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Baraza Resort & Spa 5.0

Bwejuu, Zanzibar Island, Zanzibar Archipelago

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Review Summary

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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)

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.

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Scene

Luxury resort with romantic style and breezy open-air spaces 

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. 

Location

Beachfront location on Zanzibar's quiet southeast coast

The Baraza Resort and Spa is located on the southeastern coast of Zanzibar, a one-hour drive from the Zanzibar International Airport in Kisauni. It's sandwiched between the southeast road, which doesn't get a lot of traffic, and a narrow part of the island's famous Bwejuu Beach. The beach behind the resort can only be walked on during the evening hours due to high tides and it isn't always ideal for swimming. There isn't much to do in the immediate area, but that's part of the resort's appeal for many guests. Jozani Chwaka National Park is a 25-minute drive from the hotel, and much of the island is home to natural forest reserves that offer plenty of opportunities to spot exotic and endangered species in their native habitats. The Zanzibar Butterfly Center is about 20 minutes away by road, which is a great attraction for families. 

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.

Luxe shades of brown dominate the rooms, in both the upholstery and in the abundance of dark wood used throughout, while warmth is added by details like brass lanterns that add plenty of Arabic atmosphere to the spaces. Decor in each room varies to some degree, but expect to see thoughtful details like alcoves with chic seating composed of gold cushions and pillows arranged on the floor, antique and hand-carved wooden accents, and handsome arched doorways. The bathrooms have a similar look, with brass rainfall showerheads in walk-in showers and separate soaking tubs topped with satin canopies. Regardless of category, all rooms offer an opulent, luxurious place to unwind and enjoy a truly royal treatment.

Features

Multiple restaurants, lots of fitness and water sports activities, kids' club, and opulent spa

While rates here are high, they are all-inclusive. Baraza offers four dining options featuring a mix of Arabic, Indian, Persian, East Asian, and Tanzanian dishes that incorporate local produce, including the island's famous fragrant spices. Items on offer change seasonally. Livingstone Terrace is open for the hotel's breakfast every morning and reopens for dinner some nights of the week. The Sultan's Dining Room offers a mix of buffet and fixed-price menus. Lunch is served at the casual Ocena Lounge Bar & Restaurant, which offers buffet dining and an afternoon tea service. For nighttime libations, guests can indulge in a drink at Dhahabu Bar & Lounge. 

The regal Frangipani Spa is certainly one of the hotel's highlights, with a gold and brass color scheme that gives it a royal look. Along with a variety of treatment rooms offering everything from massages to skin treatments, the spa has its own courtyard lap pool with pumped-in underwater music. The hotel's fitness center is well equipped, but not over the top, with a few benches and cardio machines. There are also tennis courts available.  Other features include a small library lounge with plenty of books and a huge on-site gift shop selling locally made wares, tons of home decor options, and a huge selection of resort wear and swimsuits.

There is an open-air game room with a pool table, a diving club where guests can get PADI certified, a water sports club, and a huge, colorful kids club (for those aged 4-12) full of toys, play areas, games, and things like foosball, air hockey, and a pool table. Activities include coloring, shell painting, story time, and sculpting with Play-Doh. There's also a small, shallow kids' pool and although all units come with personal plunge pools, there is a a main pool that's more suitable for swimming laps. Wi-Fi is free throughout, and the hotel can provide assistant arranging weddings and honeymoons as well. 

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Address

Bwejuu Beach, Bwejuu, Tanzania

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