Great expectations: why Kilindi Zanzibar is the ultimate romantic hideaway
With natural beauty and a rich history, this tropical Zanzibar hideaway showcases Africa at its most colourful
Everything I’d heard about Zanzibar Island, positioned in the Indian Ocean just off the Tanzanian archipelago, had been so overwhelmingly positive I was prepared for a fall. But no gushing reviews from friends or photos in a brochure could suitably prepare me for the sheer natural beauty of this vibrantly colourful part of the world where I was to spend a blissful week. Kilindi Zanzibar is positioned on 50 acres of lush, tropical gardens and powdery white sands in the Kendwa area on the northern tip of Zanzibar’s main island, officially called Unguja.
The resort’s architecture is a beguiling mix of local Arabian features with a hefty dose of Scandinavian minimalism inspired by the architect’s muse – the property was originally designed for ABBA songwriter Benny Andersson in 2007. It’s a study in contrasts but, amazingly, the flow of space is a relaxing treat for the senses and, in my opinion, the ultimate romantic hideaway.
Arriving at midnight to find ourselves greeted by an admittedly rather bumpy airport transfer, the stresses of the flight were soon dispersed during our greeting from Justin, the hotel’s general manger, and the cool welcome drink he brought with him. As we walked through the main house around which the resort is centred, the Arabian lights casting swirling shadows on the cool tiles, while the cascading water feature behind the bar was lit up invitingly. As we wandered past the candlelit infinity pool overlooking the deep Indian Ocean our first impression could be summed up in one word – stunning.
Each of Kilindi’s 15 villas is set within its own private tropical garden – and conveniently served by its own dedicated butler. Our family villa was made of a cluster of buildings, including a bedroom with a giant bed, a bathroom an even larger shower, a lounge that’s perfect for entertaining, a terrace with comfy day beds and a two-tier plunge pool boasting panormaic views over the gardens and the ocean – the perfect way to cool off in the African sun. >>
Big, bold and beautiful certainly seems to be a theme Kilindi has embraced, and the decor reflected this while at the same time being incredibly inviting and homely. Breakfast is served in the privacy of your villa – Baruti, our fantastic butler for the duration, greeted me each morning with a double espresso and a fruit cocktail – while dinner is served in the main pavilion, either on the terrace or on the sand against a backdrop of the most memorable African sunsets.
During the day, guests of the beachside hotel can enjoy a range of high-octane activities such as diving, snorkelling and sailing, or venture off site to discover the broad range of historical and cultural opportunities the island has to offer. The resort can organise visits to the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage of Stone Town where you can shop the curios and colourful bazaars of this faded traditional hub, and local highlights such as the Sultan’s Palace, the Majestic House of Wonders and the imposing Old Fort.
After a long day of exploration, revitalise in the resort’s spa facilities. Choose from a menu of treatments or work with therapists to create a bespoke programme to relax, pamper, detox or rejuvenate your body and mind. It’s safe to say this romantic getaway had me falling head over heels for Africa. Whether it’s your first visit to this enthralling continent or your fiftieth, Zanzibar’s hypnotic colours and jewel toned turquoise seas are the perfect introduction to a lasting love affair that defies even the highest of expectations.