Kilindi: Our full report

15 rooms
Traveller's rating
Excellent (95%) From 19 reviews
June to March

Kilindi first opened its doors in March 2009 and it’s created quite a buzz ever since as one of the best hotels on Zanzibar. It has filled a gap in the luxury end of the market, and when we last visited in November 2013, it was clear that it had settled very well into this niche.

The design of Kilindi is unique and quite different from properties found elsewhere in Zanzibar - endless curving pale cream walls and stunning sea views are a key feature. It has a very calming ambiance and you instantly find yourself relaxing and unwinding when you arrive here.

The 15 Pavilions are incredibly spacious and airy, and by keeping the décor simple, they optimize the natural light and breeze very effectively. The large domed roofs provide shade from the sun - and are part of the innovative water recycling system used throughout the hotel. Water is collected and stored under each pavilion, helping to keep them cool, while also providing the water for the pools, showers and toilets - making Kilindi a very eco-responsible and forward-thinking lodge.

The rooms are very spread out and strategically placed among the foliage, allowing for complete privacy. Room number 15 is the most secluded, but it is quite a walk from the main area. They are surrounded by a luscious garden filled with colourful flowers, where guests may spot monitor lizards and red squirrels. A short walk down a sandy path, the beach is a small cove where fisherman can be seen.

The bedroom itself is large and the same pale cream stone used throughout the rest of the hotel is used for the bed frame and desk. The large bed is swathed in a mosquito netting and looks out onto the ocean if you have the wooden shutter doors open. A glass dome at the peak of the roof allows light to enter, brightening the room. Behind the beds there is space covered with some net curtains to hang clothes, and a desk with a mirror. LED bulbs with coloured recycled glass from Kenya are built into the floors and walls of the room for a beautiful muted light effect, and there are also reading lights by the bed for more light.

Each room has a stand-alone fan and an air conditioning unit which is discretely installed above the beds to help keep the room cool, the innovative rain collection area underneath the pavilion and breezy location also means the rooms stay fairly cool even on warm days.

Through a tasseled curtain you enter the huge open plan bathroom - complete with a 35cm raindance shower head in the centre, and twin sinks overlooking the sea. Toiletries are provided as well as separate towels for the shower and pool.

Outside, each pavilion has two private pools and plenty of places to lounge in the sun and the shade. With your own private butler for each pavilion it would be easy to only leave for meals before returning back!

Kilindi’s beautiful main area is decked out with swathes of cloth draped from the ceiling, and a beautiful waterfall behind the bar that catches the evening light. Sip on a proper cappuccino on the breezy second floor terrace while looking out over the garden or head to the shisha lounge for some relax time.

The main bar and restaurant area is simple and spacious, yet comfortable. Some large leather sofas are dotted around for relaxing in the shade. The bar area is very impressive with a large flat waterfall cascading down a glazed concrete wall behind the bar length of the bar.

In front of the bar area down a small pathway, overlooking the sea, is the striking 25m T-shaped swimming pool, behind which the sun sets each evening. There are comfortable mattress-style loungers dotted on the decking surrounding the pool.

For those who want a bit more indulgence the spa at Kilindi features an amazing view and a double hamana suite where couples can enjoy a double massage followed by a private dinner on the terrace.

The overall atmosphere is one of simplistic luxury and relaxation, and the architecture and colours used manage to achieve this very well.

Our view

Kilindi manages to combine elegance and sophistication without being pretentious. It’s a place to relax and be pampered in a quiet area of Zanzibar.


Location: Northern Zanzibar, Zanzibar

Ideal length of stay: 5 nights

Directions: Kilindi is about an hour's drive north of Stone Town. Zanzibar is a 20-minute flight from Dar es Salaam airport.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Staff: Peter, Dorette and Simon

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: The team at Kilindi is very experienced and as a result the quality of the food is very high. With his own organic vegetable patch onsite, we expect the food at Kilindi to be nothing short of excellent. They grow much of the food themselves, and try and source everything else as locally as possible.

Breakfast, which can sometimes be served to you in bed on special request, includes range of spice-infused fresh fruit juice, pancakes and all the usual things you would expect in a good cooked breakfast. Cuban music plays over breakfast which is very relaxing.

Lunch is often a meze of different types of delicious dishes which you can mix and match - much like tapas.

Dinner is a more formal affair and the menu changes each day - expect some delicious meat and fish dishes, and imaginative recipes such as garlic and ginger soup. The food here is superb!

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Drinks are included, except for Champagne and premium imported wines and spirits.

Further dining info: Yes, inside each air conditioned pavilion is a walkie-talkie, from which guests can call their personal butler (one per room) at any time of the day or night.

Special interests

Honeymoons: The pavilions at Kilindi are exceptionally spacious, luxurious and secluded. It's very private here; each pavilion has two plunge pools and plenty of areas to sunbathe and relax. It’s an idyllic spot with great service, and one of our top hotels for a romantic Zanzibar honeymoon.

See more ideas for Honeymoons in Zanzibar

Beach holidays: With a 500m stretch of white sand, the beach is a main feature at Kilindi. The location on the north-west coast means that sun sets over the sea - a unique feature for the east coast, which creates the best evening scenery on your beach holiday.

See more ideas for Beach holidays in Zanzibar

Wellbeing: Kilindi invokes a great feeling of relaxation upon arrival and is a place to truly unwind. This is helped by the fantastic spa they have onsite is run to international standards and offers a wide range of treatments including double massages - designed especially for couples.

See more ideas for Wellbeing in Zanzibar

Luxury: Combine elegance, sophistication and luxury without being pretentious, Kilindi is one of the best lodges on Zanzibar. Each of its large, secluded pavilions comes with its own private butler: this is perfect bolthole – a luxurious place to hide yourselves away and relax.

See more ideas for Luxury in Zanzibar


Attitude towards children: Kilindi does not accept children.

Property’s age restrictions: Guests must be over the age of 16 to stay.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: Electricity is provided from the mains, however there is also a back up generator. All of the water is heated by solar panels.

Communications: There is internet and WiFi available in the reception area and a media room with a plasma TV screen, DVDs and 15 seats.

TV & radio: There is a TV room.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The staff at Kilindi are first aid trained, and they have lots of equipment on site. They are also registered with a local doctor who they can cause in case of emergency.

Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity in this area. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it’s vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: At Kilindi the guards are on duty 24 hours a day at the front gate and the beach and there are 16 Maasai who are subtly dotted around the resort.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in each room at Kilindi, and the staff have had fire training.


Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Included - takes about 24 hours.

Money: The staff can exchange money if absolutely necessary - but they will need some notice, as they will go out to a local village to do this. The exchange rate is not too good.

Accepted payment on location: Cards are accepted for purchases at the shop and for any extra drinks you wish to purchase here - but you shouldn’t need to part with much money at all - hence there is no cash used onsite here. There is a 5% charge for card use. The rooms have safes. Visa and MasterCard and payment accepted in $ £ Euros and Tanzanian shillings.

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