Essque Zalu Zanzibar
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
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
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
We stayed at Zalu for a week on a half board basis. So let me start with the positive things about this resort, The rooms are very clean and spacious. Nice big bathroom and all the room amenities are provided. The resort grounds are very well maintained and beautiful. The beach is only accessible in the morning or late afternoon because the tide gets high between 11am and 4pm. You can not access the beach during them hours. The pool is beautiful and it has lots of loungers available. The staff at this resort are amazing, always very friendly, helpful and polite, the staff are the ones that made our stay most menorable. The only two things that let this resort down was the wifi and the food. The breakfast was very basic and dinner was the same menu every night. The resort doesn't have any evening entertainment or live shows. So I wouldn't say it's vibrant there.
We only stayed here two nights but it was quite nice.
The grounds, but especially the gardens are absolutely gorgeous, so don't be disappointed if you cannot see the ocean from you room. The rooms are really nice, clean and spacious. The housekeepers in twice a day. Once to change the bed and then set. There was never any sand on the floor for very long. We try to keep it clean ourselves but they work really hard.
There are two restaurants you can choose to eat ate. The first night we ate at the one on the end of the pier. The food was really good and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset. We even got to chat with the chef from Mauritius. The second night, and for breakfast, we ate the main restaurant. Again the quality of their menu is amazing. All the food is made to order, so it's all made fresh, tastes great and has the right portion. The drinks are quite expensive compared to some other places, but that's sort of to be expected at a resort of this calibre.
My only have two criticisms I would like to share. For the two nights and three days that we stayed there, the internet did not work in the room as advertised. We always had to go to the lobby to use. That's not the worst thing in the world but when you're paying that kind of money to stay at a place like that it really should work in the room. I didn't want to keep bothering the stay because they knew the issue and there wasn't really anything they could do about it at the moment. The second is the king or queen sized bed we slept on was actually two single beds pushed together with king sized sheets on it. I'm not a big fan as sometimes it comes apart during the night. Again not a huge, but I thought I should mention.
The absolute best part of this resort is the staff. From the receptionists to the gardeners they are all so welcoming and kind. If you look like you need any help they will drop whatever they are doing and try to assist you. Furthermore, they're always smiling, which I think is so important.
Stay here for a nice getaway.
Pool is to be renovated this spring, which will make the area perfect! Very spectacular main buildings in local style, and the staff is very helpfull, and serviceminded. A very good place to spend some days relaxing in the sun, enjoing yourself!
We stayed four nights at the Essque Zalu at the end of our honeymoon. The resort is located on the very North Shore of the island, which brings constant winds to help cut the hot Zanzibari sun. There is no beach b/c of the rocks and changing tides, but there is an infinity pool right up to the water. There is also a huge pier with a bar/restaurant at the end to help change up the scenery.
Service at the Essque Zalu was on point. All the staff were friendly and went out of their way to assist. They take pride in their jobs and their delivery is proof of that.
The rooms are villas, roomy with a bedroom, sitting room, huge closet, and large bathroom. There were outdoor seating areas for each villa, but we didn't use ours b/c of the heat.
We organized a driver to/from the airport through the hotel, which is highly recommended. Our driver knew the bumpy dirt roads and was a friendly welcome.
The food was hit or miss, but we found the good selections to order after a day or two.
Overall, we had a great trip at the Essque Zalu.
What could be more idyllic than sitting on the verandah of our seafront villa overlooking the Indian Ocean idly reading a good book and deciding whether to eat dinner in the main restaurant or out on the jetty in the seafood restaurant. Decisions, decisions!!
Great accommodation,good food, wonderful weather and excellent staff all combined to make our stay truly relaxing and memorable particularly after an arduous week's safari in the Masai Mara. One little gripe - the pool needs attention and is due for a plastic lining in May which will improve the look and cleanliness of the area. Having looked at several other hotels around the northern area of the island during our stay we consider that the Essque Zalu Hotel is undoubtedly amongst the better ones and wholeheartedly recommend it to other travellers.