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Discovering the Allure of Bamboo Zanzibar

 

Headed out of the country soon ? Looking for a perfect place to stay? Well, continue reading, because as always, I got you

Back in August, I had the pleasure of a lovely trip to Zanzibar, Tanzania, for my birthday this year. Zanzibar, with its beautiful people and out-of-this-world beaches, is memorable. However, one of my favorite parts of the trip was our stay at Bamboo Zanzibar Design Hotel. Bamboo Zanzibar is a hidden (not hidden) gem. Tucked on the southernmost part of Zanzibar Island, it’s a bit of a trip but WELL worth it.”

Our day started with a pickup from the airport. After a two-hour drive on lovely, winding (and very bumpy) roads, with schoolchildren peeking out of local markets and mothers walking the red clay roads with baskets on their heads, swaddling happy babies on their backs, we pulled up to a nondescript location. We initially passed it because the sign wasn’t exactly visible. However, once the door opened, it was like the pearly gates were in front of us!

First, let’s delve into the aesthetic and vibe. The interior design team for Bamboo DID THAT. I have to say, having stayed at several hotels in my life, this is easily one of the top five most beautiful places I have ever had the pleasure of being in. Upon entering, you are greeted with a large, geometric amphitheater-style area that houses the main restaurant on the premises. As you walk up the stairs, a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean welcomes you—it is quite literally breathtaking.

Another impressive aspect of Bamboo Design Hotel is its dedication to being eco-friendly. Usually, when people hear ‘eco-friendly,’ they immediately think of reusable and scarce items. However, you can see that everything, from the shower and water systems to the usage of solar power throughout the grounds, was carefully curated with no compromise on design. The property features three main infinity pools, a dedicated area for a lovely barbecue, and the beach is just a staircase away.”

ACCOMODATION

Okay the good stuff: “Thee” Villa! MY GAWDDDDD. It was everything I imagined. We stayed in the Ocean View Suite with a private pool which comes up to $400 per night including breakfast. The villa is massive, close to one thousand square feet. The space is composed of two different sections. The first being the bedroom/bathroom/dining area which also connects directly to the pool. Perfect for a nice morning dip or a lovely breakfast in bed overlooking the views. The second section is the living room and entertainment area, which also opens into the terrace and yard area. The villa is accented with bamboo furnishings, and local Tanzanian art. One of my favorite aspects of traveling is immersive experiences. For this trip in particular I really wanted to stay in a more localized place.

FOOD

Let’s get into the food because this was also a highlight. The food was also well priced with the average meal costing under $20. The food was plated beautifully and frankly, there is SO much food that you won’t be able to eat it all. Also, the food was fresh. Zanzibarian tea, masala, and freshly squeezed juices accented every meal. Highlights included the fresh seafood from the grill. Now if you know anything about me, I am a proper tidewater girl. Chesapeake Virginia born and bred. Seafood is not only my thing, but also a way of life! Let me say I am also a huge stickler for properly cleaning shrimp and crab, so the fact that the seafood was fresh and clean stood out as a plus.

Highly recommended foods to try:

  1. Prawn popcorn
  2. Bamboo deluxe
  3. Spicy chicken bao buns
  4. Grilled octopus w/ ugali

 

Now for my fellow libation fans, the drinks were another highlight during our stay at Bamboo Zanzibar. There was a large variety of specialty cocktails, and most of them were pretty cheap with costs averaging about $3-5 dollars. I recommend the bellinis and mimosas, as they are both made with specific local ingredients.

ACTIVITIES

 Listen, this was a ‘bae-cation,’ okay? The villa had food, a bomb pool, and a view directly in front of the ocean. Why would we leave? There are paddling, kayaking, fishing, and, of course, swimming available.

If you are looking for a hotel that has a list of activities on the premises, Bamboo is not that place. This is actually their strength because the hotel is created for you to never want to leave. We had the best intentions of participating in some scheduled offsite activities, but after the first day there we made a quick change and decided to stay on site. We did, however, partake in some spa time at the Bamboo Elements Spa. We chose a few different treatments—stone massage and head massage. The focus at the spa is very Ayurvedic-based, so before we were taken into the spa, we were treated to a pleasant foot bath and sound bath. This was nice, considering we rushed to the appointment, so our adrenaline was a bit high. The bath immediately relaxed us. Then we were brought into the room for our 90-minute massages.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Customer service at the hotel deserves a huge shout out. Every guest has their own personalized butler as well as suite WhatsApp group chat, where the team directly speaks to your room and is on hand 24/7 for all of your needs. The team is composed local citizens hailing from Tanzania and Kenya. My suggestion is to take time to get to know the hotel team. The atmosphere is extremely relaxing, so you easily get into quite lovely conversations with people. For my actual birthday, I had treats and cakes delivered all day. The cake was a chocolate and vanilla slice of HEAVEN.

So, when it comes to Zanzibar, its northeast ‘cousins’ Nungwi and Kendwa get a lot of the fanfare, and we did stay there for the second half of our trip. I would highly recommend the Jambiani and Paje beach areas, which are located in the southeastern part of the island. The vibe is tranquil. Nungwi is where the party is, but there were some local clubs in Jambiani as well. We checked out a fun reggae club, called Red Room, which had the beach as the main dance floor. The club was open most of the night and was 5 min drive from Bamboo Zanzibar.

 

Overall, the stay was lovely, and I cannot wait to go back!

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