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Zanzibar hotels

Hotels in Zanzibar offer something for everyone, from backpacker-friendly bungalows to gaudy all-inclusives with thumping house music. The plushest options are offshore, on private islands like Mnemba and Chumbe, where discreet thatched-roof bungalows offer the ultimate take on "barefoot luxury." For divers, all-inclusives like Mnemba Island Lodge and Fundu Lagoon are your best bet with PADI-certified dive centers, proximity to the best dive sites, and free snorkeling and kayaking.

By sticking to Unguja—the island most commonly referred to as "Zanzibar"—you'll avoid the long transfer times (and hefty costs) involved with the archipelago's private island hideaways. The island's best beaches are along the east coast and in the north; not surprisingly, that's where you'll also find the most development. Rowdy resorts in beach towns like Nungwi and Kendwa can be more "Paradise Lost" than tropical paradise with sun-bronzed Italians cavorting in Cavalli swimwear, especially during the legendary full-moon parties. Quieter villages such as Matemwe or Jambiani have more mellow lodging options. Families should consider the idyllic Palms resort, where the adjacent Breezes Beach Club has plenty to keep the kids busy while mom and dad sip cocktails by the pool.

Be sure to book a few days in Stone Town to get a taste of Zanzibar's unique cultural offerings (and to stock up on souvenirs). A wave of new boutique options, like the Zanzibar Palace Hotel, has raised the bar for anyone wanting to indulge their inner sultan. Built from former palaces and traditional Swahili homes, most are hidden in the maze of twisting alleys that make addresses in Stone Town moot; ask the hotel for directions if you're arriving on your own, or arrange for a pickup at the airport or ferry terminal.

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236 Hurumzi, Stone Town

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...more

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Editors' Pick
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Chumbe Island Coral Park, Chumbe Island

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...more

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Editors' Pick
Fundu Lagoon, Pemba Island

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....more

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Editors' Pick
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Kilindi, Zanzibar

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...more

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Editors' Pick
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Mnemba Island Lodge, Mnemba Island

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...more

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Editors' Pick
The Palms, Bwejuu

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...more

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Editors' Pick
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Salome's Garden, Bububu

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...more

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Editors' Pick
Zanzibar Palace Hotel, Stone Town

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...more

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Editors' Pick
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Zanzibar Serena Inn, Stone Town

The Serena, Stone Town's most luxurious hotel, is right on the waterfront. The cool white rooms have traditionally carved furniture, with louvered doors...more

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

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