The Chicest Side of Zanzibar


Zanzibar has many sides but in its most elegant form it has got to be Baraza Resort & Spa. On Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 Hot List and TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Africa, this retreat on the east coast has already proven its worth but here is our personal seal of approval.

Walking down the airy corridors leading to the lobby, you just know this is going to be a relaxing place. The hotel is awash in a pure palette of gold, white, and natural greens and inviting seating areas are at every turn.  

Our personal valet for our stay showed us to our room with our private beach bungalow as the first stop. Though every room can see the beach, the Bahari ocean-front villas get their own slice of shore, not to be disturbed (except for deliveries of champagne or pina coladas, of course).

We opened the door to our room and it was fit for a sultan and sultana. The Omani-style Zanzibar  architecture continued in our room with keyhole arches, daybeds, and lantern lighting.

More a personal spa than water closet, our bathroom had a canopied tub, grand vanity, rain shower, and walk-in closet that was the size of a New York apartment.

That evening our valet informed us that we shouldn’t report to the main dining room for dinner but to the pool for a honeymoon surprise. A table for two with a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc was set up across from the lantern-lit cabanas and under the clear Zanzibari stars. We indulged in grilled lobster, shrimp mango salad, and finished with flourless chocolate cake.

Baraza is more than a place to lay your beach towel, it is a place to energize. We enjoyed the spa’s tennis court, weight room, and most of all, yoga studio. The space was exquisite and the authentic India-trained instructor had more flexibility than a rubber band.

As if we weren’t already totally relaxed from our Hatha session, we took it to the next level with an hour massage. The process of utter relaxation begins once we were escorted to our shaded pool lounger and served lychee lemon water. Then we were summoned to possibly the best massage we’ve ever had, followed by tea and snacks on the sultan’s daybed. The level of pampering just hit new heights.

We continued to lunch after our very active morning, feeling empowered to indulge in everything under the sun. And indeed the daily buffet had just that. From the grill, salad bar, international kitchen, and dessert station, the most delicious delights were on offer.

We adored Baraza for its utter chicness and that it felt as private or lively as we wanted. The beautiful Baraza had a spa and water center with countless activities but also enough private retreats like our beach cabana or private plunge pool to make our own itinerary. For the honeymooners who like the idea of vegging out but secretly want a little adventure and tons of fun, this is just the place.

Much love from Zanzibar,
Anne & Mike

Note: Baraza invited us to be their guests; however, all opinions are our own.

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