The Residence Zanzibar at a glance:
Resort Name: The Residence Zanzibar
Resort type: Luxury
Beaches: Beautiful; the tide goes out half a mile every day
Food: The food is delicious, by far the best we have had in all of Africa
Price: $700-$1,200 per night depending on the season & room type
Stay type: We stayed bed and breakfast but there is an option to stay on a full board
Airfare tickets to Zanzibar: Average is $1200 Round Trip (CHICAGO-ZANZIBAR)
Visa: U.S. citizens: $100 (As of July 2015)
Essentials to get a Tanzanian Visa: Passport, money (US dollars is great) and Yellow Fever immunization card****
They will not let you in the country without it. In Kenya they have never checked mine but first thing off the plane in Tanzania they were checking.
Our Rating: Five Plus Stars!!!
The Residence Zanzibar is a magnificent luxury resort located in the southwestern part of the island of Zanzibar, Tanzania. The southern part of the island isn’t known for snorkeling but the water is clear enough to snorkel for sure. The advantage of the south side of the island is privacy. It is the perfect spot for a secluded resort.
On our trip to Zanzibar in particular we spent a day in Stone Town which is in the center of the island on the west coast. Then we spent a day up north near Metemwe Beach. The north side of the island is great for boating, fishing and diving/snorkeling. The good new is that The Residence has excursions that can be scheduled through them and they transport you where you need to go to get the best spots. From Stone Town it’s about a one hour drive to the resort. The resorts’ private car is $165 round trip. Most private taxis will want to charge $70 each way but you can talk them down to $50 each way.
Once we pulled up to the gates of The Residence Zanzibar we entered another world. We were no longer in the dusty streets of Zanzibar but as we entered the property we were transported through the luscious gardens at The Residence. The resort is surrounded by 32 hectares of magnificent, well maintained tropical gardens. Our taxi then pulled up to a beautiful white building where the hotel staff, robed in white traditional outfits, were waiting for us. They helped us get our bags out of the car and ushered us to a waiting area with comfortable couches where they served us ginger infused lemon grass tea and gave us cold towels for out faces! I couldn’t ask for a better more refreshing or kind greeting.
Connected to the lobby is a beautiful library and also a gift shop. Just around the corner is the spa. And OH! It is an amazing spa!
Our villa was ready quickly after our arrival and Hassan showed us to our villa. The villas are absolutely amazing! So much so that we couldn’t help but write an entire blog about it. Every villa has at least a living room, a bedroom and huge bathroom with a tub as well as inside and outside showers. Not to mention the private infinity pool right off the back porch. We stayed in a garden villa which had great privacy but there are also beach from villas that are available as well.
Every detail of the stay was thought out. From the welcoming, to the staff to the food to the time we had to leave. The resort staff would stop whenever they saw us, put their hand over their heart and ask if there was ANYTHING that they could do to make our stay better. We were asked this question at least 10 times a day. And they meant it!
Included with the villa were two bicycles that we were free to use at any time to get around the resort. There is a boathouse on the property with excursions that can be purchased but also a lot of amenities that are included. We have a blog coming shortly about the boathouse as well.
There is also a long pier that goes out with a lounge at the end. They call it the Jetty. This space can be used throughout the day. It has chairs and couches out at the end that are very comfortable. They can also be rented out at night for sunset cocktails.
Another highlight of the stay for us was the poolside restaurant and the main pool. The main pool has glass sides and is built in an infinity style. Viewed from the correct angle the pool looks like it goes straight into the ocean!
The poolside restaurant has a buffet that is included in full board. We had the breakfast buffet every day and it was amazing! The buffet runs at $30-50 per person per meal if it is bought outside of the all inclusive package. The a-la-carte menu was around $20 for apps – $15-$30 for main dishes – $10-$15 for dessert. The three course dinner is $50 per person. Drinks were $12-$18.
I would say the food would be slightly overpriced if it were in the U.S. or Europe. But the quality and taste of food seeing as it is in Zanzibar is amazing!!! Having spent the time we have in Kenya I was totally blown away that they could get food to taste that good in Africa. The price is because of the fact that almost everything has to be imported and taxes have to be paid when they are imported.
One thing that really sticks out about The Residence Zanzibar is the staff. They are incredible at training their people. The staff there was above and beyond what I thought staff in Africa could be. They were all top notch. They were always pleasant, always looking for ways to be of service and always concerned about our stay. So much so that we got a call less than an hour before we had to leave from the front desk. They were just checking in with us to make sure everything with our transportation was taken care of and to schedule a time for them to come take our bags for us!!! They knew our flight was in about 4 hours and wanted to make sure we had everything on schedule to get there in time!
The Residence Zanzibar is truly a gem. I highly, highly recommend it. There is nothing about our stay that wasn’t restful and enjoyable. The staff made our stay wonderful. The beach is beautiful. The villas are out of this world! This is a great place to honeymoon. There is a lot of privacy but also a lot to do.
If relaxing at the beach is your thing they have that. If having drinks by the pool is where it is at for you then its the perfect place. If being adventurous and seeing unique places is important than they can arrange that for you. If you are looking for a luxurious, pampered stay in Zanzibar… Look no further!!! I cannot wait to go back!