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Zanzibar is a classic paradise island with powdery white beaches against the perfectly turquoise Indian Ocean. Known as the Spice Island, Zanzibar once was a major hub of the spice trade. The vibrant architecture and the mix of cultures still evoke tales about Omani sultans, Swahili princes, and Persian merchants multiplying the exoticness of your beach holiday.
There are serpents in this paradise, though. Since masses have already found Zanzibar, gigantic resorts spoil some of the views, and you might have to share your beach holiday with thousands of tourists and overzealous beach hawkers. Finding a secluded stretch of sand requires some legwork. Mercifully, Zanzibar is bigger than you might have thought, and there is enough space for everyone, from all-inclusive-goers to castaways and surfers.
Paradise beach named Bwejuu in front of Baraza Resort & Spa, Zanzibar
Bwejuu – the Best Beach of Zanzibar
Still isolated Bwejuu beach at the southeastern corner of Zanzibar offered just that elusive retreat we were looking for when hearing the word Zanzibar in all of its exotic connotations. Choosing the best beach of Zanzibar is a matter of taste, but we couldn’t agree more with Conde Nast Traveler that has chosen Bwejuu among the top 30 beaches in the world. While walking by the shore of the 12-mile long sandbank called Bwejuu, you are likely to encounter a timeless idyll, unique to Zanzibar: fishermen returning from sail with their wooden dhow boats, a bunch of women scooping seaweed, and kids racing after an old ball. Luckily enough, there are only a few hotels at Bwejuu.
The Bwejuu beach itself feels pristine and endless. Ocean is tamed for swimming, as Bwejuu is sheltered by a coral reef. Tide is dramatic on this side of the island, though, which might be an issue for some. At low tide, it’s not possible to swim, but you can get another angle on the island’s colorful marine life by taking a “reef safari”: just walk to the reef without even getting your feet wet!
Time Travel to the Era of Sultans in Baraza Resort & Spa
Our requirements for a beach holiday in Zanzibar were clear: we wanted to rest our eyes on the best beach view available and sooth our senses away from the herds. We had only two days to spare at a beach location, so we wanted those days to be perfectly worry-free and relaxing before jumping into a hectic 10-day safari itinerary. We trusted Dr. Livingstone, who had stated:
“This is the finest place I have known in all of Africa to rest before starting my last journey.”
After a lot of searching, we chose Baraza Resort & Spa as our Zanzibar beach retreat. Baraza transported us through time to the era of Omani Sultans in a very decadent way. The moment we stepped down the Moorish-inspired passageway towards the reception, I felt like a sultana already. The architecture of Baraza Resort & Spa celebrates the magic of Zanzibar, merging Arabic and Indian influences into Swahili tradition. Shimmering white, palace-like buildings hide excessive amounts of gold in the form of statues, plates, and textiles. Weirdly enough, the lavish décor made me feel serene and harmonious. I felt like meditating while just looking around. The best part was to catch a glimpse of the turquoise ocean through the dramatic archways while wandering around the property. Just breathtaking!
Zanzibar is famous for intricate carvings, too, and in Baraza Resort & Spa you can see examples of the finest artisan work of Swahili furniture. Hand carved ornaments dot the cement walls and tons of locally crafted brass lanterns light the evenings. I doubt if I’ve ever seen as many lanterns, not even in a Japanese cemetery.
During our time in Baraza Resort & Spa, we were introduced to the cultural heritage of Zanzibar, as well. Swahili drummers played before our eyes while we were sipping our evening cocktails at the sofas of the Middle-East themed shisha lounge, and at one dinner a classic Taarab ensemble kept us entertained in the dark, but warm Zanzibari night. Taarab, kind of ecstatically sung poetry, was originally played in the court of Sultan bid Said, who is said to have loved the pleasures of life.
After sumptuous dinners, we were happy to stroll through lantern lit garden to our beautiful villa, where we loved to spend time unlike in any other hotel room. Every villa of Baraza Resort & Spa has a private veranda with a plunge pool, and for example, a massive Persian inspired day bed framed with golden silk curtains. After just two days’ pampering in Baraza, we felt like we’d have been on holiday for weeks. It was the most complete relaxation ever. Just like Dr. Livingstone, we were mesmerized.
The architecture of Baraza Resort & Spa celebrates the magic of Zanzibar, merging Arabic and Indian influences into Swahili tradition. Shimmering white, palace-like buildings hide excessive amounts of gold in the form of statues, plates, and textiles. The best part is to catch a glimpse of the dreamlike Bwejuu beach through the dramatic archways while wandering around the gardens of Baraza.
Choosing Between the Boutique Hotels at Bwejuu Beach
Baraza Resort & Spa is an exclusive 5-star boutique resort and one of the most luxurious hotels in Zanzibar. If this does not suit your taste or budget, there are also a few other options available at the Bwejuu beach. Whereas Baraza Resort & Spa has 30 private villas, neighboring The Palms has just six villas, offering a more small scale boutique hotel setting. The Palms falls into the same price category as Baraza Resort & Spa, but Breezes Beach Club next to The Palms serves as a more affordable option. All the three boutique hotels belong to a family owned The Zanzibar Collection, which also owns the only National Geographic Registered Dive Center in Zanzibar.
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*Disclaimer: While The Zanzibar Collection hosted our stay, all opinions remain entirely our own, and the hype is real. Baraza Resort & Spa in Zanzibar is one of the most outstanding hotels we’ve visited.
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