Jambo! That’s the familiar Swahili greeting you’ll hear as you wander around the beautiful The Z Hotel situated on Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar.
This boutique hotel, opened in 2010, features just 39 rooms set amongst tropical gardens with steps down onto the powdery sands of Nungwi beach and views out onto the turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
The Z Hotel was named one of the “Trendiest Hotels in Zanzibar” by TripAdvisor, and I can see why. It has a light and airy feel to it and offers some quirky Zanzibari themes from brightly coloured cushions, artistic iron works sculpted into indigenous species complemented by some funky, modern Philippe Starck furniture.
As you know I’m a sun lover, so The Z is perfectly situated on, what is in my opinion, the best stretch of beach in Nungwi. This isn’t a private beach and as such there are plenty of people coming and going; lots of little vendors selling coconuts and your usual “beach boys” but everyone is very friendly. There’s plenty around and it’s particularly well placed for those looking to go out and make the most of the snorkelling and diving trips that are on offer in and around Nungwi. The hotel has numerous neighbouring quirky little bars and restaurants which add to the buzzing atmosphere and it seems to be the number one spot for people gathering to watch the unbelievable sunsets in the evenings. Nungwi has some larger, more private resorts but for me I chose The Z due to its locale, boutique feel and impressive reviews. It’s the Number 1 hotel in Nungwi on TripAdvisor and was voted 7th best hotel in Tanzania with over 500 other registered hotels. Clearly they are doing something right!
Due to a last-minute booking of this trip I missed out on one of the enviable suites on offer but we did stay in one of the Resort Deluxe rooms which looked out onto the gorgeous gardens and beach. Given the design of the hotel I don’t think any of the rooms have a bad view which I always love. The room wasn’t huge but was very comfortable and was in keeping with the rest of the hotel being brightly decorated with some lovely artwork. I wouldn’t have minded a slightly bigger bed but I think that’s just me being a bit of a bed-hogger (poor husband!).
Never one to miss out on a photo opp, I was very excited to discover the Bali-esque slate infinity pool set atop some decking overlooking the stunning beach and surrounded by luscious greenery. The pool has its own bar and the jovial staff will be more than happy to serve you cocktails, beers and snacks all day while you soak up the sun and the views. However, watch out for the margaritas as they’re pretty punchy!
Wander down the path that runs through the hotel and you will find the restaurants and bars, the spa and shop. I’d highly recommend the couples massage at the spa and if you go any day other than Wednesday and Sunday you’ll receive 25% off. If you’re feeling peckish for a pizza check out the Cinnamon restaurant which offers a more casual dining experience, set on the second floor with great views over the beach. Saruche restaurant is set on the ground floor decking and offers a more fine dining experience predominantly boasting fresh seafood. Come night-time and they lay out a few tables on the beach with candles dug into the sand for a super romantic evening! We ate here twice and the lobster tempura is a must, as is their catch of the day served grilled in a coconut curry sauce with fragrant rice. My apologies for the lack of pictures, it’s hard to get a good snap when you’re dining under the stars and by candlelight!
You cannot stay at The Z Hotel without watching the sunset in their trendy, open-air cocktail bar, aptly named Rooftops! Laze in their huge day beds decked out in brightly coloured African fabrics or one of the huge wooden chairs with a cocktail in hand and just watch the sky turn from blue to pink to purple. This was most definitely my favourite bar in Nungwi, it was modern, relaxed and perfect for a post-beach cocktail.
Finally, I cannot forget to say thank you to the amazing staff at The Z Hotel. Everyone from the reception staff, waiters and bartenders were so welcoming and friendly. With the place being relatively small the staff all remember you when you go for breakfast, hit the pool or are generally just walking around this little oasis. It really felt like a home away from home.
I cannot recommend The Z hotel enough, especially after having popped into some of the larger nearby hotels for food and drinks. It’s reasonably priced, relaxed and unbelievably welcoming.
Thank you for a fabulous stay!
For those of you wanting to hear more about the rest of our trip to Zanzibar keep an eye out for my next post!