Zanzibar Hotels

Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa

This is a five star resort, the flagship hotel of the Bluebay Group, it is a large enterprise comprising of myriad makuti-thatched cottages set in 20 acres of private cultivated garden. For those accustomed to five star travel the hotel may prove underwhelming. By Western standards Bluebay is probably closer to a four star hotel. The resort predominantly offers half-board packages.

The resort is located in the Kiwengwa region (renowned for large tourist resorts). The beaches in this region are exceptional (white sands and blue ocean) though they do suffer from swarms of ‘beach-boys’ selling anything from day-tours to themselves.

Accommodation at Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa

The majority of the resort’s rooms and suites are perched on a raised outcrop overlooking the private gardens and pool, some with views out to the ocean. All rooms include en suite bathrooms external verandas or balconies, air-conditioning and ceiling fans, mini-bars, hair-dryers, telephones, satellite television, electronic safes and tea and coffee making facilities. The most basic rooms are the Garden Rooms. These are somewhat removed from the coast and the hotel’s amenities. They do not offer exciting views. However, they are reasonably sized and comfortable with large beds.

The resort’s Superior Rooms offer the same facilities, but are slightly larger and in a far better location. They are raised up, overlooking the hotel’s gardens, the pool and the ocean.

The hotel’s private Club24 section boasts 24 newer rooms with various private facilities especially for Club24 guests. Club24 rooms are all sea view with access to a free-flow pool with separate Jacuzzi and a separate lounge-bar and restaurant. They are suitable for those for whom the idea of being removed from the bustle of the main resort appeals.

Junior Suites in a secluded wing close to the beach are also available. These offer private lounge areas and luxury décor as well as access to exclusive sections of the resort. Sultan Suites provide the resort’s most exclusive accommodation. These are very large and located just a few meters from the beach. They also feature a private butler service.

All rooms are generally clean, but as is suggested, the accommodation varies and those paying less may feel that their packages do not sufficiently represent the hotel’s rating. Furthermore, older parts of the hotel would benefit from updating.

Food and Drink at Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa

The resort’s main restaurant serves buffet breakfast and dinner. There is much variety in the food and each night the menu is themed differently. As the resort tends to attract large package tour groups the buffet can run out of certain items if you decide to dine late. Food is somewhat blander than at other establishments in order to cater for palates of all ages and tastes. The al a carte lunch restaurant offers better food (though this costs extra) including stone baked pizzas and good burgers. The beach side restaurant (costs extra) is often closed in the evening due to low-demand from the majority of the hotel’s half-board clientele.

As the hotel is very popular with seniors and this is reflected in the entertainment on offer during meal-times. Live music tends to have a retro feel and can seem rather clichéd and ‘music-hall.’ Yet it does vary, and spectacles such as acrobatics are not to be missed.

What’s on offer at Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa?

Staff at Bluebay are generally efficient and attentive, although they tend to be quieter and less friendly than at other resorts. The service is perhaps rather anonymous. This is largely due to the resort’s size and the patrons the establishment most normally attracts. Tipping is commonly expected by Bluebay staff.

The Bluebay Resort and Spa is most suited to those wishing to do nothing and just enjoy some rest and relaxation. Activities on offer and Bluebay include:

Use of the large pool. This is well maintained and clean.

Walks on the local beach and bathing in the sea. Be warned that the ocean can get rough and that the private beach is hugely subject to the changing character of the tides.


Children’s Club.

PADI scuba diving and snorkeling by arrangement through recreation and water-sports centre (for an extra charge).

Sports facilities.

Excursions (these may be organized independently for a better value deal).

Big Game fishing trips can be organised through the hotel.

The resort offers a boutique shop.

The resort offers a money exchange facility and guests can also pay for their stay by credit card. However, exchange rates here are very poor, and the credit card charge reasonably high. You are advised to change your money in Stone Town or on the mainland in order not to suffer losing a lot of currency.

How to get to Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa

The resort is just under an hour from Zanzibar Airport or from Stone Town, and the hotel is able to arrange transfers for a flat fare from either. Otherwise one can hire a car (with or without driver) or take a taxi.

Much of this region has been developed to reflect the luxury requirements of Western travellers. However, the surrounding villages and the roads reflect the poverty of Tanzania. One must be prepared for the fact that Zanzibar is still a developing country.

Furthermore, though the tourist industry has proved a destructive force in many parts of the country, it is also important to bear in mind that many resorts and hotels are now contributing to funds to support locals in their regions. The Bluebay Resort itself has a strict environmental policy.

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