“A well-priced, laid-back and contemporary hideaway, a minute’s walk from a white-sand beach”
Spread across thatched, single-storey buildings, the rooms steer away from the traditional Zanzibari-Arabic style that's commonplace on the island, towards fresh whites and soft blues that reflect the beach and ocean. Crisp linens, fantastically comfortable mattresses, ceiling fans and air conditioning make for satisfying sleeps, though the beds (kingsize or twin) could do with an extra row of pillows to aid lounging and reading. Each room has an enclosed shower and WC set either side of an open-plan basin area, and there’s compact though sufficient cupboard space. Sliding patio doors open onto a private terrace, with a table, chairs and a daybed screened by foliage.
The 4 Superior Rooms are 10sq.m bigger than the Standard Rooms and feature a good-sized sofa which can be transformed into an extra bed on request. Other than that all rooms are largely equal, sharing the same layout and design, though it's worth noting that numbers 25-28 overlook a walkway rather than one of the sparkling blue pools.
Breakfast is served in the breezy upstairs restaurant, with views towards the ocean. Basic but scrummy cooked dishes are available alongside a buffet of fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurt, tropical juices and homemade bread and pastries.
Lunch is generally taken in the lounge-bar, on casual sofas arranged around low tables. There’s an informal menu of sandwiches, salads and burgers, all very tasty and well presented. Dinner can also be eaten here, and there’s an array of mouth-watering cocktails, together with robust espressos. Slightly more formal dinners are served under the stars on a section of sand overlooking the main pool - a serene setting. The varied menu has an emphasis on fresh seafood (flame-grilled prawns with mango salad, various fish in spicy sauces), though we found it somewhat lacking in flavour; much more satisfying are the themed dinners which take place 4 times a week (pizzas, BBQs) - particularly the Swahili evening, which is accompanied by Masai dancing.
If you fancy a change, there are other restaurants in Paje, including a surprisingly authentic sushi place.
Dhow Inn is certainly child-friendly, with pools and the beach nearby. Older children will enjoy the various watersports on offer, though it would be worth bringing additional entertainment (books, a laptop with DVDs) for younger kids.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
There are no two-bedroom suites so families can either take two adjacent rooms (twins are available) or the 4 Superior Rooms have sofas that can be made up as extra beds for an additional charge. All rooms can accommodate baby cots (free). Note that all bathrooms have showers only (no baths)
The hotel offers a babysitting service
Food is served all day, and the burgers and sandwiches in the lounge-bar are ideal for kids. Adapted dinner menus are available, too
Shield kids from the tropical sun