“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree.” Yes, Samuel Taylor Coleridge would doubtless have settled easily into this beachside idyll. Located on the warm Indian Ocean’s edge, this exceptional property comprises just six sumptuous villas, each romantically reminiscent of the billowing sails of a dhow, the ships that so elegantly ply these blue waters.
Opened in 2017, this exotic utopia is one of our most recent – and treasured — discoveries. Discreet, private villas set amongst well-kept gardens, steps from sun-drenched sand and sea, mean Xanadu is custom designed for indulgence, relaxation and as much seaside invigoration as you care for. (Snorkels, kayaks SUPs and every other imaginable water-friendly toy is on sight, along with a jolly activities director.) The charming owners, Eileen and Marcus — long-time collectors of African art — have cultivated an elevating version of casual luxury, with curated artwork that’s both beautiful and original, and furnishings that are contemporary, well designed and comfortable all at once. And the food, aah the food. Here, we can’t – we musn’t — hold back: the cuisine here is among the finest in Africa. Chef hails from South Africa and each dish, every ingredient – from fresh bread, stunning salads and perfectly prepared fish pulled straight from the sea – is presented with beauty and flair. A small spa is devoted to relaxation and beauty, and your personal butler ensures your every need, desire and wish are met. You are, after all, in Xanadu.
An enchanted island setting of extraordinary intimacy, each of the six ultra-private, deeply luxurious villas is unique in design and layout. Recline in an over-sized king bed; each villas features one or two expansive bedrooms, large bathrooms and living space and private plunge pool (one, inside the presidential Mbingu Villa, is a dramatic rooftop one). The private outdoor showers — always a bit of a frisson! — are among the great joys of luxurious beach living. Each villa has its own private butler service, wonderfully attentive without ever being too much. Perhaps you’d care to dine in villa one evening, and another in the stylish main dining area surrounds the pool, or in lavish picnic style on the private beach. It’s your stately pleasure dome to do as you wish.
Xanadu is a beachy paradise for all ages and the on-site Activities Director tailors all adventures accordingly.
Our hosts’ love of Zanzibar and all its natural earthly-paradise advantages means we’re well equipped for cultural and water adventures alike. Guided fun is at the ever-ready (the activities director personally accompanies everyone on each activity, ensuring care and safety) – on stand up paddle boards, in sea kayaks, fitted out with snorkel gear or just lazing on a white sandy beach staring into space, glorious blue space. There are seaborne excursions on Xanadu’s own fishing boat, a very zoom-ey number complete with two 70 horsepower motors, and perhaps a chance to bring home the catch of the day, too. Scuba adventures are easily arranged, and tours of local Zanzibari villages and spice markets are a delight, as is a sunset cruise on Xanadu’s very own traditional Zanzibari dhow. And naturally a very talented massage therapist to administer massages as well as mani and pedis. A small, most exquisite shop purveys beautiful jewellery and art from the owners’ collection. And last but not least, a white beach lays waiting – for taking a stroll on the beach, a lovely, languorous stroll, is one of the simplest, most sublime pleasures we know.