4.5
Very Good 803 Reviews
Jetsetter Verified
This Hotel meets our standards
Our editors have been here and it has met our standards

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

Amenities

  •  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.
Beach Beachfront Deck Honeymoon Resort Scenic views sky ground chair leisure wooden outdoor structure swimming pool Villa cottage overlooking

Overview

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

Reviews

4.5 Very Good 803 Reviews
Visited the spa twice
Reviewed 2 days ago

I really had the worst experience ever in my life. The personnel is not really professional, after finishing a couple's massage, we went to pay and they made a mistake we paid for 1 only which I mention to them it was for 2.
we had previously told them the hotel we were at 500m away and they contacted us there, we agreed to return later on in the afternoon to rectify their mistake and they showed up 2 hours later with the police treating us like thieves as if it was our mistake...worst experience ever.
Feeling insulted,mistreated and shamed due to their incompetence and not a single apology.

Never again
Reviewed 2 days ago

I do not recommend the hotel or the service
After my experience I felt insulted and was treated like a common criminal because of a mistake that the hotel had made on the billing of a massage service.
After calling my hotel 500m away and after agreeing to return to resolve their mistake in the billing 2 hours later they turned up at my hotel with the police as if had stolen from them

Never but never again Will I go to this hotel

Disappointing Experience
Reviewed 7 days ago

Hello,

Myself and my fiance visited Zanzibar in June 2019 for a short six-day drip. The first part of our trip was spent in Stone Town, the second part of our trip was spend at Essque Zalu in Nungwi.

In this review, I will cover our overall experience and also cover the following: Location, Accommodation, Food and Beverage, Hotel Facilities and Service / Staff.

Overall Experience

Our overall experience of this hotel was poor, the hotel lacks quality, service and is outdated. The hotel structure is amazing, however the biggest disappointment of the trip was the food and entertainment. This is an expensive hotel (we paid $458 per night) to stay in and is certainly not worth the money. I would not recommend the hotel and believe that there are other options that should be explored.

Location

Essque Zalu is located in Nungwi, from stone town by taxi it took us approximately two hours to reach the hotel. The roads from stone town to Nungwi are not in the best condition and gets worse as you make your way to the hotel.

The hotel itself is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, therefore when travelling to this hotel you should consider that you will be reliant on the hotel and their activities etc to keep you entertained (activities/entertainment is non-existent).

Accommodation

During our stay, we booked a seafront suite with the half board (breakfast and dinner package). The room itself was located on the seafront and the views were incredible, however, the small seafront villa itself was not. The villa had quiet a nice little varanda with a small table and chair set outside. There was also a sun lounger for a bit more privacy. The accomadation seemed to be outdated and was in need of renovation. Cleanliness also was not as good as it could be, there was a squished dry cockroach on our floor for the duration of our stay and the timing of room cleaning was inconsistent which made me confused on when I couldn't go back to our room. We also had constant issues with the power cutting out (particularly annoying at night as the emergency lighting comes on and off), WIFI not working and the shower not going hot. There is a small TV in the room, kettle with instant tea / coffee and empty fridge. There is no iron or ironing board in the room, however can be provided if you request.

Food and Beverage

This was the most disappointing of all the topics covered in this review. I have travelled quite a lot around Europe, Middle East, Asia etc and this is the first time that I felt nervous about eating the food. On the first night we wanted to eat at the restuarant on the pier, however this was closed. The restaurant in the main hotel area was open, however the menu that is shown on the website was not available and there was limited options. The next morning we went for breakfast, this was once again not as per the pictures online and options were limited. The bars were okay, however we weren't asked once during our stay if we wanted a drink whilst sitting by the pool. The overall service, quality and cleanliness of the food/restuarant areas was not up to standard.

Hotel Facilities

The hotel itself is spectacular, however there is not a lot to do once you are there. The pool area is nice, beds are okay but other than that there isn't a lot to do. There is a small gym area around 15sqm with basic equipment, massages are also available. Maintenance of the hotel is pretty good/clean, however the overall feel of the hotel is that it feels outdated. For the price point of this hotel, in my opinion the hotel should do better.

Service / Staff

Service in the hotel is not what is expected in a five star hotel. Staff are friendly, however they do not seem well trained / professional. The staff seemed to hang around a lot in groups and didn't seem to be doing much. We were also kind of pestered as to why we weren't having a starter or dessert which became annoying.

Amazing experience
Reviewed 1 week ago

Since we stepped into the hotel, we felt very welcome by all the staffs! After a long flight and long drive on the road, they gave us cold towel and delicious welcome drink which made us very happy.

Then a staff took us to our garden room which it was spacious. There were bathrobe, slippers, safety box, tv, and balcony with partial sea view.

The room is always clean. We noticed that they made our room twice daily in the morning and at night.

Buffet breakfast and dinner were included in the room rate which it was very convenient and foods were good! We have seen bad comments about flies during breakfast. I think the hotel has fixed the problem since we did’t see any flies during our breakfast or dinner.

The best thing about this hotel is their beautiful, huge and clean swimming pool! Including the long jetty in the middle of the sea.
We love it sooo much. Sunset can be seen from the jetty which is absolutely stunning!

Our only regret was we didn’t book it longer! I see photos of this hotel and fell in love but decided to stay for only 2 nights because some bad reviews we read earlier.
However, our stay went so well that we were so sad to leave for another hotels.
So far Essque Zalu is the best hotel we stayed in Zanzibar.

All the staffs were very friendly and helpful.
We would like to thank all of them for our memorable experience. Everything was perfect and we would love to come back!

I highly recommend this resort for your holiday!!!

An unforgettable stay
Reviewed 1 week ago

We stayed in the hotel during 5 days in June 2019 (for our wedding anniversary).
We will never forget our stay and advise everybody to stay in.
Even if we arrived during low season, the hotel was very well maintained (congratulations to the gardeners), our suite room was very comfortable and clean with a very nice room service.
We enjoyed a lot the location, the jetty, beach, big swimming pool and restaurants.
We appreciated the half board package and the organized events for Eid and night barbecues.
Our massage in the spa was very nice.
Our best thanks are for the staff: they are so friendly and professional.
Many thanks to Alfred (reception), Zainab (restaurant) and Huzima (Kids club) who took care of us so well!
We hope to come back!