I stayed at Baraza for 4 nights at the end of May. I would recommend staying during this time as it is the end of the low season so the weather was perfect, prices are lower and there were no crowds. The resort did a perfect job of facilitating our requests/needs. We used them to hire our drivers to and from the ferry as well as for our day trip into town. The staff is just wonderful, so kind, attentive and great at their jobs.
From our arrival to our departure the staff made us feel like we were the only guests. And in fact, for the first night we were the only guests. The decor is charming and blends well with the lush green plants of the island. The overall design of the resort flows the living areas into the outdoors while maintaining the perfection of each environment. I was extremely impressed how clean and bug free the living areas were kept.
We stayed in one of the beach side villas, highly recommended. Plenty of space to lounge and relax. We even had our own plunge pool. Wireless internet is not inclusive but they quickly installed it at our request. Housekeeping stops by twice a day and one of our few disappointments was that they did not properly restock the mini bar each day, but the rooms were kept very clean.
We opted for the inclusive package so all our meals, poolside menu, house drinks (beer, wine, water, cocktails, to include the mini bar) were provided. Meal locations vary during the low season to give a change in atmosphere, a nice touch. The chef and kitchen staff are AMAZING, every meal was to die for. I think my favorite meal was the Swahili inspired menu. Being the only guests our first night they set up the perfect table for us by the pool, overlooking the beach. This is normally a special package you can purchase but they were kind enough to extend their generosity to us and we are extremely grateful. The food manager even coordinated a specialized breakfast menu for us the next day. It is impossible to go hungry here and I have the extra vacation pounds to prove it. After our dinner we usually stopped by the bar for cocktails. Top shelf liquor is not included so if you are in the mood for a nice scotch, as we were one night, do not expect the same generosity of pour you would get with the inclusive drinks. We asked for shisha and surprisingly (given the decor) they did not have it. However, it was provided the following evening. Afternoon tea is also included but not always provided since there were few guests, disappointing. The basic tea and coffee were disappointing given our location and natural resources and espresso is not inclusive.
Basic beach gear is inclusive and you can borrow bikes to ride along the beach or into the village. It was nice to have their other resorts just down the beach so beach gear could be swapped between the locations. The locals we encountered along the beach were very friendly and the resort security was always monitoring the beach so you felt safe. The reef walk takes time and is a bit perilous with all the sea urchins. Don't try to do it the morning of your departure.
The spa was lovely. However, it was often booked from other nearby resort guests, or maybe they had less manning. We were able to eventually schedule all the services we wanted. My foot massage was great, the Sultan's package is maybe not worth the price.
We also had a delay in booking our driver/guide for our day trip into Stone Town. I assume the resort wants to ensure we have the highest quality of service. Quality comes with a price so if you are on a budget make sure to discuss the charges before you leave, however, our trip was worth the price. Stone town and the spice tour can be fit into one day. I would not recommend trying to do more. We squeezed in a trip to Prison island at the last minute which minimized our leisure time, however, were never ever rushed by the staff or guides. If you can, take two days for tours so you can shop and enjoy the island. We had lunch at Mercury's which is Freddie Mercury's restaurant right by the ferry port. Probably a bit overpriced but tasty food and fun environment. I would also recommend taking half a day for the monkey preserve tour but you could, as we did, stop by the day of your departure if you have a late afternoon flight/boat.
-Bring bug spray or buy some local lemongrass oil because I was eaten alive the first night, mosquitoes and ants are everywhere.
-The drive into town can take up to an hour so if you want to be close to "action" this is not the place but the serenity is worth the drive. And the island is beautiful, roads are in good condition so it's a nice drive.
-Don't be afraid to negotiate prices for souvenirs. If you run out of time the gift shops at the airport sell almost everything and are opened 24hrs.
Overall I love Baraza, Zanzibar and Tanzania. I can't wait to go back. I will be going back with friends, family or a couples get away for as long as I can travel.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.