The Escape | Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa, Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel, The Escape
Courtesy
A hidden tropical gem crafted holistically out of a desire to breathe

Perched on the coast of Africa’s ‘Spice Island’; Xanadu’s ornate cluster of villas is romance incarnate. Reached via a discreet non-signposted turning (blink and you’ll miss it) down a sandy off-road track, this charming little property on Zanzibar’s southeast coast is a 75-minute drive from the airport.

The Escape | Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Courtesy of Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel

Nodding to Zanzibar’s Arab history and domed buildings, each stone villa is slightly different from the next, with décor blending African art with Arab-inspired furnishings and chunky wooden wardrobes and mirror frames crafted from the island's reclaimed dhow boats. Just a few steps away from the Indian Ocean and Bwejuu beach’s heavenly white sands, the villa’s sprawling open plan living spaces complete with African textiles and wonderfully comfy sofas open out onto private plunge pools, lush exotic gardens and of course, one or two of the island’s curious primates!

The Escape | Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Courtesy of Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel

“When we began this project I was (and still am) very keen on recycling,” says Norwegian-Zambian born owner Eileen, who opened the hotel with her surfer husband in 2016. “There was actually a hotel here initially so we had to break it down to the ground and started from scratch focusing on using materials that were found on the island and recycled.”

As for the bedrooms; think high-ceilings, windmill-sized ceiling fans, and grand arched windows. The monastery-like cream bathrooms are kitted out with Africology products and feature colossal rain showers from which water rains down from 12 feet above. What’s more, the service is as personalised as it gets. Each villa comes with a 24-hour personal butler service.

The Escape | Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Courtesy of Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel

“I truly believe that the key to creating the intimacy we have here at Xanadu Villas is down to the staff,” Eileen says fondly. “How we relate to our clientele is extremely important. Most hotels have Directors that don’t even speak to the people, they keep back. With me, it’s very different. I speak to our guests on a daily basis and I’m super friendly with my staff, I don’t treat them like workers. We are more like a family”.

An extension to Xanadu Villas’ easy-breezy attitude if their 'anytime, anywhere' policy on meals, made possible by the walkie-talkie system used to communicate with your private butler. Fancy a bite on the beach? No problem! Prefer to enjoy your meals from the comfort of your suite? Consider it done.

The Escape | Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Courtesy of Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel

The delectable and highly creative lunch and dinner menus are updated daily depending on the morning’s catch. Seafood lovers will rejoice at such offerings as succulent red snapper glazed with sticky tamarind and chili sauce. Meanwhile, the Swahili style fish, chicken or veggie curries, served with roti and coconut rice are utterly sublime and giant omelets filled with veggies at breakfast sit alongside mouthwatering big-enough-for-two fruit platters filled with watermelon, pineapple, and passion fruit.

“Everything is made completely fresh and is super healthy”, says Eileen. “All the ingredients are either grown from our own gardens or caught fresh from the sea. Our world class chefs are all South African. The two sous chefs are Tanzanian and there are three international chefs from Cape Town”.

The Escape | Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Courtesy of Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel

There is a lagoon-like swimming pool at the heart of the property which is wonderfully cozy, surrounded by loungers, recycled wooden benches as well as the bar and restaurant around it. Lit up by lanterns at night it is a truly magical setting for a romantic dinner for two. Down by the sea, scattered loungers and two-person hammocks swing nonchalantly between palm trees and a small intimate spa with one air-conditioned treatment room and a circular spa pool provides an array of soothing treatments. If round-the-clock relaxing isn’t your thing, however, kayaking, paddle boarding and windsurfing are just a few of the ways to keep active on this utopian beach, while sightseeing in Freddie Mercury’s old stomping ground, Stone Town, is a 75-minute drive away.


Click here to find out more and book your stay at Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel, Zanzibar.

BY

Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa, Xanadu Villas & Retreat Hotel, The Escape
Courtesy