From the minute you arrive at The Residence you know you're going to be very well looked after. Refreshing drinks and frangipani scented cooling towels are welcome as you are checked in and briefed by the friendly reception staff.
The Residence has about 60 villas so as you can imagine the hotel grounds are rather large and spacious. This is fine as bicycles are provided with the villa for every guest to get around or alternatively you can call the consierge service and have a club cart drive you around the grounds if you prefer (or if it happens to be raining). Apart from check in and check out we preferred to walk around as the gardens are well kept and very beautiful.
The Villas are spacious and very well equipped, probably the most elegantly finished and furnished that I have experienced on Zanzibar. Flat screen TV, ipod dock, mini bar and fantastic tea and coffee making facilities (with plenty of water) are all present and the welcome pastries and biscuits are a very nice touch. The en- suite facilities are also top notch with separate toilet (and bidet), high pressure shower and bathroom facilities. There's even a cold water shower outside for cooling down in the midday heat.
Our ocean front villa was literally 20 metres from the beach which means that the villas infintity pool may not feel very private. If you're looking for a more private pool experience you may want to think about staying in a prestige garden pool villa instead. This wasn't too much of an issue as the beach was generally quite quiet and there are no beach boys hanging around trying to sell you stuff.
If you're staying on half board there is a set menu with a choice of two starters, two mains and two desserts in the main dining hall. If you wish to dine a la carte, the hotel will give you credit of $50 US per person against the bill which is a great idea and offers more choice. It can work out roughly the same if you're only looking to have two courses. The wine is good quality and quite expensive but you can have the bottle kept for dinner the next night if you don't fancy drinking the whole bottle in one go.
There is also the Pavillion which is often open for dinner offering six course themed dining French, Italian, Swahili) as part of the half board. They will even bring your bottle from the dining hall if you wish. The food here and in the dining hall is excellent and the waiting staff are friendly and attentive. You can also have meals served at your villa if you prefer a more private experience.
There's lots to enjoy here with an excellent spa and kids club facilities. There are different activities scheduled for kids everyday for different age groups from 08.00 to 19.30 and there's even a child minding service outside of these hours if Mum and Dad would like to have a quiet meal together later in the evening.
Snorkeling, Kayaking, Pedalo and Hobby Cat activities are also included but snorkelling from the boat needs to be arranged 24 hours in advance to guarantee a place on the boat from the jetty.
Most of your time at The Residence will revolve around the villa and meal times but there are tours and excursions available if you get itchy feet and fancy some exploration and adventure away from the resort.
Breakfast offers an extensive buffet selection with everything you could possibly think of from cereals, pastries, a selection of tropical fruits, cooked items including eggs to order, bacon has rounds and three different types of sausage, yogurt, museli.... the list goes on. We were due to check out early on our last day and you can have anything delivered to you villa from 04.00 in the morning!
This is a slick and professional operation and one of the few true European 5 star standard hotels in Zanzibar. If you are looking for elegant luxury in a quiet and beautiful location then this is the place for you. The beach is good but doesn't boast the coral white sand of the East Coast but in blance doesn't suffer from the same tidal variations. Be aware that extras like drinks and food not included can be quite expensive which can add up during a long stay if you're not careful but this is to be expected with such fine dining and service on offer.
This place is perfect for honeymoon couples and families alike looking for a luxurious and elegant beach resort that delivers a very high standard of service and dining.
Choose a presitge villa for that little bit more space. Garden pool villas offer a little more priva...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.