Situated off the coast of Tanzania, the picturesque archipelago known as Zanzibar attracts many visitors to its pristine waters and welcoming communities. Known as the ‘Spice Islands’, Zanzibar still holds true to a vibrant heritage, decorated in scents of the past with traditional sailing dhows painting the horizon. The Zanzibar Islands embrace Swahili and Islamic influences in both culture and architecture and will keep you on your toes with spice tours, visits to ancient mosques and even a former Sultan’s palace.
From sea safaris spotting dolphins and whales, snorkelling pristine coral reefs, or kayaking through mangrove forests, it’s a proverbial treasure trove of experiences. If you’re planning a trip to Zanzibar, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 Zanzibar luxury hotels and best resorts for those idyllic, white sand, swaying palm tree island escapes:
1. Mnemba Island Lodge
Exclusive, yet unpretentious, Mnemba Island Lodge is located on the northeast coastline of Zanzibar. Mnemba Island Lodge offers a romantic getaway for honeymooners or couples, and activities for traveling families including the wild child program that teaches kids all about the mystical properties of the ocean.
If you want to appreciate a sublime sunset in privacy, fresh sushi and chilled champagne can be delivered to beach loungers, or romantic candlelit meals can be served against the backdrop of waves softly breaking. Reconnect with yourself and rejuvenate your body doing yoga classes on the beach, encounter diverse marine life snorkelling or diving azure waters, or simply soak up the sun from the comforts of the lodge. You’ll experience a getaway steeped in history with enticing activities to choose from.
- Private sunset dinners
- Spend time in the Indian Ocean snorkelling and scuba diving
- Enjoy whale watching and turtle tracking
- Wild child program of fun activities for kids
- Indulge in relaxing spa massage treatments
Honeymooners, couples & families.
2. Matemwe Retreat
Luxurious villas in remote Zanzibar make up Matemwe Retreat. The retreat’s interior décor, celebrating locally produced pieces, creates a palpable tropical holiday ambience. Soft and easy relaxation is promised in this tranquil space, leading onto private plunge pools that overlook panoramic views of inviting Indian Ocean shores.
Dedicated to luxury and seclusion, Matemwe Retreat is only a 30-minute boat ride from Mnemba Island and the Mnemba Atoll - the most important conservation area in Zanzibar. The Mnemba Atoll is a great destination for first time divers and marine wildlife enthusiasts with over 400 species of fish to encounter. After a day of activities, you’ll return to seafood buffets, rooftop bar cocktails or lunch excursions to the local sandbank and Muyuni Beach.
- Private roof terrace and plunge pool in villa
- Massage and spa treatments
- Historic excursions into Stone Town for spice tours
- Scuba diving, snorkelling and reef exploration
- Sundowner dhow cruises at dusk
Couples & honeymooners.
3. Matemwe Lodge
Blanketed by white shorelines on the warm Indian ocean coastline, Zanzibar’s Matemwe Lodge provides a backdrop for bliss. Soak up the sunset in a hammock poolside or participate in a range of water activities and revel in marine wildlife encounters. Matemwe Lodge is the benchmark for luxurious tropical escapes in the protected coral-fringed lagoon that each chalet overlooks.
You'll be able to explore the coral reef and its rock pools, set sail on a traditional dhow, snorkel, or dive the pristine Mnemba Atoll. You can relax at the spa when you're not out experiencing the many historical and recreational seaside activities on offer at Matemwe Lodge.
- Daily cultural excursions into Stone Town for a spice tour
- Snorkel in aquamarine waters of the Mnemba Atoll
- Visit Muyuni Beach for picnic lunches
- Open-air restaurant dining; sustainably curated gourmet dishes
- Swim with wild dolphins and turtles in colourful reefs
Couples, honeymooners and families.
4. Zawadi Hotel
Ascending a cliff with awe-inspiring views of the Indian Ocean, Zawadi Hotel’s location is simply unbeatable and is one of the most coveted locations in Zanzibar. Heading onto the beach, you will practically taste the salt water on your lips, hearing the waves kiss the shore. Discover the 400 species of fish that make their home in the reefs right on your doorstep.
Go snorkelling, scuba diving or try stand-up-paddle-boarding with passionate and expert guides. Zawadi is about losing yourself in tropical retreats where nature takes centre stage. Be sure to have a look at the best time to visit Zanzibar when planning your trip.
- Kayak through mangrove forests
- Swim with bottlenose dolphins
- Encounter endangered monkeys at Jozani Forest
- Tour Stone Town’s historic sites
- Experience a tranquil spa treatment at one of the top hotels in Zanzibar
Family getaways & honeymooners.
5. Baraza Resort & Spa
Baraza Resort and Spa is a five-star all-inclusive resort that was named one of the world's 60 finest new hotels by the prestigious travel publication, Condé Nast Traveler. This beautiful all-inclusive resort captures Zanzibar's history extending back to the Sultans' reign. The word "baraza" means "meeting place" in Arabic, and it symbolizes community, social engagement, and relationships - this is true for Zanzibar luxury resorts that bring communities together.
The resort captures a fusion of Swahili, Arabic and Indian culture in its design and décor. Immerse yourself in the Indian Ocean's crystal-clear waters, taste a freshly cut coconut from resident palm trees, relax with a wellness massage, dive colourful coral reefs, and enjoy welcoming Swahili hospitality. The Baraza Resort and Spa offers an unforgettable beach experience at one of the most renowned Zanzibar resorts.
- Appreciate Zanzibar’s cultural diversity with Swahili lessons
- Learn palm weaving on the beach
- Embrace Swahili cooking classes
- Visit Stone Town for cultural and interactive tours
- PADI diving certifications at the Rising Sun Dive Center
Honeymooners & couples.
6. Fundu Lagoon
Fundu Lagoon is a secluded and serene resort located on a magnificent beach in the southwest of Pemba Island. Fundu Lagoon has consistently won the Good Safari Guide's 'Best Marine Safari' Award, and it seamlessly continues to create memorable getaways for those who have just returned from a Tanzania safari. It's the perfect location for couples, and families looking to relax and unwind in serene settings. You should also consider combining the best of both worlds, a beach holiday in Zanzibar with a safari in the Serengeti.
Snorkeling tours adjacent to Misali Island's coral reefs are the ideal way to discover the region's incredible biodiversity or climb aboard a traditional dhow and sail into the sunset. You can also embark on a boating dolphin safari, kayak through the mangrove forests, and tour the island's rich wildlife in Ngezi Forest and Kidike - where flying foxes flourish. The shaded beach is right outside your door, and the ocean's sound will ease you into a deep slumber, this is undoubtedly one of the finest seaside resorts in Zanzibar.
- Encounter bushbabies, vervet monkeys and flying foxes
- Enjoy the pool, fusion spa and bars
- Diving at Pemba Island
- Enjoy a dolphin safari
- Kayak through mangrove forests
- Sunset dhow cruise and private candlelit dinners
e.g. Family getaways, honeymooners, couples
7. Jafferji House & Spa
Jafferji House is an attractive boutique hotel located in the heart of Zanzibar's old Stone Town. It brilliantly combines modern luxury with the captivating legacy that has moulded Zanzibar's past, recapturing the enchantment of travel. Jafferji House has been meticulously renovated and designed to reflect its previous beauty, taking its name from its owner who once lived there himself, using it as his family home.
Personal attention to detail is evident throughout the hotel, and it boldly pays homage to the comfort, luxury, and hospitality of the modern world as effortlessly as it embraces the charm of the ancient world. Jafferji House and Spa is one of the best hotels in Zanzibar.
- Elegant design and opulent suites
- Attentive and personalized service
- Rooftop massages and yoga classes
- Dining on the open-air rooftop
- Explore on a spice tour in Stone Town
Honeymooners and couples
8. The Residence Zanzibar
The Residence Zanzibar is set in a lush, forested 32-hectare estate where five-star amenities coexist with nature's unspoilt beauty, making it one of the finest Zanzibar resorts. You can relax in the solitude of their enormous villas, which are serviced by their own butler. Escape to a world of sublime leisure, personalized hospitality, and enchanted elegance, all inspired by the island's African, Omani, and European cultural influences.
You can spend carefree days by relaxing in your own private pool, on the beach, or exploring the gardens on foot or by bicycle. You can sample the flavours of the 'Spice Islands' unique blend of cultures and cuisines at the on-site restaurant, and the wellness spa offers a variety of calming treatments to encourage rest and relaxation.
- Enjoy an ocean safari dhow sailing trip
- Visit the Red Colobus Monkeys at Jozani Forest
- Uncover Zanzibar’s history on an excursion to spice plantations
- Discover the Paje Village for a seaweed farming course
- Relax at the spa and wellness center
Family getaways, honeymooners etc.
9. Zuri Zanzibar Hotel & Resort
Zuri Zanzibar has one the most magnificent white sand beaches of Unguja's northern west Zanzibar. The Zuri Zanzibar has been named the world's first hotel to receive the EarthCheck Sustainable Design Gold Certification. It is because of their commitment to service and sustainability that Zuri Zanzibar is one of the most sought-after luxury hotels in Zanzibar.
You’ll be spoilt for choice with activities at Zuri Zanzibar - sail through Kendwa's waters on the LaPorte Dhow (built exclusively for the resort), take a half-day private boat tour to snorkel and dive, or visit the seaweed center to see how local women harvest seaweed and create products such as organic soaps and essential oils. Beach horseback riding, tours of the Jozani forest, and a visit to the butterfly center are all terrific age-appropriate activities for the whole family to enjoy.
- Explore the Indian Ocean sailing, paddling, snorkeling and diving
- Learn about Zanzibar from Zuri’s in-house library
- Join the wellness programme’s yoga and art therapy classes
- Create your own memorable dining experience
- Horseback along the shoreline
Honeymooners & couples and family getaways.
10. Kilindi Zanzibar
Kilindi Zanzibar is the ultimate romantic getaway, the ideal spot to soak up the sun and spend quality time with the ones you love. The luxury suites are set in a gorgeous tropical garden with a secluded beachfront, and feature wooden slatted shutters that open onto wide-arched glassless windows, showcasing spectacular views of the Indian Ocean.
Kilindi's 'open-to-nature' approach creates a secluded, intimate, and 'barefoot luxury’ appeal that so many people yearn for. Explore the island's hidden gems, unwind in the infinity pool as you watch the dhows sail out to sea, or enjoy a spa treatment at one of the best resorts in Zanzibar.
- Breathtaking views over the Indian Ocean
- Enjoy the 25-meter infinity pool
- Alfresco terrace dining at one of the best resorts in Zanzibar
- Treat yourself to a revitalizing spa treatment
- Embark on a safari blue dolphin and snorkelling tour
Honeymooners & couples.
Ready to Start Planning Your Zanzibar Beach Vacation?
Get in touch with one of our Africa Safari Experts to help tailor-make your stay at the best luxury lodges and resorts in Zanzibar: