The modern Z Hotel is set in beautiful landscaped gardens…
Z Hotel: Our full report
Located in northern Zanzibar, on the popular Nungwi peninsula, the Z Hotel is right next to one of Nungwi’s best beaches on this busy section of the island. Its owners, who have close links to the UK, appear to have had a ‘smart soho set’ in mind as clientele as they tried hard to make the Z Hotel a modern ‘boutique’ hotel, with much use of chic design, and designers.
Set amid lush tropical gardens, all of the rooms at the Z Hotel have been finished to a high spec by a team of interior designers. The bespoke furniture, including four-poster beds, is made from locally sourced coconut wood, designed by Philippe Starck, and exclusive to the Z Hotel. Each air-conditioned room has floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading to a balcony, which has a garden, beach, or sea view and comes equipped with LCD flatscreen TVs with DSTV, WiFi, a telephone, a minibar, a safe, and iPhone docking stations. Complimentary White Company of London beauty products are provided in the Italian designer bathrooms.
More experienced African travellers will realize that executing very precise, minimalist designs in this (or any!) corner of Zanzibar hasn’t been at all easy – and the owners have some revealing stories of pitfalls along the way. Equally, it’s one thing to build a hotel that appears ‘smart and boutique-y’, but quite another to provide the impeccable standards of service and food which most travellers will expect from a boutique hotel – without the pool of highly experienced staff that cities like London, Paris and New York would have.
In practice, we’ve found that Z Hotel has tried very hard, and is a good hotel – but travellers shouldn’t expect the standards that they might usually associate with a ‘boutique hotel’ in Europe or the USA.
The Z hotel organizes its 39 rooms into a range of categories: 17 deluxe seaview rooms, 16 deluxe garden-view rooms, three rooftop suites, two oceanfront cottages and one Z Suite – as follows:
- The deluxe garden-view rooms are situated on the ground and first floors of the hotel and have views over the landscaped gardens, or the sea. They are stylishly decorated and have tea/coffee making facilities, mini bar, safe and hair dryer, as well as their own private deck.
- The deluxe seaview rooms offer all the facilities of the deluxe garden-view rooms, but are located on the second floor. Unsurprisingly, they all have sea views!
- On the third floor of the Z Hotel, is the rooftop suite. As well as having all the amenities of a deluxe room, there’s also an outside shower, a plasma satellite TV, a DVD player, a sitting area and a private deck overlooking the garden or the coastline.
- The 70m² Z Suite spreads across the entire rooftop of the hotel, giving it fabulous sea views from the two terraces. It includes the same facilities as the rooftop suite, plus a king-size bed, an outside shower and Jacuzzi, and a lounge area complete with cocktail bar.
- The oceanfront cottages are totally separate from the rest of the accommodation at the Z Hotel. Built into the side of a cliff and arranged over two floors with a view out to sea, the rooms are furnished with a king-size bed and their own kitchenette, plus outdoor showers. To top it all off, there’s a floating deck from where you can soak up the sun as you listen to the lapping waves.
Raised up on a deck, overlooking the sea, is the Cinnamon Cocktail Bar, which has an extensive menu of cocktails and champagnes, as well as a selection of tapas and sharing platters. For something fancier, the Saruche Restaurant offers a four-course menu of Africa/European cuisine and fresh seafood.
When we last visited in November 2013 we were also informed that there were plans to add a yoga deck out at sea for classes which can be taken twice daily, a Sandwich and snack café, for light snacks and cakes as well a new open air champagne and sushi bar! We understand that these will all be finished and ready to go from the start of July 2014.
The Z Hotel has a curio shop and tour office that can organise activities for you during your stay – day trips to Stone Town, spice tours and Jozani Forest trips to name a few. They have a on-site dive centre that can arrange deep-sea fishing and sunset cruises.
That said, many will spend their time in the very compact space beside the pool, or perhaps on the adjacent beach – see our Satellite map of the hotel to get a feeling for this busy area.
For those preferring to relax at the hotel, there is a mini spa offering massages, manicures, pedicures and facials. Sun loungers are dotted along the beach, as well as surrounding the tanga-stone infinity pool on the edge of the gardens – these sun loungers even have DVD players, although their reliability in the salt sea air hasn’t been tested.
Our viewThe contemporary design and lively atmosphere at Z Hotel will appeal to a trendy, younger crowd, but don’t expect this to deliver the standards of a high-end boutique hotel in London; it can’t. It’s generally fairly good, but not that good. That said, if you want a trendy, buzzing hotel in one of the island’s most popular beach locations – then this is one of the better, and more individual hotels that you’ll find.
Ideal length of stay: 4–5 nights is recommended. Note that there is a minimum 3 night stay here in August.
Directions: Flights from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar take 20 minutes. The Z Hotel is about an hour’s drive from Zanzibar International Airport.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Z Hotels serves African-European fusion food and this can include anything from burgers and chips and salads and sandwiches, to seafood curries and fresh fish, all washed down with a wide selection of international wines.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10
Drinks included: Drinks are not included.
Further dining info: Yes
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of 12 are welcome.
Property’s age restrictions: No children under 12.
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: No, the atmosphere here is somewhat adult, and more suited to couples.
Notes: Not recommended for children
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: Electricity runs off the mains; plugs are the square three–pin variety (as used in the UK).
Communications: WiFi is found throughout the hotel, and computers for guest use are found in the reading room. All rooms have telephones.
TV & radio: All rooms have TVs with satellite channels.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The hotel has close links with a local doctor.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: There is a guard and a pool guard on site 24 hours.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the main areas.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available for an extra charge.
Money: The hotel accepts payments in US dollars and Tanzanian shillings only.
Accepted payment on location: Visa, MasterCard and Amex are normally accepted with a 5% charge on all cards.