Welcome to Meliá Zanzibar , The resort hugs the northeast coastline of the island, roughly 45 minutes drive from Zanzibar’s international airport and capital city, Stone Town. Set back from the main coastal road, there’s a feeling of isolated calmness, although most of the island’s popular tourist spots, such as its famed spice plantations, are easily accessible by car in under an hour.
Style and Character
The property is broadly divided between the original complex and The Level – a large, newer luxury enclave with its own restaurant and lounge. Guests will find sharp, clean, almost Ibiza-esque design at the latter, where spotless white cabanas huddle around an infinity pool and turquoise sofas in the lounge mirror the Indian Ocean opposite.
Throughout the resort, an easy style connects to the beachside location, with blues aplenty, stretches of sea-worn wood and undulating motifs intended to reflect the patterns in the nearby sands.
Service and Facilities
A stellar spa is inspired by Out of Africa author Karen Blixen. Palm fronds just beyond the windows cast shadows across treatment rooms and the real-world ebbing of the tide can be heard over a typical New Age soundtrack. Staff are attentive and friendly, which is a particular plus when they’re frequently called upon to buggy guests back and forth across the resort’s enormous footprint and a little conversation goes a long way.
The Level’s one-bedroom beach pavilions are archetypal Indian Ocean fare, in the most glowing sense. Mosquito net-festooned four-poster beds look out onto wide terraces and bijou dressing nooks are ideal for shaking off sand-blanketed beachwear.
All feature traditional Makuti roofs, made from dried palm leaves and, inside, whitewashed wood walls and dark wood floors play backdrop to colourful prints and patterned rugs. By comparison, the resort’s older rooms might benefit from a face lift, particularly when pitted against the newer stock.
Food and Drink
With five restaurants and four bars, there are sufficient options for those embarking on a longer stay, with Gabi Beach a highlight for location. Resting on a tidy patch of the hotel’s 300-metre-long beach, the seafood options are fresh as you like and, for an additional cost, guests can book a private dinner on the sands with their own menu.
Elsewhere on Meliá Zanzibar, the Jetty Lounge is an imposing combination of two stilted huts, with a lively bar and international restaurant. An ideal spot to take in the crimson moonrise, as the night progresses disco lights kick into action alongside a pleasingly naff, getaway appropriate soundtrack. The breakfast is comprehensive, with a hefty buffet offer and classic à la carte options to order.
Value for Money
Double rooms from £308, all inclusive for two people, in low season; and from £462 in high. Double rooms in The Level from £500, all-inclusive for two people, in low season; and from £692 in high.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Absolutely. There are 10 family rooms and a free kids’ club.