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Luxury On The Grandest Scale at Essque Zalu Zanzibar

By Kach Umandap July 3rd, 2017 Posted in Africa Travel Blog, Luxury Hotel Review, Travel Blog No comments

Sitting next to the hypnotic Indian Ocean, the Essque Zalu Zanzibar in Nungwi, Zanzibar in Tanzania is just luxury on a massive scale. The size of the hotel is shocking. It is such a big property. They have a large lounge, large rooms, large everything!

Chilling at Essque Zalu Zanzibar 8

Aerial view of Essque Zalu Zanzibar

Getting here, we took the early ferry ride from Dar Es Salaam to Zanzibar, which is 730 AM and we arrived at 930 AM. When we arrived, we got in a queue to get our passports stamped by the immigration officer even though Zanzibar is still a part of Tanzania.

Then, we had to stay at the VIP Lounge since we cannot find the driver of our transfer that we have arranged with the hotel! We paid $60 for this ride, but after 15 minutes of nothing, we decided to take a taxi for $40. But on the street, the hotel driver finally saw us and took us in! HAHA! What a great way to begin the trip!

At the hotel, the receptionist is very friendly. We had welcome drinks and checked in smoothly. All is good!

The Promise of A Great Escape Fulfilled

Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa known for its wilderness areas, great lakes, and safari – a great escape waiting to happen any time!

Sea side at Essque Zalu Zanzibar 7

It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. There is a feeling of expanse here, and with that comes abundance and a lot of luxury.

The Rooms

Here, it is hard to fight a deep snuggle. Everything is just so comforting and the views are amazing. At every turn, there is something nice to marvel at. It could be the beautiful lagoon, the ocean, or the flourishing gardens – one sight after another to bring you more relaxation.

Essque Zalu Zanzibar has 40 suites and eight three and four-bedroom villas. Our bedroom is a second-floor villa with one bedroom and twin beds. It had a small lounge and a cozy balcony. The design is serene and evocative of an island lifestyle – it tells you that you are definitely on a lovely holiday! Other amenities include a mini-bar, solar heated shower, LCD TV with satellite channels, and free Wi-Fi.

The villas here are large, four to five bedrooms with its own swimming pool, kitchen, terrace, and spacious lounge. It is like a proper house. Design-wise, it is crafted from local materials featuring native artwork and a traditional pitched Makuti roof.

Meanwhile, the other side of the resort where we are staying had the suites. It is already big – it fits three adults and two children but the villas are even bigger as it can accommodate six to eight adults!

The Facilities

Infinity pool – Essque Zalu Zanzibar has a huge infinity swimming pool overlooking the beach and jetty with a long dock. There are a lot of sunbeds, which is great for sunbathing. There is also a mini-bar by the pool.

The Spa – We had a complimentary one-hour Balinese spa massage. It was great. We even feel asleep, which is always a good sign! But the highlight of this treatment facility is the Maasai ritual. It incorporates the culture of Tanzania into the treatment. The experience can take up to four hours and there are people singing while you enjoy all the treatments, along with a Tiki set up.

Kids Club – Entertainment and education combine to bring the children a pleasurable experience at the Tinga Club. It welcomes children ages 4 to 12 and is open from 10 AM to 12 NN, 2 PM to 4 PM, and 7 PM to 9 PM.

The Food

The Jetty of Essque Zalu Zanzibar

Food is definitely one of the best things about staying at Essque Zalu Zanzibar. They made such a massive experience out of it!

Lunch at the Jetty, Essque ZanzibarIn the afternoon of our arrival, the Marketing Manager met us and took us to the restaurant called The Jetty. It is like a floating restaurant but more like a dock. It was relaxing and the food was amazing. They gave us tapas for appetizers and the main course was grilled seafood. The cocktails are nice, too. And it was all free!

Lunch at the Jetty of Essque Zalu Zanzibar 15

Then there is the big Market Kitchen restaurant by the lobby, where you can get breakfast. It offers grilled seafood, tapas, Western food like steak – everything!

The breakfast was good. It was a buffet breakfast but if you want your breakfast cooked, they have a menu and they will make it for you, too. For example, if you want a traditional Tanzanian breakfast with chapatis and curries, or a traditional English breakfast with sausages, egg, and bacon, or a Continental breakfast with croissant and pan au chocolat, jams, and butter, they will prepare it for you with no problem at all.

There are loads of fruit available as well like passion fruit, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, and watermelon. There is also the baobab, a famous fruit from Tanzania that they use to make fresh fruit juice.

But that is still not the best part of dining at Essque Zalu Zanzibar. The best part is the destination dining! They took us to an island on the resort and arranged a candlelit dinner with our own butler. The chef prepared a nice menu for us: soup, seafood, and creme brulee and a coconut dessert. It was so kind of them to prepare a very nice dinner for us!

Also, one notable activity is a cooking show with Chef Rose. She taught us how to cook traditional Tanzanian food or Swahili food like samosas, potato croquettes, octopus curry, pillaw rice, coconut chutney, and salads, all prepared in an hour! Chef Rose was amazing. Then, we enjoyed all the food with Julia and James.

Area Guide

Mnemba Atoll – is Zanzibar’s famous marine park. Dive or Snorkel with Dolphins and thousands of tropical fish.

Stone Town – A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stone Town is the oldest Swahili coastal trading city in the world.

Stone Town in Zanzibar
Photo by neiljs CC BY 2.0

Prison Island – Despite the name, this island is a gorgeous place to hang around by the beach or snorkel with turtles. It gets its name from its history of being a detention center for African slaves.

Mount Meru – For thrill-seekers, scale Mount Meru! It is a volcano towering at 4,566 m, the fifth highest peak in Africa.

Marangu route Zanzibar
Photo by Christoph Strässler CC BY-SA 2.0

Marangu Route – Do you love the outdoors? Hike along the Marangu route and have a fun experience camping.

Safari – What is a trip to Tanzania without going on a safari? There are many game reserves in the area. Pick one and watch the majestic wildflife unfold in front of your eyes.

Monkey Dividers

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Essque Zalu Zanzibar

1. How much does accommodation cost at Essque Zalu Zanzibar?

The latest room rates can be viewed at Booking.com | Agoda | Expedia | Hotels.com | Hotelscombined

2. What are the check-in and check-out times?

Check-in time is 2 PM and check-out time is from 11 AM.

3. Can children stay free in the rooms?

Yes. A child stays free in the room when sharing beds with parents or guardians.

4. Are pets allowed?


5. What is the nearest airport?

Essque Zalu Zanzibar is 63 km from Zanzibar International Airport. It takes about an hour to reach it.

6. Is airport transfer available?


7. Are there watersport facilities on-site?

Water sport facilities are available for an additional charge.

8. Can events be hosted at Essque Zalu Zanzibar?

Yes. There are meeting and banquet facilities on-site but their use incurs additional charges.

9. Where is the nearest currency exchange?

It is available in reception.

10. What languages are spoken at the hotel?

Swahili, Dutch, Italian, French, English, and German are all spoken at Essque Zalu Zanzibar.

Note: I stayed as a guest in Essque Zalu Zanzibar. However, all opinions are based on my personal experience.

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.