Xanadu: The Lowdown

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Small, intimate and bursting with character, Xanadu is the antithesis of Zanzibar’s resort hotels. Walking in through the dhow wood gate you feel as if you’re entering someone’s private villa or a holiday home rather than a luxury hotel, and it’s entirely likely that you’ll bump into the owner wandering around or joining guests for a glass of wine.

What’s Xanadu really like?

In Xanadu’s flower-filled gardens there are just six incredibly stylish villas set around the swimming pool. Each has its own unique character and to be honest, we think you’d have to work fairly hard to go too far wrong with any of them.

The one bedroomed villas are Umande, Kimwongo and AlFajiri. Umande’s plunge pool makes it a lovely spot for honeymooners, AlFajiri’s a little larger so works well for people who want the privacy of their own lounge and dining area, whereas Kimwondo has a plunge pool and a gorgeous roof terrace. The two bedroomed villas are Korongo and Mlima, with large living and dining areas, plunge pools and a gorgeous waterfall shower in the master bathroom. Lastly there’s Mbingu- this villa has serious wow factor- access right onto the beach, a private plunge pool and a rooftop pool to boot.

All of the villas come with outdoor showers, wifi and a butler to make sure you are impossibly well looked after. Although there are two-bedroomed villas, we’d say this isn’t really a child friendly resort- the winding stairs and steep drop offs around Xanadu make this best suited to older teenagers and adults nesting away from the world.

Now, we really can’t talk about Xanadu without mentioning its other really distinguishing feature- the food. Cuisine on Zanzibar has never really gained the same gourmet reputation as the world-class restaurants in South Africa, and Xanadu has set out to change this. Several of the chefs who have worked here have worked in some of the world’s top restaurants, and this is Swahili cuisine at its finest.  Meals are served around the pool or on your terrace.

What can I do at Xanadu?

As one of the main attractions of being at Xanadu is escaping the world, the focus of your days here is really on relaxing. There’s an on-site spa and for something a little more active, heading out on the lodge’s dhow, beach bikes for cycling along the beach, kayaks and stand up paddle boards.

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