There are five homely villas at Anna of Zanzibar.
Anna of Zanzibar: Our full report
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. Anna opened in July 2009 and with just five cosy yet spacious villas, there’s a real feeling of being welcomed into an old friend’s home.
The five welcoming 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 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 group of four come to stay.
The rooms are beautifully decorated to a high standard with homely touches such as large comfortable sturdy wooden beds, deep arm chairs, tasteful patterned wallpaper and printed bedspreads, and colorful fresh flowers dotted around. 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 only.
The main area continues the warm and inviting feel, with a large dining room with 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 and filled with light from a row of patio doors. Next to the lounge further sofas and cushions fill the 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. A large silver telescope also stands here, and staff can show you how to use it, although none is a stargazing expert.
Guests can eat anywhere on the property – 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 pretty – 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. There’s also a small curio shop here, which sells clothes, local handicrafts and spices.
There’s a tiny treatment room offering a few massages – try the Lala Salama massage, a fully body in which the masseuse uses only her thumbs, for $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 school children with benches, as were previously sitting on the floor for their classes. For every dollar donated Anna of Zanzibar will match it. This scheme has been very successful, and there may even be excess funds, which will be used to fund the school in other ways.
Our viewA mix of colonial and Zanzibari style, plus a relaxed atmosphere combine together to give Anna of Zanzibar a welcoming and homely feel where it’s possible to truly relax and enjoy the beautiful beach, homecooked food, comfortable rooms and excellent hospitality.
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.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Food at Anna of Zanzibar is homecooked 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, 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 included.
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Anna of Zanzibar.
Equipment: Cots are available on request.
Generally recommended for children: Although children are welcome, there’s no really much to keep very young children entertained, and the pool is very deep.
Notes: Children must be under parental supervision at all times.
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 mobile reception.
TV & radio: There is a comfortable and cosy TV room with DVD player and DSTV. DVDs are available to borrow.
Health & safety
Malarial area: 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 security guards 24 hours a day, 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.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available for an extra charge.
Money: There is a small safe in each room.