We stayed at the Melia Zanzibar for 6 nights after our Safari on the mainland. A taxi to/from the airport/Stone Town should cost you around $40-50, maybe more expensive if you haven't organised it in advance or you haven't haggled with the driver. Make sure you agree a price before you head off, as they don't run on meters.
We arrived around noon when check-in wasn't until 3pm and the all-inclusive package we had pre-booked also started from 3pm. However, we were welcomed by a friendly girl at check-in, were able to dump our bags and were given a welcome drink to enjoy while they got our room ready. We didn't have to wait long which we really appreciated.
We had booked a garden room, and couldn't have been happier with what we got. The rooms are beautifully appointed, the bathroom as big (if not bigger!) as the bedroom, and it all looked new, fresh and clean. Each day, they left fresh flowers and "towel art" on our bed which was a nice extra touch. It isn't a huge resort like you might get elsewhere, so everything is easily reached on foot. The only possible "down side" is that the beach is a little further away (which we knew when we booked anyway) and although you can walk there, taking the golf-cart shuttle is much easier and very efficient. It leaves from outside the main building at regular intervals, and when we were ready to come back from Gabi Beach, the security man called a cart down for us. Very efficient.
We opted to spend more time at the pool rather than at the beach due to the extreme tides which makes swimming less suitable at the beach. The pool was lovely and the resort fairly quiet when we stayed (September '13). I would say that some of the pool-bar staff could be a bit more efficient in bringing drinks/food to you at your sun lounger, or checking if you wanted anything else. I've had better experiences at other all-inclusive resorts. But, you could always walk up to the bar to order as well.
The food at the pool-bar was ok, the burger was probably the best choice on the menu. The drinks are good and they certainly aren't shy with the alcohol in the cocktails!! We also enjoyed the food at the beach-bar, which had slightly different options (the steak looked great!)
For dinner, there were really only 2 choices unless you opted for the more expensive all-inclusive package. The buffet was fine, although it did tend to get a bit repetitive. If you're not a big fan of seafood, the options drastically decrease. We enjoyed dinner at the Jetty which had a more relaxing/romantic atmosphere. The tapas option there is great as well either for a light dinner, or a pre-dinner snack with a drink. It's a shame the Jetty isn't open during the day when you can really enjoy the views!
The staff were a bit hit-or-miss. Some very attentive while others more or less ignored you or seemed incapable of filling your water up when asked, or bringing you coffee in the morning at the buffet restaurant. It's a shame as there were plenty of staff, and it wasn't particularly busy so no real reason why they shouldn't be more efficient. It seemed like each person had a specific task, e.g. filling up your water glass, or collecting plates, or pouring coffee. If you asked the water girl for coffee, things seemed to get very confusing for them…
If your intention is to stay at the resort to relax, swim and sunbathe, I would strongly recommend that you do go for the all-inclusive package as there are no other options for eating anywhere nearby. You do need to wear a bracelet, and also sign each time you eat/drink something which seemed a bit excessive. Although it's an all-inclusive resort, there are a lot of options on the menu which aren't included, in either level which seems odd. I guess it's a way of potentially making more money but we personally didn't feel a need to go for the non-included options during our stay.
NOTE : Please be aware that there is still a departure tax at Zanzibar airport, which is NOT included in your ticket - make sure you leave some cash for this! If you are flying domestically (e.g. to Dar Es Salaam) the price was US$8 per person. If you are flying internationally (e.g. to Nairobi) the price was US$48 per person.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Melia Hotel and Resort is Zanzibar's leading international resort, situated on the north-east coast of the island. Melia Zanzibar is built on a 40 acre estate with a beautiful beach of pearlescent white sand lapped by warm ocean waters, 300 meters long, situated at the very end of the property to procure the perfect combination with nature. The resort is ringed by a natural coral reef, making bathing a relaxing and safe experience. The hotel is the perfect destination for honeymoon or wedding vacations as well as meetings & incentives. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Melia Zanzibar Hotel Kiwengwa
- Zamani Zanzibar Kempinski Kiwengwa
- Melia Zanzibar Zanzibar Island/Kiwengwa