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Romancing the Palms: Zanzibar hotel with a heart

Please only travel when it’s safe to do so.

Talk about romance!

An attentive butler.

A lavish 1,400 sq. ft. villa with silk-draped king-size bed and midnight-blue plunge pool.

Your own curtained cabana with daybed for relaxing on the beach.

And the most elegant candle-light dinners.

The Palms is one of the most romantic resorts in Zanzibar
The Palms is one of the most romantic resorts we’ve stayed at (and, of course, the bubbly is complimentary!)

All-inclusive at The Palms, Zanzibar

The Palms is one of the most romantic resorts in Zanzibar
Can you say paradise?

The Palms on Bwejuu Beach on the breezy eastern coast of Zanzibar is oh-so-romantic.

We’ve been fortunate to bed down at many of the world’s finest hotels and resorts.

Some of the best have been gorgeous villa resorts with private pools.

Yet this most intimate of boutique resorts (with only seven villas in total) still managed to wow us big time.

The Palms is set on beautiful Bwejuu Beach

The Palms is one of the world’s most romantic all-inclusive resorts, says Travel + Leisure.

We couldn’t agree more.

Certainly, The Palms ups the ante on “all-inclusive” – giving the term a whole new meaning.

Each Palms villa has its own private pool

It’s not just that pretty well everything is included (from brilliant cocktails, like vanilla-infused lime martinis, to reef walking and other fun things to do in Zanzibar).

It’s how it’s all presented, with such lovely attention to detail.

The Palms is one of the best hotels in Zanzibar for couples
The Palms is one of the best hotels in Zanzibar for couples

Romantic dining

Seafood is always on the menu at The Palms, Zanzibar
Seafood is always on the menu for dinner at The Palms

Take the dining.

Breakfast and dinner are served on a colonnaded terrace in an elegant plantation-style house with dark polished wood floors and folding French doors.

At breakfast, a white plumeria blossom would be tucked into the corner of a small menu, written in script.

At night, the dining room gets all gussied up.

Dining by candlelight at The Palms, Zanzibar
We dined by candlelight every night

For an Indian feast, we arrived to find gold gauzy tablecloths, beaded napkin ring holders and staff in long white robes with turbans.

Another evening, waiters wore formal black pants and white shirts, and the napkin ring holders were mother-of-pearl.

For lunch, staff laid out a private meal for us one day on the beach under a canopy of weaved palm fronds, adorned with hibiscus flowers.

Lunch on Bwejuu Beach at The Palms
Lunch on Bwejuu Beach at The Palms

Of course, there was an ice bucket chilling a bottle of champagne.

And don’t get us started on the actual food.

With only seven couples (maximum) to cook for, the chef could really go all out, serving dishes a la minute.

Dinner was always a five-course affair.

Maybe an amuse bouche of tuna carpaccio to start, then a trio of avocado (whipped, sliced and guacamole-style), followed by hot Zanzibar crab claws au gratin, then snapper in Hollandaise sauce and finally chocolate fondant with homemade vanilla ice-cream.

Fresh prawns to start off your dinner?

Giving back

But enough of that (you shouldn’t have got us started on the food :-).

We want to tell you that The Palms is also a Zanzibar hotel with a heart.

It’s nice to know that – together with its sister boutique hotels in the Zanzibar Collection trio – The Palms has financed and built a dedicated maternity clinic in the local village of Bwejuu.

It helped build a new children’s clinic too.

Other “good” deeds:

When you stay at The Palms, you can also feel good knowing:

  • All villas have solar power.
  • Water isn’t taken from the village source. A desalination plant produces water for your needs.
  • A garden onsite grows local produce for your meals.
  • Fish is bought from local fishermen.
  • 90% of staff are graduates from the local hotel school (not hired from overseas).
  • The Palms donates beds, mattresses, clothes, school supplies and books to Bwejuu village.

So, yes, The Palms Zanzibar is incredibly romantic.

But it also shares the love.

If you go to The Palms, Zanzibar

What we especially loved:

The impeccably maintained villas (if she was still alive, hotel magnate Leona Helmsley would be proud) and the warm personal service.

Be aware:

The Palms is an adults-only property that attracts honeymooners and older couples, who tend to stick to themselves. It’s very quiet and tranquil. If you want a livelier feel, you may prefer the neighboring Baraza Resort & Spa.

The Palms, Zanzibar

Check rates and availability here

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Africa guide | See our Ultimate Africa Travel Guide & Safari Planner – it’s packed with tips and information, along with suggested trip itineraries.


Photo credits: 3, 8 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Remaining photos The Palms, Zanzibar Collection


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the owners and founders of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, luxury hotel reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

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Kathryn Burrington

Sunday 22nd of December 2013

That first beach shot is so inviting. Looks like a magical place.

Janice and George

Monday 23rd of December 2013

It is magical. You can walk (or take out rusty hotel bikes and pedal) for miles on that beach.

Cheryl Merrill

Sunday 1st of December 2013

Ah, lovely......

Janice and George

Sunday 1st of December 2013

Definitely a very lovely stay...

Irene S. Levine

Saturday 30th of November 2013

Looks divine! Is this Zanzibar or heaven?

Janice and George

Saturday 30th of November 2013

Easy to confuse the two :-).