“Small, personal lodge offering barefoot luxury, stylish organic architecture, fantastic marine life and total seclusion”
The lodge's setting and facilities are great, but its unique selling point is undoubtedly the 12 huge, organically designed thatched villas, which are all swirls and curves rather than straight lines. Choose between the slightly more expensive Sea View Villas and Sea View Family Villas which open right out onto the sea, or the Baobab Villas, which open onto the bush garden and have private Jacuzzi plunge pools plus air-conditioning. All have terraces from which you can watch the sun set or rise.
The master bedroom in each has a big kingsize bed, mosquito net and fan and is the only part of the villa that is fully enclosed. The rest is open plan, with a cushioned seating area, open-air (but private!) shower with hot water. Up the stairs in the Sea View Villas and Baobab Villas is a small traditional Zanzibar bed in the heavens (which can sleep 2 additional people). This is near the top of the vast circular thatched roof that shelters each villa, and it's a cosy, romantic space. Beautiful coconut wood furniture and doors throughout add elegance. White washed walls dotted with contemporary Zanzibar art keep it fresh. While in the Sea View Family Villas, upstairs are 2 small bedrooms, each with 2 single beds; the decor is just as beautiful, and provides a great extra space for families.
The open-plan bathrooms are equally exotic. Though well spaced, some villas face onto one another and onto paths, so you may feel worried about having to streak from the shower into the bedroom! However local kanga and kikoi cloth is provided to help guests maintain their modesty. Overall, the villas are glorious, and their openness makes you feel like you are on safari.
Breakfast is conventional but good, with fresh fruit such as mango and pineapple, breakfast cereals and hotel-made chocolate croissants. Pancakes, eggs and toast are available on request. And for that extra degree of luxury, tea and coffee is put in front of your villa early each morning before breakfast.
Owners Ralph and Elies have created a 3-course menu for dinner in the restaurant. The options are fairly limited, 2 starters, 3 mains and 2 desserts, but the main course always offers a meat dish, seafood of some kind and a vegetarian option, so you’re likely to be able to find something suitable. Lunch is less formal, with a light menu of sandwiches, salads and snacks, plus a specials board with 3 cooked options.
Surprisingly, despite the hotel having a strong local Zanzibari emphasis in terms of buildings and staff, the menus have a European slant, although there are sometimes Swahili-style buffets and barbeques. The dinner on our last night of fish carpaccio, grilled barracuda and cashew nut tart with unripe mango slices was absolutely gorgeous.
Owners Ralph and Elies welcome children, babies stay for free and those aged 2-12 years receive a 50% discount on the adult rate.
The 2 Sea View Family Villas have 3 enclosed bedrooms. Baobab and Sea View Villas have a double bed in the loft, which could work well for kids who can share, with a master bedroom downstairs. All villas have showers.
Babysitting is available, but there's a small cost (per night) and sitters do not speak English. See rates.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Food is available all day. The restaurant often serves an early tea for children, including half portions of adult mains, and parents can dine together later when the children are in bed.
Bring everything you need with you - there are no shops nearby. Possible hazards include: the unfenced pool and plunge pools, sea urchins and coral rock cliffs. Keep your eyes on your children!