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!
- 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 Zanzibar Island/Bwejuu