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Romancing the Palms: Zanzibar Hotel With a Heart

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.

Bottom line? The Palms, Zanzibar, review

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

Experience more of Africa!

Zanzibar: Check out these spellbinding things to do in Stone Town.

Cape Town: Hiking Table Mountain isn’t exactly a walk in the park. But it’s a great activity when visiting Cape Town. (Or just ride the Cable Car up.)

Wine tasting in South Africa: There are more than 185 great wineries in Stellenbosch. We hit many of them!

Zambia: This safari camp – Chinzombo – wows with luxury and killer leopards.

Africa guide: See our ultimate Africa travel guide and safari planner – it’s packed with tips and information, along with suggested trip itineraries.

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

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

About the authors

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

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

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 :-).