Zanzibar Hotels

Baraza Resort and Spa

Located on Zanizbar’s eastern peninsula near Bwejuu, this five star all-inclusive resort offers a luxury service with dramatic style. With views over the Indian Ocean and striking traditional architecture, from afar, the hotel could be mistaken for one of the sultans’ palaces.

Accommodation at Baraza Resort and Spa

Various sizes and styles of room are on offer. There are 30 villas. 14 are one-bedroom, 7 of which are sea view and 7 of which are beachside. They are all en-suite with free-standing baths. They feature walk-in dressing rooms, living rooms, terraces with sun-loungers, plunge-pools, televisions, CD players, lounge-beds and mini-bars with tea and coffee making facilities. There are also 15 two bedroom standard villas (5 with views over the hotel grounds and 10 with ocean views). These offer all the above amenities but include an extra double bedroom with a more basic en suite (shower only).

The resort also offers one two bedroom Presidential Villa. This is positioned on the ocean front. The villa has two master bedrooms, both with superior en suite, a central living area, small kitchenette, guest wash room, large sun terrace and superior plunge pool. A butler or maid’s lodgings adjacent to the Presidential Villa can be made available.

All villas are spacious and clean and very comfortable. If you are dissatisfied in any way with your villa staff will do their best to move you.

Though the hotel openly boasts of antiques and grandeur throughout, some of the hotel’s furnishings are less impressive than others and not all items are as genuine as it at first appears. To many this comes as a disappointment. However, the hotel is undoubtedly sumptuous despite the occasional fake flower or reproduction chest. It is, after all, important to remember that the hotel is NOT in an authentic palace, it is modern, and much of the comfort it offers is due to that fact.

Food and Drink at Baraza Resort and Spa

Baraza offers three restaurants and a bar. The open air Livingstone Terrace where a breakfast buffet is served daily (7 30am-1000). Cooked options are also available to order; including waffles, pancakes and omelettes. To drink one can even opt for champagne or a Bloody Mary. An extensive buffet lunch is served in The Ocean Bar. This includes pizzas from the restaurants pizza oven, tandoori dishes and chef’s specials. Afternoon tea is also served in The Ocean Bar. Finally there is the Sultan’s Dining Room where dinner is usually served. This is sometimes buffet style and sometimes al a carte. The restaurant hosts various themed nights. Guests can also ask for private dining on the beach or on their villa terrace. Food is good quality and always fresh. The menu changes daily. The Dhahabu Bar & Lounge serves a variety of drinks before and after dinner.

Service at Baraza Resort and Spa

Service at Baraza is generally good. Staff are always friendly and polite. As the resort is comparatively small, service is also refreshingly personal. The hotel is expertly maintained and very clean. There is no luxury butler service on offer at Baraza as at many 5* resorts. But your villa host (who shows you to your room) will help handle any complaints you have if you contact reception. Due to the spread out nature of the resort orders can take some time if placed from your villa or the beach. Furthermore, many of the staff (as is the case with many of Zanzibar’s resorts) do not have an ideal level of English. However, staff and management are well intentioned. Managers are keen to make themselves known to guests and are on hand to help with any serious issues.

The hotel offers a number of activities. One can simply enjoy lounging by the hotel’s large pool, or going for a swim. Or there is the beach which, though not combed of seaweed like the picture-postcard beaches one may imagine, is lovely to walk or cycle along. It also does not suffer from the ubiquitous ‘beach-boys’ (you may meet just one or two) that prowl other strands selling goods and services.

As with all of Zanzibar’s unsheltered beaches, at low-tide bathing is impossible. Yet when the tide is out the hotel’s Water Club still offers a variety of ‘dry’ beach activities. When the tide is in, one can swim and snorkel. The Water Club will loan you sea-shoes for exploring the shallows as well. Guests can also book wind-surfing, kite-surfing and sailing trips. Diving can also be arranged through the hotel. The hotel has tennis courts and a yoga and fitness centre. Baraza’s Frangipani Spa offers good massages as well as facials.

How to get to Baraza Resort and Spa

Baraza is approximately one hour’s drive from Stone Town or from Zanzibar Airport. The hotel will happily arrange transfers for a fixed rate. One can also travel by taxi or hire car. Many guests choose to break their journey in the Jozani Forest nature reserve and catch a glimpse of Zanzibar’s Colobus monkeys.

Much of the coastline of this peninsula has been developed to reflect the luxury requirements of Western travellers. However, the surrounding villages and the roads reflect the poverty of Tanzania. Although hotel websites may advertise these places as ‘charming and traditional’ they may simply appear run-down.

Although the tourist industry has proved a destructive force in many parts of the country, it is also useful to bear in mind that many resorts and hotels, including the Baraza and its sister hotels The Palms and The Breezes, are now contributing to funds to support locals, and environmental projects that are advancing through Zanzibar.

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