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Tanzania Hotels

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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236 Hurumzi
236 Hurumzi Street
Stone Town , Zanzibar
Tanzania
Tel: 255 77 742 3266
236hurumzibookings@zanlink.com
www.236hurumzi.com

One of the most romantic hotels in Africa, 236 Hurumzi offers an immersion into the heady exoticism traditionally associated with Zanzibar. There's no pool, and the rooms lack modern conveniences like phones; instead, your unit is filled with original Zanzibar antiques, and you sleep in a regal bed draped with mosquito nets, piled with richly embroidered pillows, and scattered with jasmine flowers. Each of the 16 rooms is unique: The gigantic Ballroom has a wood-carved balcony running its length; the Keep Suite has its own tea house in a turret on the roof. Breakfast, included in the price, is served buffet-style in the rooftop restaurant, accompanied by stunning views of the Indian Ocean. A six-room annex at 240 Hurumzi, added in 2008, offers the same opulent sultan's style but with shared kitchen facilities—perfect for anyone looking to try their hand at grilling up a fresh catch from the market.

Closed in May.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Arusha Coffee Lodge
Burka Coffee Estate
Arusha
Tanzania
Tel: 255 27 255 3242
info@elewana.com
www.elewana.com/acl/arusha-coffee-lodge.html

The Arusha Coffee Lodge, located on a quiet coffee plantation five minutes' drive from the Arusha airport, caters to weary international arrivals. (Safari-bound travelers typically arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport late at night, crash at a hotel, and board a charter flight out of Arusha early the next morning.) In the guest rooms, design details—sinks that look like coffee beans suspended in amber, and toffee- and cream-colored textiles—reference the surrounding plantation. The massive soaking tubs, three-head rain showers, and private decks with outdoor fireplace will help you unwind post-flight. The only drawback is that the villas, which house the 18 guest rooms, have corrugated metal roofs; the noise from tree branches and monkeys can be unsettling at night, and the roofs mar the otherwise well-manicured look of the grounds. Still, the lodge is a soft landing after a long trip, and if you have time to spare, it's a good base for exploring the crafts markets and restaurants of Arusha. —Collen Clark

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Chumbe Island Coral Park
Chukwani Road
Chumbe Island , Zanzibar
Tanzania
Tel: 255 24 223 1040
bookings@chumbeisland.com
www.chumbeisland.com

Escape from traffic, phones, TV, and e-mail on idyllic Chumbe Island. Guests retreat from civilization in palm-thatched bungalows right by the ocean, though this isn't exactly roughing it: Bathrooms have hot and cold water, and the rooms are decorated with African fabrics, traditional art, and hand-carved furniture. The eco-friendly accommodations use solar power, organic soap, and filtered rainwater. At night, dine under a palm-thatched roof, next door to the small mosque built for the lighthouse keepers nearly 100 years ago. The price includes boat transfers to the island from the beach of the Mbweni Ruins Hotel, as well as full board, plus guided nature walks and snorkeling excursions on the Reef Sanctuary.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Fundu Lagoon
Pemba Island , Zanzibar
Tel: 255 77 743 8668
reservations@fundulagoon.com
www.fundulagoon.com

Fundu Lagoon is nothing if not remote: You'll have to take a plane, car, and boat from Stone Town just to reach its secluded stretch of sand on Pemba Island. All the better for the A-list types drawn to British fashion designer Ellis Flyte's eco-chic vibe. The 18 hill- and beachside bungalows are well spaced for maximum privacy, linked by a network of sandy paths winding through the jungle. Rooms are stylish but understated, with dark hardwood floors, crisp white linens, and cushy king-size beds. The four massive superior suites, with private plunge pools and split-level, open-air common areas, are the perfect honeymoon hideaways. But despite all the canoodling couples, the vibe around Fundu stays lively. Most guests are happy to mingle on the jetty bar—or sip cocktails by the hilltop infinity pool—before retiring to their evening seclusion. Decadent seafood dinners are served in the breezy, thatched-roof restaurant. You're likely to work up an appetite through the range of activities on offer, from sailing to fishing to kayaking. In addition, Pemba lies at the heart of some of the world's top dive sites. The on-site PADI-certified dive shop offers a range of courses and excursions to help you explore them.

Closed mid-April through mid-June.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam
Kivukoni Street
Dar es Salaam
Tanzania
Tel: 255 764 704 704
daressalaam.kilimanjaro@hyatt.com
daressalaam.kilimanjaro.hyatt.com

Editor's Note: This property is now the Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam.

A renovated 180-room hotel across the street from the Indian Ocean, the Kili, as locals call it, is a modernist beauty that dates to the mid-sixties, when the newly independent country was full of optimism. Socialist economic fumbling followed, and the property eventually shut down for a decade. Happily, Kempinski has given the Kili a strong sense of place, with a stone facade, rooms that use the same bright colors you'll find in the local markets, and amenities including satellite TV and a big pool. The first-rate Asian restaurant instantly became the hottest table in town, and whether you need tickets on a flight to Zanzibar or want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the concierge is fast and reliable.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Kilindi
Zanzibar
Tanzania
Tel: 255 24 223 1954
reservations@kilindi.com
www.kilindi.com

Located on the quiet northern coast of Zanzibar, Kilindi is a tranquil place to round out your time in Tanzania after the excitement of a safari or a Kilimanjaro climb. Antique Zanzibari doors lead to 15 private pavilions, which include a bedroom with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, a lounge, a dining area, a sundeck, an open-air bathroom, and two plunge pools. The white domes of the pavilions add a touch of whimsy to the landscape, deflect the sun, and collect rain for watering the 52-acre grounds. Much of the produce that chef Richie Tewnion (formerly of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen) pairs with local seafood is grown organically at the hotel; other plantings are designed to attract tropical birds and colorful butterflies. Keep in mind that Kilindi is an hour and a half outside Stone Town—if you're hoping to explore the city's restaurants and markets, book a hotel that's closer to town, such as the Zanzibar Serena Inn. —Collen Clark

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp
Serengeti National Park
Tanzania
Tel: 255 28 262 1518
kirawira@serena.co.tz
www.serenahotels.com/tanzania/kirawira/home.asp

Wildebeest make their annual migration below this tented camp where "the ordinary is extraordinary." Colonial-themed quarters are styled to replicate hunting camps and "are well above even luxury city hotels." Inside the tents, find steamer trunks, brass lamps, and four-poster beds with patchwork quilts. Chefs prepare "magnificent multi-course meals" served on blue-and-white china by staff who are "unfailingly eager to please."

(25 tents)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Lupita Island
Lake Tanganyika
Tanzania
Tel: 255 27 2508773
info@firelightexpeditions.com
www.firelightexpeditions.com/lupita

While many visitors to Tanzania follow the tourist circuit to Zanzibar for post-safari rest and relaxation, we suggest heading to Lupita Island, a more laid-back tropical alternative. This private island resort's 13 open-air villas start at 1,800 square feet, have private plunge pools, separate living areas, and bathrooms with large soaking tubs and grottolike stone showers. While the design occasionally lacks sophistication (grating color combinations, mishmashed styles), the antique Zanzibari trunks and armoires fashioned out of reclaimed wood from shipping dhows are a nice touch. And the hotel's location, on rocky cliffs surrounded by Lake Tanganyika's emerald waters, is spectacular. With snorkels, scuba gear, sailboats, sea kayaks, speedboats, and spa services at your disposal—and, with the exception of massages, included in the room rate—the days can be as busy or as lazy as you'd like. At night, the starry sky blends into the flickering lights of boats on the lake as you dine on fish caught earlier that day. —Collen Clark

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Mnemba Island Lodge
Mnemba Island , Zanzibar
Tanzania
Tel: 888 882 3742
usa@ccafrica.com
www.mnemba-island.com

A favorite haunt of stars and supermodels, this private island is astronomically expensive—and one of the most romantic places on earth. The resort offers just ten secluded beachside bandas, or cottages, roofed with hand-woven palm matting. Each features a spacious veranda, a huge bed with intricate Zanzibar-style carved wood, and a covered walkway leading to a separate bathroom. Guests feast on fresh fruit, fish, and lobsters. By day, they can laze on the beach, get a massage, or explore the reef around the island, which teems with 600 species of fish, ghost crabs, and green turtles. The price includes all meals, drinks, scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Tanzania
Tel: 255 11 809 4300
webenquiries@ccafrica.com
www.ccafrica.com/reserve-1-id-2-12

This property's huts re-create the look of the mud-and-stick homes of the Masai. Accommodations are "beautifully integrated into the surroundings, each maximizing the view" of the UNESCO World Heritage Site crater. The "personal attention" of staff, from "the rose petals placed in a hot bath after safari to the fire built every night by your personal butler, will keep you coming back." Expect pan-African cuisine in the domed dining room.

(36 suites)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Oyster Bay
Toure Drive
Dar es Salaam
Tanzania
Tel: 44 1932 260 618
reservations@theoysterbayhotel.com
theoysterbayhotel.com

The Oyster Bay hotel in Dar es Salaam is such a mellow, friendly affair that it's a shame most guests spend just one night here on their way to Tanzania's game reserves. Hotel manager Maretha Wentzel and her staff greet guests at the door with scented towels, cold drinks, and a warm welcome (when we arrived sans baggage after an airline snafu, toiletries, pajamas, and shopping suggestions were quickly forthcoming). While the neutral color palette and emphasis on texture (rattan couches, brushed concrete floors, jute carpets, and leather armchairs) in the eight guest rooms has the feel of an urban loft, details, such as oversize tribal portraits, root the design in Africa. Each suite faces the Indian Ocean and has a large bathroom with a rain shower and a large soaking tub. At night, the garrulous Wentzel, and occasionally a cast of her expat friends, joins guests at the communal dining table for Africa-inspired seasonal dishes, which adds to the impression that you've dropped by the villa of a globe-trotting friend. —Collen Clark

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Palahala Camp
Katavi National Park
Tanzania
Tel: 255 27 2508773
info@firelightexpeditions.com
www.firelightexpeditions.com/palahala

You'll have to spring for a private charter flight (arranged by your tour operator) to get to Palahala Camp, but the lodge's remote location in Katavi National Park means that you don't have to share lion sightings with a traffic jam of other safari jeeps. Husband and wife team Ben and Rika Venter, both experienced guides, take a back-to-safari-basics approach to game viewing: Guests track animals on foot and walk among zebra herds rather than passively taking it in from a bumping SUV. (Game drives are available, too.) The camp's eight large tents—furnished with the work of Tanzanian artisans, such as rustic wooden beds and orange mohair blankets—are less polished than the accommodations at the Singita Grumeti lodges. And the camp's commitment to low-impact tourism means that you'll be bathing with bucket showers and enduring occasional stuffiness in the tents, which lack air conditioners or fans. But it's easy to make these comfort concessions once you're sipping a sundowner beside a river full of wildlife (Katavi has more hippos and crocodiles than any other park in Africa) or swapping safari adventure tales over fireside dinners under the stars. —Collen Clark

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
The Palms
Bwejuu , Zanzibar
Tanzania
Tel: 255 77 444 0881
info@palms-zanzibar.com
www.palms-zanzibar.com

The Palms is an intimate alternative to the more generic family-style resorts cluttering Zanzibar's busiest beaches. Nestled on the idyllic Bwejuu peninsula an hour's drive from Stone Town, the resort's six palatial villas blend modern amenities such as satellite TV and DVD players with traditional Swahili-style trappings: brass lamps, hand-carved day beds, and palm-thatched roofs. Each of the 1,500-square-foot villas has a bedroom, living room, full bathroom, dressing room, and a second bedroom with its own en suite bathroom, not to mention a large furnished terrace with views of the Indian Ocean. Private plunge pools and beachside bandas—complete with cushiony loungers—are ideal for afternoon snoozes or sundowners, though beach traffic from the neighboring Breezes resort can occasionally interrupt your serenity. Still, an air of exclusivity pervades every inch of the resort, from the discreet but attentive service to the afternoon tea served in the elegant, colonial-style Plantation House. A host of water sports are also available through the five-star PADI center at Breezes.

Closed mid-April through May.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Salome's Garden
8 miles north of Stone Town on the waterfront
Bububu , Zanzibar
Tanzania
Tel: 39 051 234 974
info@houseofwonders.com
www.salomes-garden.com

This 19th-century Zanzibar country house was once the residence of Princess Salome, the offspring of a sultan and a concubine, and is now leased to the House of Wonders travel company by the royal family of Al Buseid. Exotically furnished with local antiques, colonial furniture, Persian carpets, and Arab tiles, the manor is surrounded by 18 acres of walled private orchards and verdant tropical gardens overflowing with bougainvillea. The four enormous bedrooms have four-poster beds with mosquito nets. Ask for the lovely Princess Salome room, which has nine double windows overlooking the ocean. Breakfast is included; lunch and dinner are available by request.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sanctuary Swala
Tarangire National Park
Tanzania
Tel: 255 27 250 9817
info@sanctuaryretreats.com
www.sanctuaryretreats.com/lodges/tanzania/swala-camp.cfm

A hauntingly beautiful landscape of winding rivers, ancient woodlands, swamps, and open savanna, Tarangire is home to all of the Big Five except rhino and, although plagued with biting tsetse flies, is one of the best places in Africa to observe elephants and lions. Here, Swala camp—newly swank after an update and relocated amid a stand of umbrella-shaped acacia tortilis trees—has 12 large tents on wooden platforms. All have private verandas, separate dressing areas, netted beds, and both indoor and outdoor showers; Wi-Fi is available in the reception area. You'll eat excellent modern African cuisine in the thatched open-air dining area that sits beneath a centuries-old baobab overlooking the water hole, which during the dry season attracts so many animals—including lions—that you may be tempted to skip the twice-daily game drives in the tsetse fly–vulnerable open vehicles.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sayari Camp
Serengeti National Park
Tanzania
reservations@asiliaafrica.com
www.asiliaafrica.com/index.php?id=1

The northern Serengeti is the stage for the annual drama of migrating wildebeest herds crossing the crocodile-infested Mara River. Sayari, currently the region's only permanent tented camp, offers a degree of luxury unmatched by seasonal mobile safaris, including a large swimming pool, bar, library, lounge, and two tented dining areas atop a hill with views onto the Lamai Wedge, where the enormous herds gather. Each of the 15 suites has a tented roof, hardwood floors, and a private terrace; sliding-glass doors keep out insects and optimize views during the day, while zippered screens let in breezes and bush noises (howling hyenas and grunting hippos) but not mosquitoes at night. A resident spa therapist is on call for in-room treatments. Articulate guides display keen tracking skills on walking safaris and drives in open-air vehicles, and staff are happy to arrange alfresco candlelit dinners for couples seeking privacy.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Selous Project
Selous Game Reserve
Tanzania
Tel: +255 767 755 537
info@selousproject.com
selousproject.com

Safari lodges have been locked in an amenities arms race of increasingly tricked-out SUVs and villas citadeled in a mess of marble bathrooms and infinity pools. With just four tents in a 300,000-acre protected wildlife reserve, the Selous Project is an ambitious new camp that harks back to the original Swahili meaning of the word safari: journey. Instead of passively watching animals from a jeep, you'll jump out to track them on foot, hiding in grassy outcrops to photograph elephants and hippos swimming in the river. Overnight portered safaris and fly-camping get you even closer to the rhythms of the reserve with mesh tents that allow you to fall asleep under a blanket of stars and awake with the first pink rays of sunrise. The main camp sits in the shade of a riverine forest on the banks of the Luwego, and the sizable tents were designed based on nineteenth-century British army specifications, with elegant campaign furniture constructed from reclaimed hardwoods, flickering antique hurricane lamps, and handsome Egyptian rugs. Solar panels harnessing energy for the camp top shaded daybeds on stilts in the river. Even more important, the project is creating a model for sustainable tourism in Tanzania by converting an area that would otherwise be used for big game hunting, protecting the diversity that makes this one of Africa's last great untouched wilderness areas.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Singita Grumeti Faru Faru Lodge
near Serengeti National Park
Tanzania
Tel: 255 27 250 8976
singita@singita.com
www.singita.com/index.php/game-reserves/lodges-and-camps-in-tanzania/singita-faru-faru-lodge

Faru Faru is the most whimsical of the Singita Grumeti Reserve's three lodges. The nine glass-fronted villas hug the banks of a riverbed and a grassy watering hole, so you can sit back in a canvas lounge chair or cushy armchair and watch monkeys swinging through the trees and elephants bathing in the cool water below. Should you feel inspired by the surroundings, there are watercolors and sketch pads on a sawhorse work desk—previous guests' work, along with feathers, pressed flowers, and porcupine quills, adorn an artfully curated wall in each guest room. The bedrooms open on to a dressing area and bathroom with a large soaking tub; all of the villas also include open-air rain showers. Faru Faru has a more laid-back, social vibe than its comparatively formal sister properties, Sasakwa and Sabora Tented Camp: Guests here mingle in the open-air living room and sip drinks around the communal fire pit. Even Faru Faru's cuisine—light and Med-inspired—is a welcome change from the too-rich menus served at other lodges.—Collen Clark

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Singita Grumeti Reserves
near Serengeti National Park
Tanzania
Tel: 770 947 7049
www.singita.com

American billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II has established three splendid lodgings—Sasakwa, Sabora, and Faru Faru—within his 340,000-acre tract adjoining Serengeti National Park. Sasakwa Lodge, the most sumptuous, comprises seven suites styled as colonial manor houses, with fireplaces, claw-foot tubs, a wraparound veranda, a plunge pool, and Wi-Fi. Between game drives, guests can smoke complimentary Cuban cigars at the main lodge's bar, take tea in the garden sunroom, shoot billiards on a nineteenth-century table, and make free satellite phone calls; other diversions include an archery range and a stable of horses for gallops alongside the herds. On an open plain, Sabora has six tents furnished with antiques from an English lord's East African campaign and two 1930s Chevy touring cars. Faru Faru's six tents sit in wooded country by the Grumeti River.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Singita Grumeti Sabora Tented Camp
near Serengeti National Park
Tanzania
Tel: 255 27 250 8976
singita@singita.com
www.singita.com/index.php/game-reserves/lodges-and-camps-in-tanzania/singita-sabora-tented-camp

Sabora Camp's nine spacious tents—outfitted with Persian rugs, antique vanities, and brass lanterns that throw soft light on crystal barware—offer guests pure colonial-style luxury. Because the camp is located on the open plains of the Singita Grumeti Reserve, staying here makes you feel like you're at the center of the action: Open your tent flaps at sunrise and you can watch wildebeests greeting the day from your canopied bed (who needs TV?). The large tents that make up the common area include a library and sitting room decorated with campaign-style furniture and antiques from an English lord's East African travels. The dining tent serves European-inspired cuisine, prepared with local, organic ingredients, by candlelight—a hearty reward after game drives and tennis matches on a termite-mound-clay court. If you're looking to split the difference between the white-glove treatment at sister lodge Sasakwa and the barefoot luxury of Faru Faru, Sabora's storybook Out of Africa ambience will be a good fit.—Collen Clark

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Singita Grumeti Sasakwa Lodge
near Serengeti National Park
Tanzania
Tel: 255 27 250 8976
singita@singita.com
www.singita.com/index.php/game-reserves/lodges-and-camps-in-tanzania/singita-sasakwa-lodge

Lording it over the Singita Grumeti Reserve's 340,000 acres from a stately cliff-top perch, Sasakwa is the Buckingham Palace of safari lodges. Mahogany four-poster beds, imported chandeliers, antique writing desks, and claw-foot tubs decorate the guest quarters. There are nine one- to three-bedroom cottages, plus a family-friendly four-bedroom with what the lodge proposes as a two-bedroom "nanny flat" on the basement level (Sasakwa is one of the few properties that allow children under 12). There's more opulence in the Edwardian-style manor house, which includes the main dining room, serving rich dishes such as osso buco; a garden room filled with local flora; and a lounge stocked with wildlife books. Morning and afternoon game drives (in open Land Rovers or on horseback, the lodge being home to one of Africa's largest equestrian centers) are, of course, the main event. And there's no shortage of other pursuits, including archery, mountain biking, tennis, and spa treatments. But make some time, too, for observing elephants and zebras from your private infinity pool. While the white-glove service and opulent decor can be a bit full-on, you'll feel protected and safe in your large cottage, making it the perfect first stop for finding your safari legs. If you're splitting your time between the three lodges of the Singita Grumeti Reserve (the other two are Faru Faru and Sabora Tented Camp), the staff will build your transfer into the day's game drive.—Collen Clark

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Zanzibar Palace Hotel
Stone Town , Zanzibar
Tanzania
Tel: 255 24 223 2230
palacehotel@zanlink.com
www.zanzibarpalacehotel.com

Housed in a refurbished 19th-century villa, the Zanzibar Palace Hotel is an elegant addition to the Stone Town scene. The nine-room Palace doesn't stray far from the script written by its competitors—think high, timbered ceilings, richly embroidered silks, and ornate glowing lanterns. It's the meticulous attention to detail, though, that helps the Palace to stand out. The colorful collection of colonial-era bric-a-brac is thoughtfully edited and transcends what in other hotels could come off as an Arabian Nights rip-off. No less impressive are the palatial en suite facilities, ranging from private balconies overlooking the city to in-room spa treatments and massive stone tubs for two. Our favorites are the Farizah, located in the palace's former ballroom, and the Suite Dunia, with rooftop views to the sea. For all the royal treatment, though, a little warmth would go a long way in making this palace feel like home. Staff often seem to be walking on pins and needles, and while the kitchen dishes out competent takes on Swahili and continental cuisine, you'd do well to pass on the funereal dining room for one of Stone Town's livelier eating options.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Zanzibar Serena Inn
Kelele Square
Stone Town , Zanzibar
Tanzania
Tel: 255 242 233 587
zanzibar@serena.co.tz
www.serenahotels.com/zanzibar/inn/home.asp

The Serena, Stone Town's most luxurious hotel, is right on the waterfront. The cool white rooms have traditionally carved furniture, with louvered doors that open onto wrought-iron balconies. Such details as carved staircases, lavishly embroidered rugs, and heavy brass-studded doors make the Serena resemble a sultan's palace—but one with modern conveniences (rooms have satellite TV, phone, and Internet access). Relax in the Persian bath-style pool, get a massage in your room, or have the attentive staff arrange a sightseeing tour for you. The hotel's excellent seafood restaurant serves guests on an open-air terrace; downstairs, the equally romantic Baharia restaurant is constructed so that waves lap within inches of the windows. As you eat, you'll see lateen-sailed dhows drift lazily by.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.