Kilindi Zanzibar Hotel lies just around the corner from popular, busy Kendwa beach, Kilindi feels quiet and away-from-it-all, set among 50 acres of coastal greenery, with views out across the ocean to Tumbatu, Mwana-na-mwana and Popo islands.
Nnunhwe village is one kilometre away if you want souvenir shops and touristy art galleries. Stone Town, famous for its ornate doorways and as the former home of Queen’s Freddie Mercury, is around an hour and a half away by car, as is the airport. In all likelihood, you’ll be too relaxed to leave Kilindi’s grounds.
Style and Character
Space and openness are the key elements here. The 15 private, individual, little complexes of white buildings and areas – known here as ‘pavilions’ – all have a bedroom, a bathroom, a downstairs relaxing area and a plunge pool, surrounded by a gated garden. The creamy, curvy, sculpted style of the buildings, from domes to towers, look like a mix of Gaudi, Scandinavian and Arab influences.
Pathways at Kilindi Zanzibar Hotel are lined with bright hibiscus flowers; monkeys, birds and lizards are commonly seen and heard. With so much space across the property, there’s no feeling at all of being crammed in or looked over by a neighbour. Whether down the hill at the private beach, beside the sleek central swimming pool or at your own hillside pavilion, the thing to do here is unwind.
Service and Facilities
Staff are laidback and friendly, nothing too formal here, though service is efficient. Each pavilion has its own allocated ‘guest ambassador’ to help with spa bookings, drinks, laundry or dinner arrangements. The main pavilion has a cool, light blue infinity pool that looks out onto the bay, passing boats, and islands beyond, as well as an incredibly welcoming bar and a slightly underused upstairs area with Moroccan-style lamps, seating areas, games and a (not very good) selection of books.
The private beach is a two-minute walk downhill, with loungers and beds, plus SUP boards and kayaks to borrow. There’s also a shop, with local crafts, jewellery and clothing, and a simple spa, though treatment rooms don’t have air-conditioning.
There’s a lot of space to enjoy. Each three-stage ‘pavilion’ has a bedroom inside a turret-esque building, with a four-poster bed surrounded by a mosquito net. From floor to domed ceiling, the rooms are painted white, with windows and doors all opening out towards the sea, though slatted windows and a glass cone in the ceiling does mean the space gets flooded with light early in the morning – an unwelcome wake-up call. It can get quite stuffy and warm, too. Some rooms are closer to the beach or have better views than others; you can make a request when booking, which will be accommodated if available.
The bathroom, in a separated little domed building, has high ceilings, with rainshower, twin sinks and arched windows at the front and sides to soak in the hillside view of the ocean. But the open wall, rather than a bathroom door, isn’t great for privacy. Down some steps there’s a white building, with a shaded area, sun loungers and a plunge pool.
Food and Drink
Unsurprisingly for an island, there’s no shortage of seafood; the lunch menu has comforting options, from a noodle salad with seared, sesame-crusted tuna and Zanzibar fish and chips to pizzas and chicken or fish curries, while the dinner menu, which changes each night, usually has three main options (meat, fish or veggie). It’s occasionally fantastic, but too many dishes were disappointing: gloopy curries, small not-very-tasty risotto, slightly burnt pizza. Desserts were often fun, including a clove-infused crème brulee, using the island’s famous spices.
Breakfast has plenty of choice, from tropical fruits to original dishes off the menu, such as lobster eggs Benedict or a smoked snapper croissant.
Value for Money
Access for guests with disabilities?
Kilindi only accepts guests aged 16 and over.