Famous for its colorful spices, turquoise waters, and silky sand beaches, Tanzania’s Zanzibar island is now home to a new world-class luxury resort: Zuri Zanzibar opened its doors on July 1 on the idyllic northern coast of Unguja. The long-awaited resort is the first investment on the Tanzanian archipelago by the elite Design Hotels. Zuri embraces the hotel collection’s “Original Experiences” concept with a stylish design that combines the architecture of traditional Zanzibar villages with a chic yet laidback beach-club vibe.
Zuri Zanzibar features 55 villas, bungalows, and suites, all with spacious private terraces overlooking a private stretch of western-facing beach. Staying true to the roots of the island, designers Jestico + Whiles elegantly combined authentic African flair with contemporary design and sustainable architecture, employing natural, locally-sourced materials and furnishings, including traditional African beadwork and art. The three-bedroom Ocean Front Luxury Villa is the resort’s most exclusive accommodation with its own private beach, hot tub, and swimming pool.
The local inspiration extends to Zuri Zanzibar’s cuisine as well, with seven restaurants and bars highlighting the island’s diverse flavors. Traditional African dishes receive a tropical twist at Upendo, the main restaurant serving fresh shrimp and other seafood seasoned with local spices from the four-acre Zuri Garden, while sundowners—a nod to the safari tradition of mainland Tanzania—are served at the laidback bar overlooking Kendwa beach. The spa also makes good use of the Zuri Garden: Its fresh herbs and flora supply ingredients for therapies, and its wild surroundings are a perfectly verdant spot for yoga and meditation sessions.
Beyond its stylish beachfront, the Zuri—whose name means “beautiful” in Swahili—is an ideal jumping-off point for island explorations. The resort’s guided tours include snorkeling with turtles near Mnemba Island, swimming with dolphins in Menai Bay, and tracking the rare red colobus monkey in the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park.