Very Good 832 Reviews
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This Hotel meets our standards
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What We Love

  • Family-friendly amenities, including Tinga Kids Club and live music at dinner
  • Market Kitchen deli counter, fully stocked with imported meats and cheeses
  • Free WiFi

What To Know

  • The resort is in the remote fishing village of Nungwi, a one-hour drive from the Zanzibar airport
  • There isn’t a private beach, but Nungwi Beach is peaceful and can be accessed directly from the hotel


  •  Babysitting
  •  Bar
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Gym
  •  Handicap Accessible
  •  Kids Club
  •  Parking On Site
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Spa
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
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Family-friendly resort with thatch-roofed suites and a vast infinity pool overlooking Zanzibar’s coral-fringed coast

The Lowdown

Just off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is an island jewel in the Indian Ocean—all postcard-perfect white sand beaches and coral-fringed coves. The 30-acre resort has a shore-hugging layout complete with soaring makuti thatch roofs and minimalist interiors. An ode to the island’s vibrant art, architecture and culture, Essque Zalu Zanzibar feels more like a private residence than a resort. There’s no front desk, so smart, sherwani-clad “navigators” see to check-in in the comfort of guests’ suites. Choose from 40 individual suites or 8 villas, all with picturesque views over the lush tropical garden or the ocean turquoise blue. Those with a penchant for doing little can settle into a lounge chair beside the enormous infinity pool, relax in the spa (treatments incorporate indigenous African herbs and oils), quaff vodka-cranberries in the art gallery, or choose between the three on-site restaurants. Decadent dining is de rigueur here, especially at the 1506 Bar and Terrace, where a maître d’ greets guests by name and chef Jussi Husa adapts European dishes with Arabic, African, and Indian flavors.

In the Area

The Essque Zalu is located in Nungwi, an undeveloped fishing village on Zanzibar’s protected northeast coast. Within an hour’s drive is UNESCO World Heritage Site Stone Town, Zanzibar’s teeny capital, 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. The Mnemba Atoll is the jewel in the Zanzibar archipelago. Underwater tropical delights include whale sharks and turtles. The hotel also arranges snorkeling and is licensed by PADI. Charter a private crewed catamaran and sail the coast for a day — dolphin spotting and champagne and oysters on deck at sunset totally optional. The island has become a hot spot for kitesurfing — an extreme water sport that’s big news at the Essque Zalu.

How to Get There

Essque Zalu Zanzibar
Nungwi Village
Nungwi, 3151 Tanzania


4.5 Very Good 832 Reviews
Best hotel in Zanzibar

Essaque Zalu is so far the best hotel in Zanzibar and I will recommend it to anyone who wants to have a fantastic and wonderful experience of a life time...very safe environment for both adults and kid's..the rooms are super comfortable clean and safe too..and what I enjoyed more is that your breakfast and dinner package is included in the hotel rooms charges so while staying in the hotel you don't have to struggle thinking of where you are going to eat or if you're going to afford eating at the hotel and the meals are delicious..and I would really like to thank Madame Sheilah at the reception desk she is amazing

Paradise on earth

We spent 2 nights here just to unwind after our Kilimanjaro hike and the safari before we headed back home. The hotel is well kept with a magnificent view of the beautiful blue Indian Ocean. The infinity pool was nice and clean. We noticed they cleaned it in the early morning. Staff was very friendly. They greeted us every time we walked past, asked whether everything was okay and that anything they could do to make our stay pleasant. The room was clean, quiet and spacious surrounded by tropical garden. The bed was very big and comfy.

Buffet breakfast at the Market Kitchen was standard. They served western style as well as traditional Tanzanian cuisine. Don’t forget to try the baobab juice from their juice bar. It is unique. Lunch and dinner at the Jetty were fantastic. Seafood was fresh and savory. Ask them for the fresh catch of the day. We tried tuna, red snapper and squid. They were fresh and delicious. We also love their bread sticks and dips.

The hotel location is pretty isolated and the local road in front of the hotel is bumpy and narrow with nothing much to explore within walking distance outside the hotel. But it is the perfect getaway from all the city chaos. And since it is not advisable to dip in the ocean in front of the hotel, they do offer free shuttle to the beautiful white sand beach nearby where you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing and several kinds of water sports.

The only complaint we have is the housekeepers did not replenish the toiletries and hand towels for us but when we called, they quickly brought us the items requested. Overall, we really enjoy our stay at Essque Zalu.

Honeymoon in paradise

I don’t know why others have had bad experiences at this hotel, ours was amazing. From the moment we walked in the front door it was wow. As it was our honeymoon, the hotel offered a free upgrade to an ocean view hut which was amazing. The room has a King size bed with a comfortable mattress, air conditioning and two fans, double sinks in a huge bathroom. We also had our own private deck looking directly at the ocean.

Housekeeping came twice a day and replenished water, towels and toiletries which include shampoo, conditioner, soap and body lotion. One day they put fresh flowers on our bed which was really sweet.

Food: the food at Essque Zalu is mainly traditional Swahili seafood, chicken and beef dishes and salads which are totally safe. They also have a poolside menu if you are feeling snacky. Those who have criticised the food perhaps forgot they are in Zanzibar. The food is fresh, local and naturally flavoured with Zanzibar spices. We loved the wharf restaurant and returned every day to eat the delicious seafood on offer. If you want western style food you can get this at the Hilton up the road. Breakfast is ok, the bacon is natural and has not been artificially preserved so be prepared for a different taste. They do good omelettes!

Pool: the pool is amazing and the largest in the area. The towels are replaced every day and you can request more if you want. There is a great pool bar with local beers, wine and they make amazing cocktails. You will not be able to stop staring at the magnificent views of the ocean while relaxing on your sun bed.

Staff: the staff at Zalu are so friendly, they just want you to be happy. One day I asked if I could have some coconut water. They didn’t have any so they asked someone to climb a tree! Then after we drank it they cut it up for us so we could also eat the flesh. It is these kind of gesture’s which make Zalu special.

I will point out that Zalu is about 1.2 kilometres from the main part of Nungwi and is easily accessible by beach when the tide is low. Zalu is a quiet, private hotel unlike others in town which are surrounded by everyone and everything. The only gripe I have is not with the hotel but with the road leading from Nungwi town. It is so bad the taxi drivers will charge you more to get back to the hotel. A small price to pay to stay in paradise.