November 1

The Best Luxury Hotels in Zanzibar

By Ian Rowett on
November 1, 2022

Zanzibar is an underrated beach holiday destination in Africa, located off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. And there are many excellent beach resorts in Zanzibar to choose from. Rich in east-meets-west heritage and culture, it's also loaded with tropical beauty. Picture pristine beaches of soft, white sand, warm water, gentle waves, crystal-clear lagoons and psychedelic reefs. This destination is especially popular as an add-on to a classic East African safari, and the spice island has a wide range of luxury hotels to suit every type of traveller. So, come along as we explore the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar. From private islands to sprawling family resorts, we've got everyone covered.

Aerial view of beach resort in Zanzibar - the best hotels in Zanzibar

Relaxing island living awaits you

1. The Manta Resort

The smaller of Zanzibar's two main islands, Pemba is by far the most idyllic, unspoilt, quintessential tropical island escape. And upon this achingly beautiful island lies Manta Resort, a remote island eco-resort on a sheltered peninsula. 

Conservation and community are baked into this wonderful barefoot-luxury paradise. And everything is locally built and sourced to support the islanders' traditional livelihoods. The food is as fresh as you can get, with friendly and warm service paired with the unhurried tranquillity of the gentle Indian Ocean. Surrounded by pristine reefs, the diving, snorkelling and fishing around Pemba are also legendary. Therefore, all this and more makes Manta among the best island escapes in the world and certainly one of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar.


  • Authentic island escape with a powerful focus on conservation and economic development
  • Genuine sustainability projects to protect the island, marine life and the islanders' lifestyle
  • Headline underwater room and wonderful beachfront villas with plunge pools
  • Charming all-inclusive hospitality with delightful butler service, daily spa treatments and incredible diving instructors

Who’s it for?

Luxury eco-warriors, honeymooners, couples and solo travellers will thoroughly enjoy the personal, intimate communion with the natural world and warm hospitality.

Room on the ocean

The Underwater Room, Image Credit: The Manta Resort

2. The Residence Zanzibar

The Residence at Zanzibar is the very embodiment of an elegant luxury island retreat. Surrounded by indigenous forest and fronted by a long stretch of stunning beach, The Residence is easily one of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar.

The décor combines its African, Asian, British and Indian heritage, thereby celebrating the eclectic history of this fascinating island. The villas with varying degrees of luxury spill out into the gardens with private plunge pools and sumptuous furnishings. On the other hand, dining is an exquisite journey around the world, whereas diving, water sports, and island activities are varied and fascinating.


  • Elegant all-villa luxury resort with private plunge pools
  • Signature spa in a secluded garden with steam rooms, sauna rooms and multiple treatment rooms
  • Around 35 hectares of indigenous forest and gardens, as well as a private beachfront
  • Two restaurants, in-villa, beach and poolside dining options

Who’s it for?

The two-bedroom villas are wonderful for families, while the secluded single-bedroom villas offer the headiest romantic escapes.

Patio with pool overlooking the ocean

Ambience of rare splendour and enchanting elegance, Image Credit: The Residence Zanzibar

3. Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa

One of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar, White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa, is an elegant and sophisticated Relais & Châteaux property. As if the name doesn't give it away, you can expect powder-soft white sand, warm azure water, glorious sunshine and a spa worth crossing the world for.

Enjoy a daily routine of eating, drinking, relaxing and enjoying life with yourself and your family. You will stay in one of the huge, secluded villas surrounded by lush gardens. And with a wide range of available restaurants, bars, lounges, pools and water-based activities, you'd need several nights here to make full use of the resort. And then there's still the rest of Zanzibar to explore!


  • Sophisticated and luxurious all-villa Zanzibar island resort
  • Private, exclusive beachfront right in front of your private villa
  • Health spa, gym and inclusive land- and water-based activities for young, old, sedentary and active
  • Genuine five-star service with a Tanzanian sparkle and dining, facilities and amenities to match

Who’s it for?

Zanzibar is as much about romance as it's about family fun. And White Sand Villas & Spa serves up plenty of both for a glorious tropical island holiday.

Aerial view of one of the villas and pool

Lush forest are abundant with birdlife, Image Credit: Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa

4. Baraza Resort & Spa Zanzibar

Any list of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar would be incomplete without Baraza Resort & Spa. Locally owned and managed, this resort is a quirky combination of Arabic opulence and African authenticity. Think gold velvet drapes in a casbah-like villa with exotic African furnishings. And everywhere you look, it's gardens, turquoise-blue ocean or snow-white sand under an African sky. 

Baraza is small and intimate by any standards. And with just 30 villas, the privacy, service and attention to detail are assured to be of the highest standard at this private luxury resort.


  • Omani-influenced opulence with African hospitality and charm
  • All-villa resort with private plunge pools, outdoor lounges and plenty of privacy
  • Fusion menu with local seasonal ingredients and a variety of dining venues
  • Watersports, spa, Swahili or island experiences and family fun

Who’s it for?

Great for fascinating cultural experiences and extraordinary natural adventure, this is also an excellent choice of luxury beach resort for honeymoons, weddings, or holidays with family and friends.

Main pool

A fusion of Arabic, Swahili and Indian design, Image Credit: Baraza Resort & Spa Zanzibar

5. Mnemba Island

Mnemba Island is a jaw-droppingly beautiful island off the coast of Zanzibar. It's the poker equivalent of seeing you and raising you (tenfold). Mnemba Island tops the charts for exclusivity, intimacy and authentic island luxury, which makes this one of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar.

Surrounded by tropical beaches and coral reefs, the island is entirely yours. Throw out the rule book and decide exactly how to spend your day, where and what you want to eat and drink. Everything is entirely up to you! Therefore, this is an exclusive, you-first Zanzibar island holiday like no other.


  • Exclusive private island with just 12 villas, each with a private plunge pool and butler service
  • Barefoot luxury and complete freedom to dine wherever, whenever and however you choose
  • Wellness activities, delightful dhow cruises, exceptional diving and snorkelling in a marine reserve
  • Family units, WILDchild programme, scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, sundowner dhow cruise, sailing, and stand-up paddle boarding

Who’s it for?

With maximum privacy, seclusion, romance and beauty, this place has honeymoon and special anniversary celebrations written large across the endless white sands. It's also great for families with kids into water sports of all kinds, of which there are many on offer.

Landscape shot of the petite island from afar

Where your deserted island dream becomes a reality, Image Credit: Mnemba Island

6. Kilindi Zanzibar

Kilindi is a boutique beach resort with 15 enormous villas spread out along 50 acres of indigenous gardens above a pristine beachfront. It's a grown-ups-only resort, so the romance and tranquillity are permanently on high. 

For this intimate exclusivity alone, Kilindi is one of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar. Each villa, called a pavilion in Kilindi-speak, features a private pool, a day room with delightful rain showers, a private sun terrace, a personal butler and endless ocean views. Dining is usually an al fresco celebration of the tropical night skies, or you can stay in your suite, dine on the beach, or by the glorious infinity pool.


  • Marvellous villa pavilions with ocean views, plunge pools, rain showers, private gardens and a personal butler
  • Couples-only resort for guaranteed tranquillity and an undisturbed nature experience
  • Spa, island excursions, dive centre and plenty of cultural, natural and water-based activities
  • 50 acres of tropical gardens and a private beach

Who’s it for?

With a 16 years+ policy, Kilindi is all about romance, tranquillity and privacy. Here's where you come to relax, unwind and enjoy one another, making it perfect for romantic milestones and honeymoons.

Pool of one of the suites

Look out onto the idyllic blue waters of the Indian Ocean, Image Credit: Kilindi Zanzibar

7. Matemwe Retreat

Your dream luxury island resort may feature Michelin-starred chefs, lively beach bars and a kids' club. Or, perhaps your idea of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar is more on the romantic, soulful end of the spectrum. If you're in the latter category, Matemwe Retreat is the answer to every whim you may have. 

Matemwe is the pinnacle of intimate, exclusive luxury, with just four sumptuous villas in charming Zanzibari finery and an adults-only guest policy. Meals are a joyful negotiation of menu and location with plenty of encouragement from your personal chef and private butler.


  • Extreme exclusivity, privacy and intimacy with just four villas and an adults-only policy
  • Villas have private plunge pools, rooftop terraces, day lounges and butler service
  • Dine where you want, whether it's on the al fresco buffet terrace, made to order in your villa, or on the beach
  • Spa treatments, guided walks and village visits, diving and snorkelling, dhow trips, Stone Town and spice tour        

Who’s it for?

The villas are designed to give you no reason to leave, so they're the perfect place for a honeymoon or milestone romantic celebrations. Families can book the entire place or head to the sister property, Beach House.

Private terrace

Rooftop terrace’s private plunge pool, Image Credit: Matemwe Retreat

8. The Palms Zanzibar

The Palms Zanzibar has just seven palatial villas featuring a tasteful amalgam of colours and styles. Borrowing liberally from the island's Arabian, Indian and African history, the décor is decidedly sophisticated. A deep-blue plunge pool and four-poster day bed turn your private terrace into a place of sublime and contemplative relaxation. 

Furthermore, the food is as fresh as you can imagine, with seafood plucked from the shores at your feet and the produce procured from the local markets. Should you feel the need, activities include the full range of water sports and cultural and natural tours of the island.


  • Exclusive resort with just seven ocean-view villas, each with a plunge pool, day bed and private beach cabana
  • Delightful thatched buildings open onto lush tropical gardens and the Indian Ocean
  • Fusion food using ultra-fresh local ingredients specialising in seafood bonanzas
  • Water sports and Swahili culture, including activities shared with Baraza

Who’s it for?

With a no-children policy, this is another one of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar designed exclusively for maximum romance, tranquillity, privacy and seductive beauty.

beach at sunset

Understated elegance in a tranquil setting, Image Credit: The Palms Zanzibar

9. Gold Zanzibar Beach House & Spa

Gold Zanzibar Beach House & Spa is a charming family-owned boutique resort with deep connections to Italy. Combining classic Italian hospitality with authentic Indian Ocean island beauty, this is easily one of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar. 

The 76 rooms and villas offer a variety of styles and sizes to suit everyone – from family units primed for fun to secluded suites offering pure romance. And thanks to the Italian influence, the food is a flare-filled extravaganza, served on the beach or the cosy bistro-like terrace, featuring the freshest seafood and brightest local produce.


  • Luxury villas have plunge pools, beach cabins, ocean views, and butler service
  • Family-friendly room options, kids' activities and water sports adventure
  • Four restaurants and a variety of exciting and romantic dining venues
  • Spa, gym and wellness centre

Who’s it for?

Gold Zanzibar Beach House & Spa offers laid-back luxury that isn't overly pretentious or self-aware. Just the glorious ocean and its bounty on offer in ladlefuls. This resort is ideal for family fun, exclusive romance and luxury wellness on a tropical island.

View of the pool

Bask away on such blissful tropical days, Image Credit: Gold Zanzibar Beach House & Spa

10. Zuri Zanzibar Hotel and Resort

With a private beach and lagoon, luxurious beach huts and villas, fantastic food and a mind-boggling range of amenities and facilities, Zuri Zanzibar Hotel and Resort is one of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar. And with 56 thatched villas tucked away among the palms of the tropical garden, the mood is decidedly casual and timeless as you set about the joys of a tropical island holiday. 

Ensure your stay is long enough to enjoy all the fine dining in romantic settings, water and land adventures, health and wellness spa treatments, community and conservation programmes, and just plain chilling by the pool with a cocktail and your perfect plus one.


  • Variety of room types surrounded by magnificent gardens leading to a private beach and lagoon
  • Sophisticated dining options with a multi-cultural menu and a variety of venues
  • Multiple restaurants, bars, swimming pools, spa, yoga, gym, aquatic centre, library, and education programmes
  • Sustainable operations providing most of its own water and electricity and working closely with community-development projects

Who’s it for?

Zuri Zanzibar Hotel and Resort is a modern, sophisticated take on the classic beach resort. Couples, families, groups and solo travellers will all appreciate the impeccable service, luxurious suites and the hotel's impressive range of activities and facilities.

Nest chair along the beach

The ultimate beach utopia in harmony with nature, Image Credit: Zuri Zanzibar Hotel and Resort

Ready to Kick Off Your Shoes?

Our round-up of the best luxury hotels in Zanzibar is but a mere taste. The appetiser in an extensive tasting menu brought to you by us, the World's Leading Safari Company. Add Zanzibar to your dream safari, or spend your entire holiday on the island. 

Contact one of our Travel Experts now, and let's start planning your perfect Zanzibar holiday!

Featured Image: Zuri Zanzibar Hotel and Resort

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About the author 

Ian Rowett

Born in Zimbabwe and, having bluffed his way through a Journalism Degree at Rhodes, Ian turned his reluctantly nomadic life into a successful career as a travel writer. With stints in Harare, Joburg, Cape Town, Swakopmund, Port Shepstone and Greyton, he has travelled the length and breadth of southern Africa. Now living in Knysna, Ian combines his innate tendency to write for a living with a deep-rooted love of Africa’s wilderness and a keen interest in the hospitality trade.

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