Baraza Resort & Spa-Bwejuu is this week’s TOP pick

The Baraza attracts honeymooning couples with its romantic ambience as well as well-heeled families who appreciate the multitude of children’s activities on offer. The overall atmosphere is peaceful — even the street leading up to the hotel is quiet, well-maintained, and skirted in gorgeous greenery. Guests enter the property through a solid gate flanked by windswept palms and into the peaceful indoor/outdoor complex characterized by lush gardens, multiple patios set with antique or hand-carved furniture, and an abundance of brass lanterns.

The lobby is a beautiful open-air space with a two-tiered fountain and a chic but minimalist look. Most of the decor here is dark brown, tan, or golden, both in the common areas and in the rooms. The look hearkens back to the island’s sultanate history, and there are plenty of arched doorways alongside colonial nods throughout.

The Baraza Resort and Spa is located on the southeastern coast of Zanzibar, a one-hour drive from the Zanzibar International Airport in Kisauni.

Pros

  • All-inclusive resort on a quiet road right on the beach
  • Elegant villas with private plunge pools
  • Four bars and restaurants serving cuisine from around the world
  • Elegant spa with indoor lap pool featuring underwater music
  • Wedding and honeymoon services
  • Extensive on-site water sports facilities and a PADI dive center
  • Kids’ club with lots of activities and swimming pool
  • Fitness center and tennis courts
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Ocean can be unsuitable for swimming and tides can be high
  • Rates are on par with a luxury resort
  • Not much in immediate area (a pro for some

Rooms

Elegant villas with beautiful bathrooms and private plunge pools

The Baraza offers 30 villas that fall into five different categories — all are huge and start at 148 square meters (517 square feet). The smallest of these are the Ocean View and Ocean Front One Bedroom Villas, each of which has a master bedroom, a bathroom with a soaking tub, dressing rooms, minibars, terraces, and TVs with DVD players. The Sultan and Garden View Two Bedroom Villas offer similar amenities, with the added bonus of second bedrooms — most with two twin beds. The Presidential Two Bedroom Villas are the largest units available, with two master bedrooms that each have en-suite bathrooms, dressing rooms, and terraces. All villas have private outdoor plunge pools and furnished terraces, though views vary.

Bottom Line

On the southeast coast of Zanzibar, Baraza Resort & Spa is among the island’s most opulent, all-inclusive places to lay your head at night. This gorgeous five-pearl resort has 30 elegant villas, all of which have their own private plunge pools. Along with a few restaurants serving cuisine from around the world, the hotel also offers a water sports center, an incredible spa, fitness center, pool, and a kids’ club. Overall, it’s a beautiful and romantic place to stay, but expect to pay a premium; those not ready for a splurge should note that rates are considerably lower at the nearby Hotel Dongwe.