Diamonds Star of the East Zanzibar – All Inclusive
What We Love
- True all-inclusive plan covers all food and drinks and most activities
- Enormous indoor/outdoor villas with thoughtfully crafted modern African interiors, outdoor showers, plunge pools and breezy patios
- Access to all the facilities of the main resort, La Gemma dell’Est, as well as Diamond’s own private bar, restaurant and pool
- Faultless service and a private butler in each villa
What To Know
- Diamonds' private white sand beach is a short walk or golf cart ride away; expect friendly if persistent beach vendors along the rest of the shore
- Honeymooners galore, though two of the villas have a family-friendly two-bedroom setup
- Head over to La Gemma’s busier bars and restaurants for a livelier scene
- Guests wear white leather bracelets to denote Diamonds' all-inclusive status
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
An enclave of just 11 modern African villas within a larger beach resort, Diamonds Star of the East is a romantic hideaway overlooking the Indian Ocean. Manicured tropical gardens cleverly conceal and complement the all-white villas, which are topped with traditional makuti thatch pitched roofs. At the heart of the exclusive complex, a moat-like pool surrounds the modern main building and second-floor Ocean Blue restaurant — an upscale international eatery named for the sparkling Indian Ocean it overlooks.
Bed and Bath
All 11 villas feel like sprawling private residences, the palatial proportions encompassing tropical gardens and plunge pools, outdoor patios topped with traditional makuti thatch, separate living rooms with stocked bars, butler pantries, enormous bedrooms, walk-in closets and modern bathrooms. Bright animal print fabrics add playful pops of color to the dark wood floors and simple white walls, but the real design flair is in the indoor/outdoor layout, from full walls of windows to alfresco showers to the centerpiece patios, which are furnished for outdoor living: tables for two, comfy white sofas, low-slung rattan chandeliers and romantic daybeds draped with canvas.
Guests at Diamonds Star of the East have the run of La Gemma dell’Est’s four restaurants and five bars, as well as exclusive use of Diamond’s own eatery, Ocean Blue. On the second floor of the modern poolside clubhouse, the dining room is left open to the elements to ensure knockout views of the ocean at sunset. The multicourse menu changes by the season and covers the culinary spectrum from traditional spiced curries and local seafood to Asian-inspired vegetarian dishes and decadent all-American desserts. For sundowners, nightcaps or daytime bites, the airy Tiara Lounge is open from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. Beach lovers can walk or take a golf buggy to the brilliantly white, if increasingly narrow, white sand beach, where Diamond’s guests have reserved beach loungers and dedicated beach butlers. For more active pursuits, ask your butler to arrange a Pilates session (included), tennis, any of a raft of water sports or a traditional treatment in the Mvua African Rain Spa.
In the Area
On Zanzibar’s northwest coast, the resort is less than an hour from the capital, Stone Town. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the petite city is filled with souks, labyrinthine streets, mosques, sultans’ palaces and colonial buildings. While there, visit the Anglican church, a memorial built on the site of one of the world’s last slave markets. For a more active excursion, organize a tour of the Kiwengwa Caves or book a kitesurfing lesson on Nungwi Beach. Honeymooners shouldn’t miss a sunset cruise on a traditional dhow or a private snorkeling or diving trip.
How to Get There
Similar experience to Muriel's. Traveling with my family, I was surprised, a few days before departure, by the cancellation of our reservation at Riu Palace Zanzibar, due to delays in the renovation works.
However, we were offered by Carlota, Sales Manager in Zanzibar, an upgrade to a villa in the contiguous Star Of The East, acquired by the Riu hotels chain the previous month. She was always very kind and patient, clarifying all our doubts and calming down all our fears, including the robbery with the previous owners.
Hotel La Gemma Dell'Est, which is one of the best hotels in Zanzibar, has within its facilities a private club, named Star Of The East, with villa accommodation, which has a private restaurant, Ocean Blue, a bar and a private beach area, although their guests have access to the rest of the hotel facilities. Each villa has its own pool with Jacuzzi, plus an indoor hydromassage bathtub, which can be prepared by the butler, with beautifully flower petals taken from the gardens.
Its gardens are among the most beautiful I've ever seen in the hotels where I've been to, and the villas are there beautifully enframed. With many glass walls, they give us the feeling of being inside the garden, but its architecture gives the essential privacy to the villas.
Each villa has its own private butlers during the 24 hours of the day to satisfy our room service requests. We were welcomed by Elisabeth, our afternoon butler, who had a very special competence, kindness and fineness, and showed us the entire resort on a tiring but enlightening tour of the hotel facilities and explained the all-inclusive system.
Although we frequented the main restaurant for breakfast and lunch, we opted to dine at Ocean Blue because it is quieter, it is served a la carte and the food is great in presentation and quality. It was our precious Elisabeth who served us at these dinners. A little advice: a hotel like this cannot serve the same amuse bouche for 5 nights.
At the main restaurant we went to dinner only on the day of the Swahili dinner, since Ocean Blue does not serve regional cuisine.
At lunch we also tried ordering the Ocean Blue lobster and tuna sandwiches for the villa, which we highly recommend.
This hotel also has a pier with a bar and restaurant over the sea, where one can see a magnificent sunset, exactly where the boats take tourists to see it, but without the all-inclusive bar service we enjoyed.
We are still on cloud 9 from our 6th wedding anniversary in Zanzibar! What a treat it was to stay at a villa at Diamonds Star of the East. Originally, we booked at the Riu Palace Zanzibar and a week before our trip we were notified by Riu that the resort would be closed during our trip for approximately 2months. Possibly for renovations? No idea. We were told that we were put in a villa at this newly acquired Riu property which the top quality of service that we anticipated. Through a series of emails to ease my anxiety, we finally were ok with the switch. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the staff at the main reception center and picked up by our night butler and his buggy. He took us to our villa, retrieved our luggage and guided us inside. This was at 4am so we were beyond exhausted but quickly woke when we entered our gorgeous villa. It was simply beautiful! I have never stayed anywhere so gorgeous. I was in awe. To make things even better, there was fresh fruit, champagne and cocktails waiting for us in our villa! I could go on and on but the pictures do it no justice…Villa #1 was such a dream. It made our time in paradise extra special. The staff was super attentive. As soon as we would push the butler button, within minutes someone was at our door to attend to us. One time, I was hungry at 4am and they made us sandwiches! Each day our room was thoroughly cleaned, bar and refrigerator replenished with our favorite soft drinks, beer and champagne. One night my husband got ill and they got the resort doctor to us right away. Our butlers even checked on him throughout his time being sick to make sure that he was fine. I have so many more great memories about our time but it would be such a long review. Special thanks to Scola, Mariam, Constatine, Veronica, Barak (the short one and the tall one hahah), Fanuel and Doidi. You were all so good to us. You all spoiled us. I miss Zanzibar already and cannot wait to return! Thank you for a magical trip and 5 star service!
Just spent a week at this great resort. Rooms all seem to be close to the pool area which is only yards from the white sandy beach. The service is excellent and its not overly crowded that you worry about having to reserve a sun lounger at 6 in the morning. Mainly stayed close to the pool side bar which serves cocktails, mocktails and usual bar drinks, plus there is a food area where you can get snacks such as pizza, burgers, toasties and salads for most of the day. There are a few restaurants and the main one serves a huge variety of cuisines ranging from pasta, roasts, currys, and many others. We were never short of great food to eat. In the evening the sunset lounge on the pier was a perfect place to relax and watch the entertainment. All the staff are very helpful, friendly and couldn't have wished for a better time