March is cooler and quieter and ideal for diving.
If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars for the best prices.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Zanzibar
Indigo Beach Bwejuu, Zanzibar 19 rooms from £58Beach Life - A boho-chic set up placed on a perfect stretch of powder white sand.Diving - Search for tropical fish and turtles.Barefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - I Escape
Paradise found in this boho-chic property on a perfect swathe of powder white sand. Simply decorated rooms are all crisp white on white with contemporary wooden furniture and luxurious bathrooms. There's a glorious pool, superb seafood and excellent price tag. Utterly spoiling. See More
Beyt Al Salaam Zanzibar Town (P.O. Box 3120 Shangani) 10 rooms from £92Value chic - A beautifully renovated tea house on Kelele Square, central Stone Town, with chic Zanzibari-stlye decor and wonderful seaviews.Lively - Hip and happening.Full of characterSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.
Charming, tranquil budget hotel in a former tea house. Beautiful bedrooms decorated in a fusion of Arabic and African style with four poster beds and rich colours. A relaxing lounge, great restaurant. and a host of other facilities such as spa, scuba course and banqueting. See More
Emerson on Hurumzi Zanzibar Town (Forodhani) 24 rooms from £137Local markets - Stock up on fabrics, shoes, spices and other gifts in the network of alleyways.Great walks - Explore the maze of alleys, shops and stalls of this Unesco-recognised town.Sailing - Rent a boat and sail to one of the nearby islands.Restrictions on children - Children cannot be accommodated at the hotel.Recommended by - I Escape
Shooting Star Lodge Sansibar, Zanzibar 16 rooms from £125Total relaxation - Embrace the slow pace of life- relax and rejuvenate in the spa, unwind on your private terrace and listen to the ocean.Beach Life - Make the most of the white sands and turquoise seas with snorkelling, diving, sailing, fishing and beachcombing.Families - Comfortable family rooms, plenty to occupy children with and a laid back atmosphere.Sailing - Take a local dhow or ngalawa cruise to the nearby reef and explore from above the water!
Quiet, reasonably priced resort on a glorious beach. Private bungalows boast balconies with great sea views. Pure white rooms with ornately carved four-poster beds. Lively bar and great restaurant. Spa facilities for ultimate relaxation. Friendly and attentive staff. The ideal laid back beach hotel See More
Next Paradise Boutique Hotel Pwani Mchangani, Zanzibar 20 rooms from £149Traditional - Thatched-roof buildings, with hand-carved furnitureViews - Each room has a wonderful view of the seaRomantic - Idyllic settingOutstanding location
Next Paradise provides an authentic Africa experience in a breathtaking environment. Spacious rooms, elegantly decorated with hand carved wood furniture and precious oriental textiles. Set along a white sand, palm-fringed beach, offering views of the Indian Ocean. Romantic and idyllic. See More
Pongwe Beach Hotel Pongwe, Zanzibar 16 rooms from £137Swimming Pool - Infinity PoolFishing - Hand-line fishing equippment is available on site and game-fishing can be arranged.Kayaking - Head out on the waves in the complimentary Kayaks.Full of characterRecommended by - I Escape
Chapwani Private Island Chapwani Private Island, Zanzibar 11 rooms from £137Swimming Pool - Saltwater PoolFishing - Excellent fishing nearby.On the beach - In front of the hotel.Recommended by - I Escape
White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa Zanzibar 11 rooms from £253Fishing - Zanzibar is an excellent location for both leisure, big game and deep sea fishingSwimming Pool - Outdoor swimming pool and kids' poolHideaway - A sanctuary of peace and harmonySecluded setting - For escaping.Recommended by - Tablet
Zanzibar Serena Inn Zanzibar Town 51 rooms from £298Romantic Break - Romantic suites offer fourposter beds and private hammacks, in the evening dine under the stars listening to live Taarab music.Beach Life - Right on Stone Town's seafront with a range of beach side activities from dolphin swimming to snorkelling and diving.Sights nearby - Explore the narrow lanes of Stone Town the only functioning historical city in East Africa.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - Small Luxury Hotels
A stunning hotel reminiscent of a colonial country club. White washed walls, crisp linen, dark wood furnishings. Each room has a private balcony with beautiful sea views. Multiple dining options specialise in Swahili cuisine and seafood. A great spot for seaside family fun or romantic breaks. See More
Zuri Zanzibar Zanzibar 55 rooms from £321Beach Life - Accommodation on the beach with views of the Indian Ocean and lots of sea-related activities on offerSights nearby - The UNESCO protected Stonetown is the cultural and historical heart of ZanzibarViews - Stunning views of the Indian Ocean and tropical gardenPrivate Hot Tub - Villas come with own private hot-tubs
A tropical beachfront resort comprising of private stylish villas and bungalows. Secluded rooms have a traditional feel and most enjoy fabulous sea views. The spoiling spa offers various treatments alongside yoga and meditation. Featuring a high quality restaurant and relaxing pool area. See More
Chumbe Island Zanzibar 7 rooms from £395Eco break - Fully protected coral reef sanctuary, forest reserve and eco-lodge, pioneer in marine conservation and eco tourism.Back to Nature - Forget your gadgets and be brought back to nature with an entire island to roam, encased by white sand beaches.Great walks - Head off on an intertidal walk from the island's north point to south observing the marine life, fish eagles and roseate ternsDiving - The scuba-diving in the reefs outside the sanctuary (it is forbidden inside) is utterly spectacular.Recommended by - I Escape
The Palms Zanzibar 6 rooms from £594Sailing - Try sailing in the Indian Ocean this holiday, we offer daily lessons to experience to sport and hiring for the more experienced.Cooking classes - Cooking classes are organized regularly where guests learn to prepare some classical Swahili dishes.Swimming Pool - Each villa has a private plunge pool, and all have acces to the main pool overlooking the sea.Restrictions on children - Children older than 16 years are welcome.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection
Mnemba Island Lodge Mnemba Island, Zanzibar 10 rooms from £619Honeymoons - Think candlelit dinners under the stars, longs walks along pristine white sand and secluded lodges with plush fourposter beds.Beach Life - Make the most of this private tropical island paradise, with snorkelling, fishing, beach combing and whale spotting.Diving - Mnemba Island has its own dive center which provides a range of activities for all levels of skill.Kayaking - Paddle the turquoise seas in a two man sea kayak, the perfect way to explore the coast.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection
Matemwe Lodge Matemwe, Zanzibar 12 rooms from £599Beach Life - Right on the most beautiful beach, overlooking the Indian Ocean, with diving, snorkelling, kayaking, swimming and beachcombing.Honeymoons - Tranquil, laid back and wildly romantic- swing on your double hammock, sip cocktails and dip in your private plunge pool.Diving - The on site dive school, Dhow Divers, offers outings for both beginners and experienced divers on nearby the Mnemba reefs.Sailing - Sail on the hotel dhow or with a local fisherman on his ngalawa and hopefully spot some whales and dolphins!Recommended by - I Escape
Eco chic villas with thatched roofes perched above a white sand beach. Individual bungalows and villas with private balconies and hammocks looking out to sea. A secluded spot offering total relaxation and intimacy for honeymooners. Plenty of sea activities, from big game fishing to scuba diving. See More
Constance Aiyana Pemba Island 60 rooms from £878Beach Life - Accommodation on the beach with views of the dreamy Pemba Ocean and lots of sea-related activities on offerFishing - Pemba Morning Fishing trip is a three hour fishing trip starting early at 6.30. Deep sea fishing experience also can be arrangedDiving - One of the best dive sites in the world with its untouched coral reefs, deep channels and clear visibilityKayaking - Discover the mangroves by sea-kayak
Luxury-style villas set on a beautiful beach facing the Indian ocean. Interiors are beach-chic, with white washed walls, carefully positioned driftwood and pops of colour coming from the soft furnishings. Offering a pool and a pampering full-service spa. A spoiling tropical beach retreat. See More