Relax, recline, completely refresh thyself – simply by sinking your toes into the fine, white sands of a beach that, in our humble vitamin-D-soaked view, is rightly lauded as one of the most beautiful anywhere, anytime. Fittingly, pristine Bwejuu Beach is flanked by the splendid Baraza Resort, whose 30 secluded luxury villas evoke a lavish fusion of Zanzibar’s rich Arabic, Swahili and Indian heritage. The name Baraza itself means “meeting place”, and we are delighted to be met post-safari by our hosts’ warm welcome as well as a merry troupe of traditional Swahili dancers and singers, our first taste of the magical rhythms of this famously spicy isle.
Water, water everywhere and – in a shameless upspin on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetic take – there’s also a magnificent coral reef stretching across this south-eastern coast, making the swimming serene and safe and the snorkeling spectacular. Our many carefree waterborne hours are complemented by elegant dining, perhaps a bit of indulgence in the thoughtfully fitted spa, and as much old-fashioned R&R as can be squeezed, lapped and massaged out of each day in paradise. A decadent, but well-deserved, stop on the way home from a luxury safari in East Africa, to be sure.
Baraza’s top-notchedly modern, ever stylish villas provide private, cool haven from sea and sand – while cleverly managing to be only steps from their natural charms. Classic Swahili design elevates the one- and two-bedroom abodes with sweeping arches, intricate hand-carved decorations and a bevy of beautiful antique pieces and ornate fabrics. Spacious en-suite bathrooms feature freestanding bathtub, alongside always-appreciated luxuries such as the walk-in dressing room, airy terrace, and private plunge pool.
Seaside at The Water Club, a handsome menu of watersports awaits: from snorkelling to reef walking, wind surfing, kite surfing, sailing, and more. After hours of buoyant exertions (a couple, a few, or so many we’ve lost track of the time) libations at candlelit Dhahabu Bar are a welcome respite; delectable dishes — and indeed some of the exotic cocktails, too — are inspired by Arabic, Indian, Persian, Asian and Swahili flavours. (Did we mention Zanzibar has a thing for spices?) Always a treat, The Sultans Dining Room takes rewarding advantage of an Indian Ocean full of fish.
A note for families & children: Children are beloved members of Swahili culture and Baraza Kids’ Club reflects the sentiment wholeheartedly: a medley of toys, games and activities are teed up for young VIPs.
From a freshening loll about in the warm shallows, to a more daring plunge into one of diving’s more spectacular reefs, your island paradise dial is fully adjustable. In a place where coconut harvesting is a legitimate activity, beach bumming is a sport. Of course, more energetic pursuits abound; like learning to Scuba dive at the only PADI 5* Gold Palm and National Geographic Dive Centre in Zanzibar. So too, the opportunity to take up kite surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, and tennis. (Tired limbs are tended by therapists from Thailand, Bali and India and their array of specialized massage techniques and treatments.) Low-tide diversions for your post-safari stopover include bikes, beach games, snorkelling and reef walks.