Sultan Palace is one of Zanzibar's most elegant lodges.
Sultan Palace: Our full report
Sultan Palace sits at the northern end of a pristine beach, atop a high coral cliff. It is professionally and efficiently run by the friendly and welcoming Paola. Designed and built by Roberto Merlo, an Italian underwater photographer who sadly died in Dec 2004, Sultan Palace oozes style and comfort and is certainly one of Zanzibar’s most elegant lodges.
As you approach Sultan Palace, you draw up to the entrance and main reception. It is a fantastic structure, with high white walls and huge arched doorways you feel like you are arriving at Aladdin’s palace! The main lounge and bar area is a large hexagonal room with a number of lounging areas set out in little clusters. High-quality carved Zanzibari furniture, richly coloured fabrics and multi-coloured glass windows result in a fantastic atmosphere reminiscent of the Arabian days gone by. Upstairs is the main restaurant, where breakfast and dinner is served out on the terrace. It can get a little breezy sometimes, however the view is fantastic and on warm nights the breeze is very welcome.
Sultan Palace’s 15 air-conditioned suites – 4 Ocean, 6 Garden and 5 Imperial are spread around immaculately sculptured gardens of citronella and frangipani. The Ocean and Garden suites are a good size and very comfortable. As expected from the clifftop location, there’s a great view of the ocean from the Ocean suites. There’s even a sliver of a view of the sea from the Garden Suites. The Imperial Suites are simply vast - with two double beds, and a huge bathroom. All of the suites are furnished with tasteful antiques, Zanzibari materials, hand-painted tiles and carved wooden doors.
The rooms are set in pretty gardens and named after plants such as Tangerine and Frangipani, and each has their name beautifully painted on a tile on the doorpost. The thatched buildings are constructed from white-washed walls and natural stone. Every room also has a large double bed covered with applique cushions and throws, and big French windows that open out onto a private wooden terrace with loungers – perfect for some peace and quiet. Rooms are colour-coordinated with the bedspread matching the room information folder and even the hairdryer! All have a mini-fridge and a digital safe plus an umbrella.
The bathrooms are simple yet very clean and nicely decorated. There are hot showers, flush toilets and single sinks. Imperial suites have a ‘walk-in wardrobe’ – which is larger than many individual rooms on Zanzibar – and a bathroom which is almost the same again in size, and incorporates a large double-shower with seats – a little like a Turkish bath.
From the rooms, a winding path leads slowly down to the beach where there are plenty of loungers and shade. There is also a laid-back beach bar and restaurant where you can sit and have some cool drinks. This is also where lunch is served. Dinner is a slightly more formal affair, being served on the balcony above the main bar of the hotel, which affords lovely views across the sea.
Sultan Palace has a small massage room overlooking the beach. Here Swedish massage is offered, as well as henna, waxing, and facials. The hotel has a boat that it uses for snorkeling trips, and a dugout canoe for visiting the mangroves at Michamvi Kae. Deep sea fishing and diving can also be arranged.
There is also a relatively large curio shop which sells a variety of crafts, as well a pool table in a small room just off from the lounge. That said, there’s also plenty of space, corners with comfy cushions, and generally stylish nooks and crannies that you can relax and enjoy.
Our viewFor a high-quality, romantic ambience, Sultan Palace is a great choice that would appeal especially to honeymooners and couples looking to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. The raised location offers wonderful sea views over the long sweep of powdery beach.
Ideal length of stay: 4-5 nights
Directions: It takes around 35 minutes to fly to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, and then it's a further one hour by car to Sultan Palace.
Owner: Independent / Owner Run
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Breakfast is served from 7.00am until 10.00am and is a very extensive spread of yogurt, cereal, fruit, pastries and a cooked breakfast as well. This is served on the terrace above the main lounge – with wonderful views across the sea.
Lunch is usually a relaxed barbeque by the beach restaurant with plenty of seafood, meat and vegetarian options available. Whilst dinner is a more formal 3-course affair on the main terrace of the main restaurant.
The food at Sultan Palace is fantastic – the Italian chef has trained the Zanzibari chefs to create a fusion cuisine that takes the best of Swahili and Italian food and mixes them together. On our last visit here in February 2012 we indulged in cream of vegetable soup, piri piri prawns with roasted vegetables and rice, followed by one of the silkiest, most indulgent chocolate mousses we’ve ever tasted.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included at the Sultan Palace.
Honeymoons: With plenty of luxury and style, the Sultan Palace is a great place to celebrate a special occasion. The rooms are lovely and romantic and when we last visited, the team told us how they always try to add a few special touches to make your honeymoon here really memorable.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Zanzibar
Beach holidays: Sultan Palace is a luxurious hotel, which sits on a lovely stretch of beach on the Michamvi Peninsula. There are loungers galore on the beach and plenty of shaded spots to lie back and relax. Being cut off at one end by a cliff, the beach is peaceful and almost deserted.See more ideas for Beach holidays in Zanzibar
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Sultan Palace
Equipment: There are wonderful Zanzibar cots for babies to use in the rooms, as well as highchairs available on request.
Generally recommended for children: No - this place is aimed more at adults.
Notes: Sultan Palace will happily accept children, Parents should also be aware that children are their responsibility for the duration of their stay.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: The phones in the rooms will only call internally, however there are phones in reception for outside use at a charge, as well as internet.
TV & radio: There is a separate TV room with DSTV (satellite) at Sultan Palace which is a lovely cosy room.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: There is a first aid box on site as well as a doctor in the neighbouring resort for more serious medical cases.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: Sultan Palace has a front gate, which is normally closed and watched by discrete security guards around the property.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all of the rooms.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: Sultan Palace can change travellers’ cheques. Euros, Dollars and Tanzanian shillings. There is an electronic safe in each room.