From the Portuguese to the British, foreigners have attempted to settle in Zanzibar for aeons. The universal attraction of the Indian Ocean archipelago is no mystery; in addition to being a strategic stop on ancient trade routes, Zanzibar is a perfect picture of palm-fringed beaches and impossibly blue waters. Not surprisingly, luxury hotel brands are now staking claims of their own, with a handful of new resorts adding to the Tanzanian islands’ allure. Park Hyatt chose Zanzibar’s main island of Unguja for its first African property, opening the Park Hyatt Zanzibar in the historic city of Stone Town last March. The 67-room hotel, which occupies a 17th-century structure on the edge of a dhow-lined harbor, resembles a modern sultan’s palace with colorful textiles and Zanzibari carved doors.
While the Park Hyatt offers a worthy cultural complement to Zanzibar’s outlying resorts, the archipelago’s beach retreats—from the east coast’s new White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa to the south’s Residence Zanzibar—are the main draw. The beach’s newest resident will debut early this year with the completion of the first phase of the Per Aquum Essque Zalu Zanzibar, a 4-acre retreat with 49 suites and villas that is sure to encourage visitors to settle in for the long haul.