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“Fantastically restful experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Anna of Zanzibar

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Anna of Zanzibar
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   South East Coast, Bwejuu 3185, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 12 Hotels in Bwejuu
Seattle, WA
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
“Fantastically restful experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

My husband and I spent a week at Anna after a weeklong safari. It was an amazing place and I would absolutely return. It was very private but there were opportunities to socialize with other guests if you wanted to.

The room: We stayed in the Frangipani villa - it was enormous for just the two of us. Large bedroom which was beautifully decorated with fresh flowers on the bed every day. The bathroom was equally large with a giant tiled rain shower. There was plenty of closet space, but there weren't very many hangers provided. The villa also had a living room, but we didn't really make much use of it. There was a mini-fridge in the living room stocked with sodas and water. When we drank the waters, they got re-stocked, but when we drank the sodas, they weren't replaced. We didn't notice that until several days had passed and we didn't complain about it. The housekeeping was pretty good, although they didn't replace our bathroom glasses (we have to brush our teeth out of a cup because of water quality issues on the island) for two days straight and we had to ask for this to be done.
My one complaint with the room is that the bed was extremely squeaky. My husband is a restless sleeper, which I never notice when I'm at home because our bed is relatively quiet. However, at Anna, I generally awoke every night to the sound of the bed squeaking and creaking as my husband flopped around from his stomach to his back to his side. Very frustrating, but not something we thought we could do anything about so we didn't mention it to the staff - in hindsight, maybe we should have.
As an aside, two of the five villas are beach adjacent with a partial ocean view - so if that's important to you, be sure to ask for it. Our villa had a garden/ppol view and was beautiful. I might have preferred the ocean villa, but I have no complaints from our villa's garden view - it's not like we spent a lot of time on our villa patio.

The food: Amazing. After each meal, we were presented with a menu for the next meal and asked where we wanted to dine. We could order off that menu or, if we didn't care for the menu choices, we could order anything we wanted to. Seriously. Anything. When we arrived, I mentioned to Niccy, the resort manager, that I loved lobster and would order it every night if I could - and she said I could if I wanted to. So I did. And they did not disappoint. It was amazing. The one drawback to being told that you can order anything you want is that when given limitless options, your mind suddenly blanks and you can't think of a single thing you want. But fear not - the menu choices were both delicious and creative. There's no real snack food available between meals, although you could always request a snack at any point - but there would be a lag between request and service because they make everything fresh - even potato chips or roasted cashews! (Yummy, BTW)

The service: This is the tough part of the review for me to write. On the one hand, service was extremely attentive and anything we asked for was provided without question. On the other hand, though, meal service was relatively slow, which is perhaps the point of an island vacation which I should treasure rather than question. Because the resort doesn't have an official dining room, you choose where on property to have each daily meal - the pool, the beach, the main house, or your villa. The farther you are from the main house, the longer your meals take - and the servers don't multi-task when they serve you. So there is one trip to bring you an app, then another trip to clear your apps, then another trip to bring your main. Lunch was typically an hour-long affair. Perhaps I should be more grateful that I never felt rushed, but it did seem to take a little longer than was reasonable sometimes.
Another point where I think Anna could improve is that although the staff was absolutely willing to bring us anything we asked for, when we were at the pool or at the beach, the staff didn't generally proactively circulate to offer us drinks or snacks. I found, however, that once one couple on the beach would ask a staffer to bring them something, that would often inspire them to check with the other guests to see if they'd like anything as well. Overall, it's not a big deal, but it would have been nice if they had been proactive about offering snacks or drinks rather having to ask for them.

The beach and pool areas: First off, there was nothing more relaxing than sitting on the beach listening to the waves roll up on the shore. I should mention that the ocean bed on this part of the island is made of coral so it's not a great swimming/frolicking area, but if you don't care about swimming in the ocean, then it doesn't really matter.
We typically spent our mornings at the beach, then had lunch beachside, and then spent our afternoons up at the pool because the beach got a bit windy in the afternoon. There are 5 villas on the property with a beach umbrella and pair of comfy beach chairs for each villa. I've read other reviews that indicate more than 2 people stay in the villas sometimes, in those cases I'm not sure how the umbrella/chair allocation works out since the umbrellas aren't technically assigned to the villas. The pool area has 4 cabanas, which concerned me at first since there are 5 villas and only 4 poolside cabanas - however it was never a problem. There was never even a time when more than 3 cabanas were being used at once during our weeklong stay.

Activities: There aren't a whole lot of things to do *at* Anna, but they can arrange for excursions off-property. We went on the wild dolphin swim - which I highly recommend. The boat was of questionable safety quality (our captain was a teenager who smoked while sitting on a gas can and the young teen first mate spent most of the trip bailing water out of the bottom of the boat with a gallon bucket), but the experience of going out to the area of the ocean where the dolphins normally hang out and getting into the water with them was amazing. Because we shared the boat with another couple from our resort, we paid only $60/couple for a couple hours on the water. Quite a bargain, actually.
Niccy also arranged for a sunset Dhow cruise on our last night on the island. The water was so calm and glassy it was amazing.

Other stuff: The wifi at the resort is pretty great. No real speed problems to speak of - I was even able to have a Skype call with a friend back in the US once. They discourage downloading large files because of their data subscription plan, but we didn't experience any problems with the wifi.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were several cats hanging around the resort (I was really missing my home cats by this point of our trip). There were also a couple of dogs - both the cats and dogs were anxious for any loving attention they could get. I felt especially sorry for one of the cats who seemed particularly thin - apparently it was a cat that lived elsewhere and would just come to visit the resort.

Overall, our experience at Anna of Zanzibar was fantastic. Despite the few complaints we had with the service, this is a fantastic resort and a restful escape from the bustle of real life. Niccy and her staff do an amazing job of making every guest feel welcome and cared for. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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145 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Norwegian first
  • Any
English first
Zurich, Switzerland
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

- True privacy (only 5 bungalows)
- Welcoming and warmhearted atmosphere
- Hughe bugalows, charmingly decorated with old Zanzibar chests and colonial style furniture
- The best shower facilities we had during our entire trip
- Excellent food (Try the grilled lobster !). You can freely choose when and where
(beach, terrace, restaurant, at the pool) you want to have your meals
- The beach is absolutely beautiful but not ideal for swimming (coral rocks, sea urchins)
- Special thanks to Nicci for her Stonetown shopping recommendation (just ask her if you are
looking for some antiques souvenirs !)

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lusaka, Lusaka, Zambia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

We spent 5 happiest days in Anna Of Zanzibar, and one of them was actually our wedding day!!! Niccy and the team went all the way for us, creating a day of our dreams. We got anything we could wish for, and much much more... Truly unforgettable experience, wonderful people, amazing location, lush villas and delicious food...the list goes on forever! They really do make you feel like the most important guest. The villas are always spotless, with huge bathrooms and fresh flowers every day. The food is to die for, and we definitely put on a few kgs in 5 days spent in Anna :) The staff gets you anything before you could even think of it. And, of course, wedding with Anna is truly special. We didn't have to think about anything, all the documents, decorations, sunset cruise, - it all was professionally organised for us. And our wedding dinner in wonderfully decorated gazebo was truly amazing! We really could not rate this place highly enough!!!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cheshire
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

Just back from a fabulous second visit to Anna. Beautiful villas set in tropical gardens with ocean views, furnished thoughtfully with Zanzibari furniture and fabrics, and plenty of space to relax inside or on the terrace. The new bathrooms are huge with excellent details - large mirror, convenient power points for the hairdryer, locally hand made soap and kikoy robes. Also new to the villas is the coffee machine (which also makes a lovely cup of tea!). Lovely food with plenty of choice and emphasis on fresh local produce (watch the fishermen catching octopus on the reef during the day then enjoy it for dinner), for us the seafood dishes were always a first choice, along with the chef"s hand made pasta and bread. Excellent service from a very professional team of staff who have some of the biggest smiles on the island and will be happy to set up your table wherever you wish - lunch at the beach was hard to beat. New since our last visit is the wonderful spa; sensible prices, great massage and excellent facials using great products (Africology). Anna has a great position on the beach, comfortable sunbeds with plenty of shade and a great vantage point to watch all the activity on the reef at low tide, also perfect for long walks, either along the beach or out to the reef at low tide.
A wonderfully relaxing holiday, a real 'get away from it all' trip. Thank you Niccy and team!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

Five discreet and comfortable villas with large bathrooms amidst garden and large beach front on stunning beach. Glorious white sand. Lovely communal rooms with super furnishings and books and dvds and games etc. No dress code!
3 excellent meals a day with loads of choice and served on the beach or the main house or wherever! Wonderful service from charming staff.
Not just for honeymoooners but I can understand why it would be a super choice but a lovely ambience created by the owner;: meals together if we wanted that, including a fabulous pizza evening by the pizza oven and then a fish barbeque where we all ate together, but no insistence on doing so and otherwise lovely privacy.. Talented and charming masseuse.
Kite surfing etc along the beach or available at many locations nearby. Great wind. Lovely climate now (July/Aug). Great coffee. I could not rate this place more highly/ We wanted for nothing! Drivers,taxis,arrangements all organised with ease and gentility and helpfulness,.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamburg, Germany
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

Anna of Zansibar is a unique resort. Great hospitality, wonderful team. A management that reads wishes from your lips before you even told. Outstanding food and super privacy made our stay a perfect one. Anna is a place we will visit again.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

We stayed at Anna of Zanzibar after a week-long safari as part of our honeymoon. The place is absolutely made for honeymooners -- the private villas are really very private, being served 3 meals a day whenever you want wherever you want (pool, beach, private veranda, lounge area) is heaven, the spa and masseuse are incredible, and all of the staff were incredibly accommodating and helpful. Niccy, the manager, is very friendly and takes great care of all her guests and Michael, the owner, is really welcoming as well. Our waiter, David, was always smiling and friendly (and spoke surprisingly great English). The masseuse at the spa on site gives incredible massages and is very warm. Plus, the spa treatments are pretty affordable compared to the U.S. And finally, Mr. Bean, the resort dog, is just about the sweetest dog I have ever met. At the resort, they really went out of their way to make sure everything we could possibly wish for was provided - on multiple nights after dinner, we wanted to lay out and stare at the stars, so the staff went and found the cushions for the lounge chairs by the pool and by the beach and made us comfortable with drinks and hookah. On our last night there, the staff prepared a huge seafood feast for us in a romantically decorated gazebo -- they even used palm leaves to weave floral archways to decorate the entrance to the gazebo. The whole experience was completely amazing, and we wish we could have stayed another 1-2 days. There were only 2 down-sides: 1) the mosquitoes. I don't imagine they are any worse at Anna versus any other resort in Zanzibar, but be prepared at night, because they are definitely aggressive and annoying. Anna can spray down your villa to get rid of them while they are doing turn-down service, but there's no way to avoid them outside at night. 2) the excursions. Anna of Zanzibar seems to outsource these to other companies. We did a sunset dhow ride (total disaster in every way), snorkeling trip (ok, but the guides provided zero instructions even though we were very inexperienced, and seemed like they were more interested in having their own fun than in helping us), Stone Town tour (seemed like they weren't expecting us when we arrived in Stone Town and found us a tour guide last minute), and spice farm tour (this was actually pretty fun and executed well). As a trend, it seemed like the guides for these excursions spoke very poor English and did not really have a service-oriented mentality the way that the staff at Anna did. If we could do it over, we would probably have stayed longer and just stayed within the resort at Anna for more of the time we were there.

Room Tip: There is one villa where the front door literally opens onto the beach. I don't know what it...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Anna of Zanzibar

Address: South East Coast, Bwejuu 3185, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Bwejuu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Bwejuu
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Bwejuu
#1 Luxury Hotel in Bwejuu
#2 Romantic Hotel in Bwejuu
#3 Family Hotel in Bwejuu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Anna of Zanzibar 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Private and exclusive boutique hotel with 5 superb villas only. Situated on the east coast of Zanzibar with a beautiful beach. Swimming pool, spa, bar, restaurant with superb seafood. Activities include diving, fishing, boat trips and more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Anna Of Zanzibar Hotel Bwejuu
Anna Of Zanzibar Bwejuu

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