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“An exceptional holiday in this luxurious paradise”

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Essque Zalu Zanzibar
Ranked #5 of 19 Hotels in Nungwi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 16, 2012

First visit to Zanzibar for a long two week holiday, after seeing the photos of the hotel online I couldn't wait to see it for myself. It is just over an hour to drive there by taxi from the airport, but it is well worth the journey! As we arrived we were warmly greeted by the staff, we were shown around while they quickly took care of the bags. There's a great choice of rooms depending on your budget and party size.

The hotel, rooms and restaurants are beautifully designed and furnished, giving it a lovely clean, comfortable and special feel. The staff are polite and friendly, they learnt all our names, made us feel at home and it really makes a difference.

There are three restaurants, the market kitchen where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. The nightly menu is fixed with three, four course options: normal menu, vegetarian or swahili. The normal menu and vegetarian change every night and the staff will gladly mix and match a little if you fancy more than one dish on a paricular night. You can eat the normal nightly menu upstairs underneath the full expanse of the large thatched roof. They also have a special menu upstairs with more game meat options and the biggest chocolate dessert...! Then there's the jetty, sat out above the water where we would have lunch, it is more of a swahili menu with chapati wraps, kebabs, beautiful salads and seafood. The food was absolutely delicious and we didn't tire of it at all even after two weeks. It was great to explore the different cuisine and fruits of the island.

People have commented on the beach, there is one, but you do need to make an effort and consult the tide planner! Zanzibar has quite a large tidal range, over four meters on spring tides. When sunbathing does it mater if you're bed is on sand? We had hours to walk all the way up the beach to a beautiful sand bar surrounded by the crystal clear seawater. If you head the other way you get to Nungwi in less than 10 minutes. As the tide comes in, it does stir up the sand and so the water is not clear at high tide. You can swim off the end of the jetty where you can also lounge on sunbeds by the bar!

A really impressive hotel that seems unique as it settles into it's landscape with the thatched roof designs of all the buildings. The food was outstanding that it was very easy to order far more than you can manage! I didn't take a close look at any other hotels around the island, but I don't know how they could come anywhere close to the quality of Zalu.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Sn00pycat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 14, 2012

Having read all the rave reviews from previous guests from the Zalu, I was doubtful that any hotel could actually be that good. I was wrong! We stayed for 2 weeks and I can honestly say that the hotel is flawless, and one of the best that I have enjoyed anywhere in the world.
The food is outstanding and world class. The architecture of the main building deserves a visit from Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs. The staff are polite, friendly, professional and very helpful. For those few previous guests who criticised the staff's grasp of the English language, I have some advice - please stay at home. I would recommend that if you have not visited Zalu, you should do so as quickly as possible.

Room Tip: All are excellent and the choice depends on the size of your party and the size of your budget.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Fivestarpete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2012

As a professional hotelier for the last 17 years I had the chance to work and see my share of luxury hotels around the world. I have to say that Essque Zalu has fulfilled all my expectations. Not only the location was splendid with amazing view of the Indian Ocean with the fishing boat in the back ground but the staff were doing their upmost at all times to ensure that you were having a great time. The General Manager, Nicolas, gave us a warm welcome on arrival and was present at all times if needed from breakfast to dinner which is quiet rare nowadays. The food was excellent, the products fresh, surely organic, tasteful and perfectly cooked. The fish was to die for with a perfect moistly flesh and firm without being overcooked.
Thanks to Essque Zalu and its team we had one of our best holiday ever and trust me being from the industry it is hard to please us as we tend to have the eye on all the details around us.
Nothing looked too difficult, the staff were beautifully dresses and always welcomed you with a honest smile "Jambo".
I would not recommend any other hotel in Zanzibar and would ask Nicolas to recommend some local restaurants nearby so that you have the chance to experience Zanzibar with all its charms.
I almost forgot to mention the spa, my wife thought it was the best massage she ever had. The therapists were friendly, professional and very well trained using beautiful natural African products.
Thank you to all the team and to Nicolas for a better holiday that we could have imagined. We will keep fond memories of Essque Zalu and hope to be able to come back one day.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TonyBellony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

This hotel is by far the best we have stayed in and deserves its place at Number 1 in Nungwi on Trip Advisor. Every part of our stay was excellent from an efficient check in (very fast with no paperwork!), beautiful accommodation, helpful and friendly staff and faultless food in the restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The pool is large and perfect to relax by. There is plenty of space between the sun loungers and it was nice to sit and listen to the ocean. We loved the 'special time' mocktails and fruit in the mornings which were always served with a smile and a chat.

Breakfast is 'deli style' which makes a great change from the buffets that many five star resorts offer. There is a great choice of dishes to start the day and the swordfish is particularly good. We tried lunch both in the market kitchen and on the jetty restaurant, each have different menus and specialities to try depending on your mood. The dinner menu in the market kitchen is also worth a special mention, a choice a three different menus each night (a regular menu, veggie menu and Swahili menu). The food was of a very high standard and the wait staff are very attentive.

We had some great evenings at the Jetty bar and the main bar. Cocktails are all freshly made and the piña colada was divine!!! We were served canapés with some of our drinks in both bars which was a lovely and unexpected touch.

The spa treatments were very good, with each treatment starting with a foot soak and massage.

Customer service here is exceptional and all staff want to provide the best service. It was also nice to meet some of the senior staff / management around the hotel to share our feedback on the service and food. It is quite clear that the management take great pride in this hotel and this shines through in all aspects resulting in a memorable stay.

The location of the hotel is around an hour from stone town.

The only one point to note is that the prices in the boutique are high ($25 for 90ml of suncream) so best to be a little more organized than us and take plenty of supplies with you!

Overall we cannot speak highly enough of this hotel, the management have certainly got it right and we would definately recommend this hotel.

Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Denise P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2012

as a newly retiree, I like to travel a fair bit and explore places I have heard about.
That is exactly why I have decided to go to Zanzibar.
This hotel was not my first choice as I wanted to go to a known brand to make sure I would receive quality service.
My travel agent has convinced me to try the Essque property and I thank him for it.
The employees in this hotel didn't know what to do so that we would leave with lasting memories of the hotel and their country. there was nothing they would not try to do for us.
the food was simply delicious. the pool was enormous, the villa was spacious and well equipped. we have taken a set of shower amenities as a souvenir...
I don't know if we will go back as we like to change destinations but, just like my travel agent, I will encourage everyone I know to spend their holidays in this paradise

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank denis g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2012

Two friends and I recently rounded off a trip to Zanzibar by staying for a few nights at the incomparable 'Essque Zalu'. On arriving at the imposing and awe inspiring cathedral height entrance, we were immediately greeted by Edgar, our fantastic 'Navigator', (Butler). No tedious check in here but, straight way Edgar guided us to our accommodation pointing out the myriad choice of restaurants and bars, the jetty, spa and enormous main pool with jacuzzi and hydrotherapy jet.

We were lucky enough to be staiying in one of the there bedroom Private Villas and with no word of a lie we were all rendered speechless by the luxury of it all: three vast bedrooms all with plasma screens, huge marble bathrooms with freestanding bath, power shower, heaps of fluffy towel, gowns & abundant luxurious products. We even had our own massage room with yet another amazing bathroom as well as a fully euipped kitchen. The ground floor 'Great Room' overlooking our private deck & pool had yet another plasma screen enormous sofa piled with cushions and a dining table seating up eight. Outside was another huge table for Alfresco eating and some super comfortable recliners. Edgar took great delight in pointing out at the touch of a button our pool became a frothy jacuzzi!

We checked in here which took a matter of minutes while our welcome drink of a chilled, fresh coconut each arrived - delicious! That evening we had invited some friends to the resort's jetty bar for sundowners & I realised I needed clothes pressed pronto. No problem - Edgar whisked them off and within half an hour they returned immaculate on hangers.

Pre arranged bottles of bubbles awaited us at the gorgeous jetty bar out on the Indian ocean with an incredible view of the sparklingly lit hotel behind us, the stunning sunset in front. Yummy complimentary nibbles including some delicious prawns arrived without evn asking. Needless to say, our guests, all staying in other establishments in the locality were suitably impressed!

All meals we had whether on the Jetty, Market Kitchen or A la Carte restaurant were top class and even when we arrived embarrassingly late for breakfast one day, it didn't even raise an eyebrow from the ever helpful and friendly staff.

My Spa treatment with a lovely lady called Philomena was absolutely fantastic. I was only sorry that I had to leave the following morning, otherwise I would have booked some more!

We had to leave the hotel at the ungodly hour of 4.30 a.m but, again, this wasn't a problem at Zalu. Our alarm call awoke us in plenty of time, our bags were collected despite protests that we could manage on our own and we even received freshly baked pastries for our breakfast en route. Amazing!

A big thank you to the charming General Manager, Nicholas, and his team for looking after us so well. We will most certainly be back!

Room Tip: Private Villas are superb.....
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank loungelover1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2012

My wife and I have stayed in quite a few boutique resorts around the world and this ranks right up with the best of them. We booked this for a week at the end of a 4 week African safari holiday on the strength of reviews and the hotel website etc On arrival we were treated as valued guests and this treatment was maintained by all of the staff and, especially, the Manager, Nicolas, who went out of his way to contact all guests seemingly daily to attend to our well being - well done Nicolas - very thoughtful and personal and thank you for adding value to our stay re advice on the Hotel organised tours (we went on Safari Blue, Stone Town, Spice tour and a sunset dow sail - all fantastic, well run.and relaxing). On arrival the impact of the vast atrium / reception is quite stunning as was the walk with our 'Navigator' Edgar, to our lovely Garden suite where drinks were ordered for us on arrival and turned up as we entered - nice. The suite itself was sharp, modern and roomy with a private balcony on the second floor. Nice flowers scattered about when houskeepng turned our beds down nightly. Very very comfortable and private. The bed was absolutley huge and also very comfortable. All conveniences were 'first class' and a very reasonable mini bar provided! The Garden suites overlook an absolutely impecable and lush tropical garden and provide an immediate and tranqil environment to relax. The hotel enjoys many pleasant paths to wander through and all are lush and highly maintained. Being only 18 months old the Hotel seems to be up and running very smoothly. When I reported an issue with the toilet immediate action was taken to rectify while we we out enjoying the Hotels facilities. we dined regularly at the main restaurant for breakfast and dinner and the food was excellent - presented and cooked to perfection by the resident Chef who, I understand has been on the island for some 15 years and he certainly knows his produce and craft - so fresh and delicious - we did not venture out of the Hotel for dinner elsewhere! The traditional Swahili 4 cource menu choice (3 menus offered) was my favourite. On our last night we booked a table upstairs, where there is also a gallery, in the fine dining restaurant and tried the warthog and Impala main courses - simply wonderful with music provided by a great local band through the evening. The main salt water pool with spa and massage falls is absolutley stunning with 'forever' sides, that seemingly blend with the sea from within and you cant but help to relax in one of the many in or by pool balconies while having an ocassional fruit kebab and refreshing drink (soft or coconut) provided gratis while you lounge and idle your time away. The staff are all so attentive and appear from nowhere if you need to move an umbrella or look as though you are in need of a drink or whatever. The main hotel building itself is architecturally very asthetic with high vaulted African woven trianglular roofs providing an enormious spacious, open and airy environment built seemingly in traditional pole and woven construction - quite amazing. At night the complex is well light but quite subdued and comfortable and we felt very safe at all times - security staff are always around but not apparent. 2 very different but excellent bands played outside the main restaurant on 2 nights and provided excellent 'African' ambience to while the mild evenings away. There is a choice of 3 bars, all very different and with excellent service. One of the restaurants open for lunch - with a bar, is located at the very end of a Jetty beyond the main pool. The walk, as with all walks in the Hotel complex is a photographers dream. Its very difficult to take a bad photo at Zalu with so much care taken in the design, construction and high level of maintenence, the affiliation with the environment is magnificent with a stunning bluer than blue sea and the occasional Dow sailing past. After returning from an excursion the reception staff where keen to seek our feedback on how our day was and interested in our well being. Ahh such memories we both take away - I long to return again some day and will try one of the Sea view suites or larger complexs next time........ not because they could be any better, just to experience more of the hotels wonderful facilities.

Room Tip: The 2nd floor Garden balcony suites possibly offer a more private balcony than the ground floor suit...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank AustraliaBeachbum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Essque Zalu Zanzibar

Address: Nungwi, Nungwi 3151, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Nungwi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Nungwi
#3 Spa Hotel in Nungwi
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Nungwi
#4 Luxury Hotel in Nungwi
#5 Romantic Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range: $346 - $686 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Essque Zalu Zanzibar 5*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Take a deep breath of fresh Indian ocean air, relax and unwind. Essque Zalu Zanzibar is an intimate boutique destination nestled in a natural cove in the north east coast of Unguja (alias Zanzibar). Essque Zalu Zanzibar combines contemporary luxury with a real sense of place. This boutique hotel has the turquoise waters of the Indian ocean to one side and lush green forest to the other, and there is just a hint of spice in the warm and fragrant tropical air. At Essque Zalu Zanzibar, create your own personal paradise, your own kind of luxury, an experience of a lifetime. Choose from 40 individual suites and 8 villas all with picturesque views over the lush tropical garden or the ocean turquoise blue. Our suites offer a luxurious-styled space crafted from local materials, adorned with native artwork and housed under a traditional pitched makuti roof. From farm to table, we take great pride in our sumptuous cooking. Satisfy your taste buds with a choice of two unique restaurants, three well stocked bars and a variety of destination dining experiences. Unashamedly indulgent, the Spa comprises of two couples treatment rooms, four single rooms, vichy shower, a sauna and steam room - a haven of restorative and rejuvenating perfection. Using only 100% truly organic and natural ingredients, our focus is on capturing the intelligence of nature in the restorative process. We know that the essence of nature can synergistically interact with the energy system, and this knowledge forms the basis of our Africology creations, all orchestrated to help you lead a more holistic lifestyle. Essque Zalu is your outpost into the first steps of the wildness and tranquility of Zanzibar. Reconnect with nature and experience a land rich in life and uninhabited space. We offer guests the opportunity to partake in activities to experience some of the islands most Spectacular and scenic excursions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Essque Zalu Zanzibar Hotel Nungwi
Essque Zalu Zanzibar Zanzibar Island/Nungwi

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