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. 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 with views over the white sandy beach, however as a result these are 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 a safe. All five of the villas are cooled completely by efficient air conditioning. 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, tea and coffee making facilities and toiletries are provided and fast free WiFi is available in the rooms. Anna of Zanzibar have recently fitted new bathrooms in all the villas; these come with twin sinks, a shower and a free-standing bath. The rooms are clean and comfortable, however on our last visit in 2016 we felt that they were starting to feel a little dated.
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 are 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. Outside there is a small pizza oven which we were told is in regular use. 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, and there are no depth markings, 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. A small curio shop here sells clothes, local handicrafts and spices.
The spa was built in 2013 and is a great addition to Anna of Zanzibar; it has two treatment rooms and an inside bathtub – this is situated behind the main house. Trained therapists offer a few different treatments; try the Lala Salama, a full body massage in which the masseuse uses only her thumbs, for US$40 per hour.
The staff can help to arrange any excursions and activities on the island, including diving, which is arranged through a local dive center. Take a tour out in to Chwaka Bay and see the mangrove forests with their aerial roots, or sail around the coast aboard a traditional Zanzibar dhow boat.
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.
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 a bit tired and could benefit from a soft refurbishment; the prices are also relatively high in comparison to other high-end lodges in the area.
Country manager: Zanzibar
- Michamvi Peninsula, Zanzibar
- Ideal length of stay
- 4 nights or more
- Anna of Zanzibar is on Zanzibar’s south-east coast, about an hour’s drive from Stone Town.
- Accessible by
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 June 2016 we didn’t get to try the food, but in 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.
- 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.
- Cots and highchairs are available on request.
- Generally recommended for children
- Although children are welcome, there’s not much to keep very young children entertained. It is worth noting that the pool is very deep, and there are no depth markings.
- Children must be under parental supervision at all times.
- Power supply notes
- The lodge has a back-up generator, although there is usually a short delay when the mains power goes out before the generator kicks in. There are European sockets and adaptors and cables can be provided.
- 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
- Medical care
- Many of the 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 six 24-hour security guards, one at the gate and on the beach. At night there are four 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.
- 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.
Other lodges in Michamvi Peninsula
Alternative places to stay in this same area.