Baraza is a new luxury resort, built in a traditional Swahili Arab style.
Baraza Resort & Spa: Our full report
Baraza Resort and Spa is a fairly new, all-inclusive resort set in beautiful gardens along a long stretch of white-sand beach on the Michamvi Peninsula. The architecture is classic Swahili, the villas stylish, and the facilities extensive.
Owned by the same company that runs the adjacent Breezes Beach Club and Palms, and set along the same beach as them, Baraza has a luxurious and breezy feel. Since it is all-inclusive, guests can relax without the concern of extra costs. Indeed, you don’t even have to move from the beach, as guides walk up and down the sand, ready to take your order for drinks and snacks.
On our last visit, in February 2012, we found a high-quality, international-style hotel, which retains a great deal of character and interest. The décor comprises the best of locally crafted lanterns, beds and furniture – with a blend of Arabic and Indian elements. A lot of effort has gone into the decoration, and you’ll see endless white walls adorned with rustic gold pots and plates, mosaic floors and beautifully shaped archways.
The 30 villas at Baraza are all stylish, with dramatic arches, sumptuous gold fabrics, intricate carvings and baraza benches. Antiques, hand-made furniture and intricate brass lanterns decorate the rooms. All have very similar facilities, including air-con, a minibar, a coffee maker, Wi-Fi, and TV with a DVD player.
Each of the spacious bedrooms has a large comfortable double bed, canopied with a mosquito net; cream-tiled floors and local Zanzibari furnishings. There’s a separate dressing room and a lounge furnished in Arabic style, with low sofas, a sultan’s lounge-bed, and an intricately carved writing desk. This faces, through sliding glass, onto a private veranda with sunloungers, another day bed and a plunge pool. The en-suite bathrooms, too, are very spacious with a free-standing bath and a shower.
These villas stand in five rows, parallel to the seafront, and differ mostly in location and number of rooms rather than style or facilities. They comprise:
- Seven Ocean-Front Villas, which are closest to the sea, and have one bedroom.
- Seven Ocean-View Villas which stand behind, also with one bedroom each.
- Five Sultan’s Sea-facing Villas, which are further back, each with two bedrooms.
- Ten Sultan’s Garden-View Villas. Standing in two rows, furthest from the sea, these also have two rooms
- The vast (254m2) Presidential Villa, which is beside the sea – next to the Ocean-Front Villas. It has two en-suite master bedrooms, a large plunge pool and a small kitchenette – as well as a small self-contained unit for a maid or butler.
There is a large array of communal areas to dine, drink and relax in at Baraza. The Sultan Restaurant is mostly used to host dinner – some nights with a buffet, others with table service; they try to incorporate different themes for the décor and food. The Livingstone Terrace is a very airy open-air restaurant where you’ll have breakfast each morning, as well as the occasional dinner. Nearest to the sea and overlooking the pool is the Ocean Restaurant, used for buffet lunches and afternoon tea. In the evening, the Dhahabu Bar & Lounge is perfect for an after-dinner cocktail.
The well-stocked watersports centre and PADI dive centre at Baraza is shared with Breezes and Palms, and sited at Breezes. Other facilities at Baraza itself include a beautiful spa (with Jacuzzi and pool); yoga classes; a large swimming pool; a ‘Sheesha bar’ – where you can sit and smoke, Morroccan-style; a tennis court; fitness centre; library; business and conference centre, and children’s club.
Baraza’s design feels a bit over the top – with gold everywhere – but it has a high-quality air and is very well finished, so never feels tacky. The service is efficient and the food good, and this, combined with extensive facilities, makes it feels more like a smart hotel than a ‘resort’. The price tag is relatively high, but Baraza should appeal to those wanting somewhere smart – especially to families, for whom the two-bed villas are ideal.
Ideal length of stay: 4 - 5 nights
Directions: It takes around 35 minutes to fly to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, then it’s a further hour by road to Baraza.
Owner: Family run with employed management. Same owners as Breezes and Palms.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: On our last visit to Baraza the food was delicious. A buffet barbecue lunch was served on the beach with a great selection, including several different salads, breads and pizzas. The barbecue consisted of beef, chicken, vegetable kebabs and king prawns served with rice and potatoes. An ice-cream dessert and coffee were served to the table.
Dining times are somewhat flexible but generally breakfast is served 7.30–10.00am, lunch 12.30–2.00pm, and dinner 8.00–10.00pm. Dinner is usually served in the Sultan Restaurant and is sometimes buffet-style and sometimes table service.
Afternoon tea is also served, and if you’re hungry between meals there are snacks available.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are included.
Family holidays: Baraza would be a great place for families, with its long sandy beach and, sheltered, shallow sea lagoon, not to mention the children’s club to look after children if parents prefer to have a break. The watersports centre provides a wide range of activities to keep children and adults alike occupied.See more ideas for Family holidays in Zanzibar
Beach holidays: Baraza sits on a beautiful long stretch of white beach on the Michamvi Peninsula. With plenty of loungers, a very large swimming pool and a great watersports centre it is a fantastic beach getaway.See more ideas for Beach holidays in Zanzibar
Wellbeing: Baraza has an extensive spa, including an impressive Sultan’s bath where couples can enjoy a double relaxation treatment. There is a wide range of other treatments and courses, and sunrise yoga classes are held daily. A tennis court and fitness centre are also available.See more ideas for Wellbeing in Zanzibar
Attitude towards children: Baraza welcomes children of all ages.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions at Baraza.
Special activities & services: Baraza has a special children’s club. Childminding and babysitting are also available, at extra cost.
Equipment: Baraza has equipment such as highchairs for children.
Generally recommended for children: Yes. Baraza is a large resort with plenty of activities on offer, a large beach and a pool to keep children busy.
Notes: Parents should be aware that children are their responsibility for the duration of their stay.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: Generator back up
Communications: There is WiFi in all the rooms.
TV & radio: All rooms have a large satellite TV/DVD players.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: All rooms have a large satellite TV/DVD players.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: Baraza’s front gate is normally closed and watched, and there are discreet security guards around the property.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all rooms.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available for an extra charge.
Money: Baraza has the facility to exchange various currencies.
Accepted payment on location: Baraza will accept payment for any extras in US dollar or Tanzanian shilling cash, or by MasterCard, Visa and Amex.