Page 67 - Marlborough Living May June 2019
P. 67

  A s a child, I always loved the name Zanzibar - there was something so beguiling, almost onomatopoeic in the
word - conjuring images of far away lands and sprawling white beaches, dotted with dark and enchanted mangroves and bringing together the wildness of Africa and the majesty of the Middle East. I’m happy to say that in real life, Zanzibar is no less magical than I imagined - it’s just missing the procession the Sultan and his men in brightly decorated garb down the beach, scorching in the white heat and saturated in colour - perhaps I had an overactive imagination!
It appears this fascination of mine is shared by many - Zanzibar is one of those destinations that seems to call out like a siren to adventurous, luxury and laid-back travellers alike - promising as it does that unique blend of unparalleled natural beauty, some of the world’s best diving, a warm and inviting population and of course, a heavy dose of relaxation. I felt more than a little smug about my own adventure as
I left a wintry British storm behind and awaited that most welcome cloak of heat and African sun.
My home for the week was the Baraza Resort and Spa, part of the Zanzibar Collection - an oasis of verdant greenery nestled on the South West coast of the island. Known for its localised weather, as most islands are, the clever planning of the hotel’s owners means that this hotel and its neighbouring sister properties make the most a sheltered position from most passing rain storms and a breezy coastal stretch to mediate the humidity.
Each hotel in the Zanzibar Collection has been designed to reflect the varied and rich history of the island. Baraza takes influence from the Arabic and Oriental styles, drawing on Zanzibar’s history as a key spice trading post and spice producer alongside its deep connection with the Sultans of Oman. Breezes and The Palms offer a more traditionally African styling, The Palms being styled as a kind of game lodge but with uninterrupted vistas of sparking blue waters - Colonial grandeur combined with an African spirit, and the Breezes filled with beautiful African handicrafts and decoration. The newest property, Zwadi, is unutterably stylish - palettes of muted chalky paints and coastal chic accents - all with that unerring view to the turquoise sea.
Each of the resorts has slightly different accommodation options, from villas and all-inclusive stays in Baraza and the Palms, rooms with half board options at Breezes and adult-only all-inclusive at Zawadi. Guests can move between resorts to make the most of different restaurants and bars - the food is really exceptional here, with a varied menu of African, Middle Eastern and Western dishes alongside a fantastic grill and of course, lots of fresh fish. You could easily eat at one resort for two weeks without feeling bored, but you may want to stretch your legs with a walk down the beach to the neighbours. Baraza also enjoys one of the largest spas in East Africa, so many guests staying in adjoining resorts make the most of its beautiful courtyard pool and extensive facilities - if they weren’t relaxed enough already!
The unifying factor for all the resorts is an incredible level of service and a high staff to guest ratio. The sign of true luxury is interpreting a guest’s needs and actioning them with discretion and ease - the

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