Zawadi Hotel: Our full report
Opening its doors in June 2016, the Zawadi Hotel (which is often known simply as ‘Zawadi’ or ‘Zawadi Zanzibar’) ...... is an exciting new addition to the Michamvi Peninsula on Zanzibar. With six private villas and direct access to the beach, Zawadi provides a luxury retreat on a relatively secluded beach.
When we visited in June 2016, Zawadi Hotel was not yet open to the public; we stayed at its sister-hotel Baraza whilst the finishing touches were still being made. However, we had a very good look around, and at that point most of Zawadi had been finished – with the exception of the jogging track.
Zawadi is the latest inclusion to The Zanzibar Collection portfolio – which includes Breezes Beach Club, Baraza Resort & Spa and The Palms.
Over the years we’ve always found these to be run very professionally and consistently. The Palms and Baraza have been the higher-end places, with the former appealing mainly to couples, and the latter majoring on villas for families. Then Breezes is larger, with more of a beach resort atmosphere, which has appealed across the board to honeymooners and small families. We’re expecting Zawadi to fit in to this collection closer to Palms in size and quality. It’s likely to appeal mainly to couples, with standards similar to Palms, but a more contemporary design – very much a beach-house feel with a laidback atmosphere.
Only an hour’s drive from the airport, the Michamvi Peninsula is known for its stunning white sandy beaches, barrier reef and fantastic diving. Zawadi sits on top of a low coral cliff that is adorned with ground-covering vegetation and flowering bougainvillea. The pretty beach forms a small cove from where you can swim in the ocean or explore the corals at low tide. We liked the ‘little cove’ feeling, but note that this isn’t one of those ‘picture-postcard’ palm-fringed beaches that occur elsewhere on the peninsula.
Zawadi’s nine spacious villas are strung out along the coastline, so each villa has plenty of space and privacy. Their large verandas, complete with sunloungers, are surrounded by low-level planting to give unimpeded views over the Indian Ocean.
Entered through sliding glass doors, the villas are light and airy, simply decorated but with a high level of luxury. Neutral tones create a fresh, contemporary feel, offset by painted wooden furniture, woven rugs and printed fabric cushions featuring turtles and marine life. Each villa has a comfortable seating area and a large double bed, while amenities include air conditioning, a minibar, satellite TV with DVD player, safe deposit box and a hairdryer. The large en-suite bathrooms feature a rain shower and freestanding bathtub. In July 2018 Zawadi added new private plunge pools to each villa, giving 180 degree views of the Indian ocean - a great place to relax with a cocktail in hand.
Zawadi Hotel has a beach-bar, called the Mswakini Beach Bar, and a restaurant, known as the Drift Wood Dining Room. Breakfast and dinner are served in the restaurant, whereas lunch and drinks are available during the day at the beach bar.
Both the bar and restaurant are completely open-sided and face the ocean to give spectacular views although, like much of Zawadi, they also feel a little exposed. The property had relatively little shade when we visited – but we’d expect this to have been addressed by the time that the hotel opens.
Zawadi’s expansive grounds are filled with coconut palms and flowering bougainvillea. Central to the property, between the main area and the beach, the infinity pool is surrounded by sunloungers and within easy reach of the Mswakini Beach Bar. Below the pool lies an area of raised beach with a set of steps leading down to the cove below. Currently Zawadi does not have a dedicated spa but spa treatments can be arranged in your private villa; guests are also welcome to use the extensive spa facilities at sister properties Breezes and Baraza. When we visited they were in the process of constructing a 900m jogging track through lush gardens planted with spice trees and tropical fruits. There will also be an open-air gym complete with chin-up bars, benches and weights!
A variety of activities are on offer at the hotel, or can be arranged through them. A real attraction of Zawadi is the Oba-Oba Lagoon that lies just offshore, and is only a 10-minute walk from the beach. This shallow lagoon is home to a variety of corals and marine life and (we’re told) provides good snorkelling, even when the tide is out. Diving can be organised by the nearby Rising Sun Diving Center at Breezes Beach Club, which caters for divers of all abilities. Other watersports include sailing, kite-surfing and fishing.
We are impressed with Zawadi. It is a stylish, contemporary small hotel that should offer a high level of service, framed by an informal beach atmosphere in a pretty little cove. Its location is quieter that its sister-hotels, and the nearby lagoon is a promising snorkeling spot. Promising for smart adult couples who enjoy minimalistic design.
- Michamvi Peninsula, Zanzibar
- It takes around 35 minutes to fly to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, and then it's a further one hour by car to the Zawadi Hotel.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board
- Food quality
- Zawadi was not open when we visited in June 2016 so we were unable to experience the food, but we understand that they will aim to serve fresh produce seasoned with a blend of local spices to provide dishes with exotic flavours. Guests will be encouraged to make their own requests and Zawadi’s chefs will prepare meals to your taste.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Zawadi Hotel provides a romantic setting for those looking for barefoot luxury on their honeymoon in Zanzibar. Relax and unwind in the spacious villas, snorkel together in the nearby lagoon, or enjoy a private dinner on the beach.
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- Diving & snorkelling
- Zawadi sits on a low cliff above a pretty cove next to the Indian Ocean, an idyllic spot for a beach holiday on Zanzibar. Enjoy relaxing on the beach, swimming (regardless of the tide) in the turquoise waters and snorkelling at the nearby lagoon.
- See ideas for Diving & snorkelling
- Attitude towards children
- The minimum age for guests is 16, unless all villas are booked exclusively for one party.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Zawadi has a minimum age of 16.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- No. Whilst Zawadi accepts older teenage children, the hotel is aimed more towards couples looking for a quite beach retreat.
- Power supply notes
- There is a back-up generator.
- Free WiFi will be available in all villas.
- TV & radio
- All villas feature a satellite TV with a DVD player.
- Water supply
- Transported in
- Water supply notes
- All bathrooms have flush toilets and showers are plumbed with hot and cold water on tap.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- When we visited, several of the staff were first-aid trained and there was a qualified nurse working at the neighbouring properties. For more serious medical situations there is a hospital in Stone Town, about an hour’s drive away.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- When we visited, there were permanent, professionally trained security guards at the main gates and discreet security around the perimeter 24 hours a day.
- Fire safety
- We saw fire extinguishers throughout the villas and in the communal areas.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A laundry service is available at an extra cost.
- It is possible to exchange small amounts of money at Zawadi. Each villa has its own safe deposit box.
- Accepted payment on location
- Zawadi accepts cash payments in US dollars, euros, GB pounds and Tanzanian shillings. They also accept all major cards including MasterCard, Visa and American Express.
Other lodges in Michamvi Peninsula
Alternative places to stay in this same area.