Answering your question: Zanzibar was completely different from all The places I visited before. My up-to day beach and leisure destinations were mostly Europe (Chroatia, France, Italy, Spain), Egyptian Red Sea resorts, and Florida. I don’t think you can compare these places to equatorial Africa.
I found Zanzibar to be the place of contrasts – from the most luxurious resorts and the local villages where life seems to not chance since many centuries. You might be right that there are better places for beach holiday. Zanzibar is poor, remote, quite pricy (true!) and there are problems with – to us – basic services like internet, electricity or decent shopping). It is bothersome that sometimes you see the lack of care for local heritage, ruined palaces, public places) but one needs to remember that it is a very poor country still ruled by a post-communist, revolutionary regime.
I had a great and very mind-opening time in Zanzibar. The purpose of my trip was to have some leisure time during the first week (staring at the palm trees, reading in hammock, eating well) and some work done during the second week, as I traveled with a TV crew shooting a show on Zanzibar’s cultural and historic heritage and cuisine. Both goals were well accomplished.
Will Zanzibar become my favorite vacationing spot? Probably not. There are so many other places to see. Do I regret my trip there? No- I had a great time and learned a lot.
Hope this answers your question.