We recently travelled to Zanzibar to check out a range of properties, ensuring we have a good variety of hotels to offer our customers. These range from basic 2-star ratings all the way up to 5-star hotels. Read our reviews below for our observations about each property, plus what they have to offer. We have also compiled a library of images on each resort in order to give you a good idea of what they’re like. Please make sure you ask which type of room you are booking through us, as these details won’t be included with each image. We’d also like to make you aware that the star rating of each hotel doesn’t necessarily compare with those in South Africa, or other destinations, such as Mauritius. We would say these ratings are lower.

Coral Rock: 3*
This is a budget 3-star property situated on a small cliff on the south-east of the island. The hotel has great ocean views and all the rooms are sea-facing. They are all clean and neat. The establishment is run by a South African called Neil, who is very welcoming. The hotel is found next to a kite surfing shop which offers lessons, and the bay in front of the hotel is absolutely perfect for learning in. We were there at the end of January and the windy conditions were ideal! The hotel is situated on a tidal beach which comes in and out every six hours, however this provides a perfect opportunity to explore the beach and its treasures. The hotel has a relaxed atmosphere as well as a small infinity pool. I’m not sure we would recommend this property to families with small kids. We rate this hotel as a good option for younger travellers, couples and anyone interested in kite surfing.
 
Arabian Nights: 3*

This is a budget 3-star hotel situated on the beach with great beach-front rooms. The rooms are clean and spacious and good for families. This is another property that is good for kite surfing and there is a kite surfing school next door at Paje by Kite. It is found in a vibey part of Paje with a variety of small shops selling local wares nearby. The pool in the back of the hotel is perfect to cool off in. We rate this as a good value for money property, especially the beach-front rooms and the kite surfing facilities.

Paje by Night: 2*
Paje by Night is aimed more at backpackers and younger travellers, although we did see a couple of young families bouncing around in the pool. The hotel has a vibey atmosphere and friendly staff. There is an area where you can watch movies during the night or day, plus a funky bar and restaurant. The resort is not on the beach, but is literally down an alley from one, and there is a pool to have a dip in. They offer Paje by Kite, a kite surfing school and shop. The rooms are spacious and some of them come with funky showers - the shower heads change colour as you wash down. They also offer limited, free WiFi in the common areas. We rate this as a great budget property for young travellers and anyone keen on kite surfing!

Karafuu:  4*
Karafuu is a big resort situated on the south-east of the island and has a great tidal beach. We found there to be an older clientele, however they do offer basic kid’s facilities. It boasts a wide open lobby with WiFi for all the guests at a small fee. The staff are very friendly and helpful and the food is good; however, they don’t have a great All Inclusive drinks menu. The rooms are spacious with beautiful sea-facing and beach-front rooms. Remember to book the beach-front rooms for families. Vary your meals with a choice between three restaurants, as well as live entertainment every night. The spa has a great view while you enjoy your treatment. There is a big pool at the back of the hotel that looks out over the beach area, so take a seat at the pool bar to enjoy your cocktail with a view.

Ngalawa: 3*
A good 3-star property run by a lovely couple, named Sadru and Joanne. Enjoy an unusual welcome when arriving in the lobby – the couples rescued goats will come to greet you! The hotel has been carved out of a coral hill and provides sweeping views across the tidal bay. The rooms are spacious and all sea-facing, furnished with local linen which not only adds a bright touch of colour to each room, but supports the local community too. There is a big pool in the centre of the hotel as well as heaps of hanging chairs and hammocks to chill out in. The bar and common area are found right on the beach cliff, giving you easy access to the beach plus clear views of the island’s spectacular sunsets. We rate this hotel highly because they offer good value for money (keep an eye out for their specials), the owners are hospitable, and they are involved in uplifting the community.

Blue Bay: 5*
Blue Bay is one of our favourite 5-star properties. A great hotel for families, it’s ideally located on a breath-taking beach that offers access to loads of water-based activities. The rooms are clean and spacious, whether you decide on the entry-level accommodation up on the hill or the beach-front villas, you’ll find what you’re after. There is complimentary WiFi in the common areas of the hotel, plus you can purchase more in order to have access in the comfort of your room. The hotel features a large, sparkling pool that looks out over the ocean, along with a variety of restaurants to cater to your many tastes. You are welcome to make use of neighbouring Sultan Sands’ facilities and dine at their restaurants on the All Inclusive options. We rate this as an excellent 5-star property.

Sultan Sands: 4*
The smaller sister hotel to Blue Bay is found right next door. Guests can use Blue Bay’s facilities, although there is an additional charge if you’d like to eat there. The hotel is slightly smaller and more compact, with dome-shaped rooms giving the property a different look and feel. The rooms are spacious and airy, and all of them are sea-facing. The pool and bar are nestled right on the beach, providing you with views of the ocean as you sip your cocktail and enjoy a cooling dip. We rate this as an excellent 4-star property!

Melia: 5*+
This upmarket 5-star property (which is part of the Spanish hotel consortium of the same name) is huge! On arrival you’ll notice how chic and smart the lobby area is, featuring a bar and lounge area where you can get comfortable with a book. There is also a fantastic pool affording views out over the ocean, plus a promenade with another bar and day-time restaurant. The rooms are set up in the style of an apartment block, and are modern and airy.  The hotel boasts a small, private beach featuring four-poster beds to lounge on, along with a fabulous restaurant with bar so you can appreciate the sun set over the ocean in style. A noteworthy feature is the gorgeous honeymoon suite perched on the cliff face and overlooking the sea. There is also an excellent spa to make use of.

Ocean Paradise 4*:
A good mid-range hotel, Ocean Paradise is a great looking property. Found on the north-east side of the island on a splendid beach, the hotel features a large, open lobby and spacious rooms (the entry level rooms have curved bathrooms). In the centre of the resort there is a good spa, gym and large pool. We rate this as a great looking, mid-range hotel with good services and friendly staff.

Azanzi 4*:
This small 4-star property is found on the north-east of Zanzibar, positioned on a beautiful stretch of beach. A lovely, compact property with a centrally-placed pool, the hotel also has a dive school for your convenience. The rooms are airy and face the swimming pool area. There is a large restaurant and a games room. We rate this as a good value for money, mid-range hotel; it’s not too big and has a personal feel about it.

Neptune 5*:
You’ll have a great first impression on arriving at this large, upmarket property, where there are plenty of places to wine and dine your way through your holiday. The grounds are laid out with blocks of four rooms per unit, with the entry-level rooms facing the ocean. This hotel offers a choice of two swimming pools as well as complimentary WiFi available throughout the hotel. There is a fantastic beach in front of the hotel which is secured by friendly Masai. We rate this as a great mid-range property.

Dreams of Zanzibar 5*:
Dreams of Zanzibar is nestled on the north-east coast of the island. The property is fairly large and offers 5-star amenities in its spacey, open rooms which are arranged in blocks. A typically warm and friendly Swahili greeting awaits you on arrival in the lobby. The free WiFi is available throughout the hotel so you’ll easily keep in touch with loved ones, while the selection of four themed restaurants will ensure you’ll never get bored of the menu.

Mapenzi 4*:
Mapenzi rates as one of our top choices! With its fort-like architecture and Italian flair, you’ll find a slice of heaven at this unique hotel. The staff are attentive and warm, and free WiFi is available in the main lobby (although you will need to purchase it for access in your room). The centrally-placed pool and beach-facing rooms are currently being renovated (as of January 2015). A stay in one of these rooms allows you to literally step directly on to the beach. The food and beverage offering is worth writing home about - the food was the best we tasted on the whole island, while the All Inclusive meals are great value for money, and include all the classic cocktails we love so much. Each night sees a different theme to celebrate to. The lobby is a spacious area, while there are tons of comfortable spots to chill out in, while reading your favourite book and surfing the net. Mapenzi is perched on a fantastic beachfront, with a bar and restaurant facing the waves, to pull up a chair and relax at during the day.

Royal Zanzibar 5*:
Found in Kendwa on the upper north-west coast of the island, the Royal Zanzibar is an impressive hotel. All the rooms are sea-facing and are spacious. The hotel looks out over and is found on one of the most scenic beaches in Zanzibar. There is also a beach-front bar and restaurant that look over this splendid view. The hotel also has a couple of infinity pools, plus a spa with a view that will leave you feeling at peace. We rate this hotel as a fantastic 5-star property because of its ideal location.

Hideway of Nungwi 5*:
An upmarket property situated on the upper north-west of Zanzibar, this hotel offers brilliant beach and sea views. The hotel also has beautiful gardens to stroll through. The kid’s club will keep the little ones entertained, and the dive centre promises lots of adventure. The restaurants have various themes to keep things interesting. The rooms are very upmarket with great views

Amaan Bungalows 2*:
Amaan Bungalows is a basic 2-star property and found on the upper north-east of the island. The property is nestled down a narrow road, alongside a small village where you can buy local arts and crafts. This hotel is budget, however it does offer great value for money. The ocean-view rooms are found in a block-style building, overlooking the pool in the centre of the hotel, however they do also offer an eyeline to the ocean. The entry level rooms in the back are basic and small with a garden view. We rate this hotel highly for people who are on a budget, but still want the luxurious views and beach experience of Zanzibar!

Essque Zalu 5*:
This is our only 5-star boutique property in Zanzibar. It’s perched on a small cliff affording guests breath-taking views of the ocean. Unfortunately the hotel isn’t on a beach, but there is a beautiful promenade with a gorgeous restaurant and bar on one end. Relax here in style while the setting sun turns the sky a softer hue. The rooms are big, and guests can stay in luxurious villas with their own private views over the ocean.  There is also a great spa and gym, while the staff are friendly and professional.

Gold Zanzibar 4*:
Travel to the upper north-east of Zanzibar to stay at this mid-range property. There is a spacious lobby with views over the rest of the hotel and out over the ocean. The rooms are large, and we would recommend this as perfect for honeymooners and couples, but not well-suited for families with small children. There is a wonderful and size-able beach with plenty of deck chairs to lounge on and work on your tan. The pool is modern and easily accessible from the beach. The 4-star beach villas each have their own theme, while the rest of the hotel is styled with an Arabesque look and feel.

La Gemma Dell Est 5*:
This upmarket, 5-star property is situated on the upper north-east of the island. Its beach was washed away and then restored, and now forms part of the hotel. The restaurant and bar are ideally situated by the pool and the beach. They afford great views of the sand and ocean. There is also a promenade from which to watch the sunset every evening while enjoying a refreshing cocktail and listening to live music.  The rooms are clean and well-presented and are all sea-facing. The restaurant’s menu is delicious. The hotel also offers complimentary WiFi in the common areas, but you’ll need to purchase access for your room.

Star of the East 5*:
This exclusive resort is found at La Gemma, but at the top of the hotel. The property offers stunning villas, complete with their own private swimming pools and restaurants.

Sea Cliff 4*:
Sea Cliff is a great 4-star resort conveniently found near the airport and Stone Town. It’s a large hotel and offers fantastic facilities, such as a new nine-hole golf course (the only one in Zanzibar). There are also motorised and non-motorised water sports, tennis and horse riding on offer. The front of the hotel has a large pool from where you can look out over the ocean. On a tidal beach, there is unfortunately nowhere to lie on the sand, but the pool makes up for this. The rooms are large and there is a great spa and gym for those wanting to unwind. We would recommend this hotel for families, plus the very active as there is plenty of offer to keep everyone entertained and busy.