After a very adventurous morning spent exploring Stone Town, it was finally time to catch our transfer to Melia Hotel Zanzibar located on the east coast. And the opportunity to sit down and rest our legs for the drive was most welcomed!!
I couldn’t wait to discover more of the island and the 1 hour drive was something I was actually looking forward to as it would allow me a chance to see more of what this incredible place was all about. And it didn’t disappoint. As we whizzed along I managed to catch a few glimpses of the real “island” life – villages and goat herds, banana trees and grass huts, school kids and bicycles piled high with wares, stalls and shops spilling over with fresh fruit, crowds gathering for some light entertainment and crazy taxi’s and traffic weaving past each other at high speeds and with no apparent traffic laws.
My husband on the other hand crashed and burned in the seat next to me. The endless day which had really started at 7am the previous day and had resulted in very little sleep caught up with him and he was out for the count and missed the whole crazy drive! Unfortunately being inside a shuttle and no opportunities to stop and snap some better pictures I had to rely on the few I caught through the moving window… They aren’t great but at least they give you an idea of what I am talking about!
And then we finally arrived at our hotel – Melia Hotel Zanzibar! And the gorgeous gates and tree lined drive led me to believe we were in for a treat!
A review of Melia Hotel Zanzibar
The air-conditioned reception area of Melia Hotel Zanzibar, complete with cold welcome drink, soft sofa and gorgeous views was like heaven itself! We were finally able to sit down and soak into the soft cushions, kick off our shoes and catch our breath. After a few minutes spent checking in, we were escorted to a little golf cart to whizz our way through the extensive, tropical gardens to our room…
We were transported along palm tree fringed paths, past verdant ferns and flowering frangipani bushes, all the while seeing small slivers of an endless shining blue sea in the distance. We were in paradise! There was no mistaking that this was the real deal.
Melia Hotel Zanzibar Room
And our room was not to be sniffed at either. In keeping with the 5-star status of the hotel this was a room fit for a romantic island getaway at it’s best! The air-con was at full blast and welcomed us into a chilled oasis with a four-poster bed swathed in mosquito netting taking center stage. Our room was situated on the ground floor right at the end of the resort which meant that our little patio was very private with very few people wandering past (however the top floor rooms with their exotic Zanzibari balconies looked even better in terms of privacy). The view out over the turquoise Indian Ocean was breath-taking and demanded one sit down immediately with a G&T and a good book, but at this point my first port of call was definitely the en-suite bathroom!!
And this was generous in size and luxury! Featuring a huge bath, twin basins, plenty of floor space, a private toilet as well as an indoor and outdoor shower plus beautifully branded toiletries, there were no complaints coming from me, except maybe the desire for a bathroom such as this one at my own home!!
After a very long, hot shower in the fresh air, it was time to unpack and unwind with a drink from our all-inclusive mini-bar. And a brief nap didn’t go amiss either! But the lure of exploring the rest of the resort was hard to ignore and after an hour of putting my feet up it was time to head out and discover what else there was to enjoy at Melia Zanzibar!
Melia Hotel Zanzibar Facilities
We headed straight out our patio door onto the cliff path running along the front of the resort. From here we could immediately see the famous Melia Hotel Pier jutting out into the shallow waters of the reef below us. It was easy to choose our first destination! And this was to become one of our favourite spots at Melia during our 4 night stay.
The Pier or Jetty is a wooden walkway that juts out into the ocean. At the end of the pier the Jetty Bar & Restaurant is located and this consists of a bar plus a few tables, chairs and couches. Located above the lapping waves below the deck and overlooking the endless view there is no more perfect place to spend a few
minutes hours days relaxing. This spot is designed to be the most conducive for doing absolutely NOTHING. And being totally fine with that. An A-type myself, I never ever just rest. Sitting in one spot doing nothing for longer than 2 minutes is impossible for me. My to-do list is always calling my name. And my inbox is never empty. But here, on this little wooden jetty in the middle of the Indian Ocean, with the sounds of the water and gulls, the sights of the endless horizon and occasional dhow boat, the warm wind against my face and one of the Melai Zanzibar all inclusive cocktails in my hand, I was allowed to finally be free from all those worries.
And it was indeed the most blissful experience of my entire year. I sat and stared at nothing but the beauty surrounding me and didn’t have a care in the world. I was at rest and at peace. No wonder this little spot became our favourite place to escape to. The best part was that the sheer size of the hotel grounds meant that very often we were the only two people there (besides the waiters bringing us endless cocktails, but we were ok with that!)
After an hour or two of chilling and a cocktail (or four) we decided it was time to make a move and wander past the pool area which we had yet to discover. Located just above the pier the pool became another one of our favourite spots to chill out. This being our “second honeymoon” I arrived determined to rectify some of the regrets I had from our first honeymoon in Mauritius almost 13 years ago. One of which was that I wanted to make sure we enjoyed all the facilities and lying by the pool with a good book for a few hours every day was one of my priorities!! Aaaaah the joy of a beach holiday – no where to go and nothing to do means that this can in fact take the place as priority no 1 on your to-do list!
As it was late in the afternoon by this stage we ambled past the pool but made it our mission to arrive back bright and early the next morning to secure a spot on one of the sun loungers under the shade of the frangipani trees!!
It was time to head back to our room to prepare for our first evening meal at Melia. One of the great aspects of Melia Hotel Zanzibar was the variety of restaurant options every night and being on an all-inclusive package meant that we didn’t have to worry about what we ordered or watch our budget. All we had to do was show up wearing our wrist band and everything was covered including (and I might have already mentioned this) the cocktails!!
For the first night of our stay we headed to the main restaurant at the hotel reception area – Spices Restaurant – as it was the closest one to our room and we weren’t up for too much walking after our hectic day (yes this was still the FIRST day of our trip and I’m on blog post no 5 already!) The menu here was an open buffet and seating was outside on the terrace.
Other restaurant options include the Jetty Lounge, which I have already mentioned, we loved our meal down here on one of the other nights. It’s much smaller and feels quite private and, of course, the setting is incredible. Although you need to book in advance for this option. We also tried out the Gabi Beach restaurant for lunch and their Zanzibar themed evening on one of the nights. But more about that in next week’s post!
After our never-ending day it was not going to be a late night for us and we headed off to bed walking back to our room in the dark, warm night. The relaxed atmosphere of the resort was seeping into our bodies and we were acclimatizing to island life quite well. It was time to recharge ourselves for another day of fun in the sun and sleep came quickly – quite possibly BEFORE we got into bed!
If you enjoyed this post come back next Monday for more about our stay at Melia Zanzibar.
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Images: Kathryn Rossiter