The Essque Zalu Zanzibar hotel sits on a rocky natural cove overlooking a quiet, tidal beach at Zanzibar’s northernmost point. Despite feeling remote, it’s just a 10-minute drive down bumpy tracks to the prettier beaches at Kendwa or the lively area of Nungwi, and 90 minutes from the airport. Transfers can be arranged on request and there’s a free daily shuttle service to Kendwa.
Style and Character
This modern hotel makes a bold statement with the highest makuti thatched roof on the island, and a long private jetty stretching far out to sea. Once inside reception it’s all cool marble flooring and minimalist furniture, opening out onto the large infinity pool. There’s plenty of space and privacy even when the hotel is booked to capacity. It’s not exactly brimming with local character, but instead the secluded hotel feels like a world of its own, allowing guests to escape reality entirely.
Service and Facilities
The famous Zanzibari hospitality is evident here in the impeccably friendly and personal service. From reception to room service, smiling staff remember your name and preferences and are always ready to chat if you are. Facilities are plentiful and excellent; the Healing Earth Spa offers treatments using natural plants and oils in private rooms, a steam room and compact gym, while an on-site PADI dive centre organises snorkeling trips, sea kayaking and kitesurfing. The large and inviting infinity pool at the centre of the property is its crowning glory.
At Essque Zalu Zanzibar there are a total of 40 suites and eight villas spread throughout the manicured gardens. Sea view and oceanfront suites are really more like small, independent villas, while the Garden View suites, set in two-storey buildings, are most suitable for families. The three or four-bedroom villas are set apart on the other side of the property.
All are decorated in muted, neutral tones, with some Swahili touches like wooden chests and beamed ceilings sitting alongside more minimalist, European-style furniture. Outdoor sitting areas are shaded from the view of other guests by palm fronds and banana trees. The four-poster beds swathed in mosquito nets are big enough to get lost in, but surprisingly hard. Bathrooms are vast with double sinks, walk-in showers and, unusually for Zanzibar, bidets. Air-conditioning, safe, hairdryer, fridge, kettle, television and Wi-Fi come as standard.
Food and Drink
The main Market Kitchen restaurant could have more character, though the food is exceptional, from an à la carte menu featuring fluffy waffles and indulgent chocolate crepes at breakfast to fragrant curries, fresh fish and Italian-style desserts in the evening. For a treat try a private dining experience or Swahili cooking class in the on-site studio with chef Rose Mosha. The Jetty restaurant, sitting over the sea at high tide, serves up simple grilled seafood dishes and is the perfect place for the mandatory sundowner, with a stunning view over the coastline.
Value for Money
Yes. All rooms can accommodate an extra bed, and the hotel has a kids’ club, children’s menu and shallow pool.