This hotel was truly brilliant.
In terms of staff we would like to particularly mention Haji (in the downstairs restaurant), Valentino (upstairs) and Mohamed (reception). These were particularly friendly and really added to our experience. However every single member of staff including those that serviced the room, worked round the pool, worked on the pier, tended to the gardens and in the restaurants (amongst others) were all excellent.
Two recommendations: firstly visit the 'aquarium' 2 minutes walk from the hotel entrance. Actually, a recommendation to NICHOLAS the hotel general manager: advertise this place! It is not really an aquarium and really a turtle sanctuary that takes injured turtles to rehabilitate them. But whilst they are recovering you can swim with them in a lovely pool. They are clearly well looked after, the small fee paid to swim with them goes to good use, and the turtles seem to genuinely enjoy some human company in their pool!
Secondly, if you are interested in Scuba Diving, go to Diving Poisedon. Each morning they arranged a taxi to pick us up from the hotel at the appropriate time (typically 8.45) and it cost USD 6. We paid for 10 dives plus a few more which were USD 39 each. Fantastic dive shop and thoroughly recommended.
Back to the hotel: it is awesome. That's an overused word, but it really is. From when you walk in, to when you are inside, to when you are looking at it from the private pier (in fact from the dive boat too) you cannot help but be in awe.
A note about the food: Dinner is Michelin standard. We live in London and have eaten in many Michelin star restaurants. The dinner (downstairs, included in the DBB rate) is better than many of the meals we have had in these London Michelin restaurants. Whilst the price paid per night at the hotel is a lot; by UK standards at least the meal we enjoyed each night is easily worth over half the cost. The wine list is by no means exaggerated either. We had some lovely red and white at about GBP 20 per bottle.
Breakfast was a vast choice and excellent. Again the staff were very good. We didn't eat lunch a lot (when you've filled up at breakfast and have dinner to look forward to...) but when we did it was excellent.
My Mrs had a massage and said it was the best she's ever had. She's paid a lot of money in London, and had massages in Thailand, India and many other locations. So I think that's a pretty significant compliment...
Another suggestion: One day we substituted our dinner on our half board rate for lunch, and went to a trip advisor highly recommended restaurant in Nungwi. It was OK. But not a patch on dinner at Zalu. Try Nungwi restaurants if you like, but don't sacrifice dinner in Zalu.
Finally a note about prices. Some reviews we read before arrival suggested high prices. Of course, it depends on your point of comparison. A bottle of 500ml nice lager is the equivalent of GBP 4. A lovely Caesar salad at lunch was GBP 12. Double baileys is about GBP 4. Compared to a bar in Nungwi, yes it costs more. Compared to London it's about the same. Is it fair given its a 5* hotel?- YES, beyond any doubt.
This is quite a truly brilliant hotel, at a very fair price. The staff are a credit to Nicholas and his team. Go here and enjoy,x
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Essque Zalu Zanzibar is an intimate boutique destination nestled in a natural cove on the island’s north-eastern coast overlooking the Indian Ocean. Choose from 40 suites, all with picturesque views over the lush tropical garden or the ocean turquoise blue. Ensconce yourself in luxurious-styled spaces crafted from local materials, adorned with native artwork and housed under a traditional pitched Makuti roof. If you need extra space to spread out, try one of our nine expansive villas; 3 or 4 bedrooms. Stretch out in the spacious living room, rustle up a snack in your own kitchen or just chill in the privacy of your very own plunge pool. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Essque Zalu Zanzibar Hotel Nungwi
- Essque Zalu Zanzibar Zanzibar Island/Nungwi