Anna of Zanzibar

Anna of Zanzibar: Our full report

Rooms
5 villas
Open
All year

Anna of Zanzibar, named after an old-fashioned Zanzibari trading currency – and also the owner’s daughter – is a delightful home-away-from-home located on the beautiful white-powder beach of the Michamvi Peninsula. Opened in July 2009, Anna is a blend of colonial and Zanzibari style, and has just five cosy yet spacious villas.

Anna’s five villas are set among tropical gardens filled with flowers, and have enough space between them to allow for peace and privacy. Villas 4 and 5 are closer to the ocean than the others, and consequently further from the main area. Each villa is divided into three rooms – a living room, a bathroom and a double bedroom. To one side of the bedroom is a spacious dressing area, which includes a large lit closet with an electronic safe. Three of the villas are cooled completely by efficient air conditioning, while the other two make use of an opening roof. In those that are fully air conditioned, the living room can easily be made into a second air-conditioned bedroom if families, triples or a group of four wish to stay.

The rooms are beautifully decorated to a high standard with homely touches such as large, comfortable, sturdy wooden beds, deep armchairs, tasteful patterned wallpaper and printed bedspreads, and colorful fresh flowers. Minibars, hairdryers and toiletries are provided and fast and free WiFi is available in the rooms. The bathroom is well finished and clean with twin sinks and a shower (but no bath).

The main area continues Anna of Zanzibar’s warm and inviting feel. In the large dining room is a long wooden table and an abstract painting of Stone Town on the wall, plus sweeping curtains and dark wooden sideboards. A comfortable lounge, with Zanzibari-style sofas, coffee tables and deep pile rugs, is filled with light from a row of patio doors. Further sofas and cushions fill the adjacent TV room, where a large selection of DVDs is available for guests to watch. There’s also a substantial exchange library. An atmospheric bar with low lighting forms the meeting point for pre-dinner cocktails. There’s a large silver telescope here, too, and staff can show you how to use it, although none is a stargazing expert.

Guests may choose to eat in a number of locations, including in their own villas. A particularly popular spot is on the beach, but candlelit dinners by the pool, lit up at night, can be just as romantic. By day, the swimming pool is a focus for afternoon swims, and it’s surrounded by pretty pairs of sunbeds with sail-like shades. The deep end of the pool is very deep though, so be sure to keep an eye on any less-confident swimmers.

The beach here is particularly attractive – soft white sand, few other people, and little hassle. It’s also a favourite hangout of the lodge’s two very docile dogs, who enjoy a snooze on the sand. A small curio shop here sells clothes, local handicrafts and spices.

There’s a tiny treatment room offering a few massages; try the Lala Salama, a fully body massage in which the masseuse uses only her thumbs, for US$40 per hour. There are plans to upgrade to a spa with two treatment rooms and an outside bathtub, which will be built behind the main house.

The staff can help to arrange any excursions and activities on the island, including diving, which is arranged through a local dive centre.

The managers here are actively involved in community development, and most recently ran a campaign to provide local schoolchildren with benches, as they were previously sitting on the floor for their classes. For every dollar donated, Anna of Zanzibar will match it. The scheme has been very successful, and any excess funds will be used to fund the school in other ways.

Our view

A relaxed atmosphere and mixture of styles combine to give guests at Anna of Zanzibar a real feeling of being welcomed into an old friend’s home. With its beautiful beach, home-cooked food, comfortable rooms and excellent hospitality, there’s much to enjoy. However, on our last visit we did feel that the prices are relatively high in comparison to other high-end lodges in the area.

Geographics

Location: Michamvi Peninsula, Zanzibar

Ideal length of stay: 4 nights or more

Directions: Anna of Zanzibar is on Zanzibar’s south-east coast, about an hour’s drive from Stone Town.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: Food at Anna of Zanzibar is home-cooked in style, and features a mix of Swahili and European flavours.

Light lunches include seafood and pasta dishes as well as imaginative salads, while the three course dinner menu features three choices per course and is very flexible; if you want to order off menu, you can. On our last visit here in November 2011, we tucked into bruschetta with mozzarella and tomato, and a spicy seafood curry with rice, followed by a decadent chocolate ‘bombe’, all of which was very tasty.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: All beers, house wines, sodas, juices and local spirits are included; imported spirits and non-house wine are not.

Further dining info: Room service is available for no extra cost.

Children

Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Anna of Zanzibar.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions here.

Special activities & services: There are no specific activities for children, but they are welcome to use the pool toys & floats, or watch the TV and DVDs in the TV room.

Equipment: Cots are available on request.

Notes: Children must be under parental supervision at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Communications: Excellent, free WiFi is available in the rooms, and guests are welcome to borrow a laptop. There is also reasonable cellphone reception.

TV & radio: There is a comfortable and cosy TV room with DVD player and DSTV. DVDs are available to borrow.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: All staff are first-aid trained, and the lodge has affiliations with both a local doctor, and a doctor in Stone Town. There is also a first-aid kit in reception.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: Anna of Zanzibar has at least two 24-hour security guards, one at the gate and on the beach. At night there are three guards on the property.

Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are located in the main area.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available for an extra charge.

Money: Currency exchange can be arranged if necessary. There is a small safe in each room.

Accepted payment on location: No credit cards are accepted, but the lodge accepts cash payments in GB sterling, US dollars, euros and Tanzanian shillings.