“If going to Zanzibar, this is the right place”

For those of you who read my reviews, you know we travel extensively and try very hard to be thorough and fair.

The Baraza Resort is quite beautiful, very exotic and resembles a Sultan’s palace. The staff is truly amazing with special recognition going to Rose, Daniel, the restaurant and the beach staff, especially trainee Hamisi, although all met the very highest standards. In some small ways, only the reception staff can be lacking.

The food is very good, especially the buffet lunch. Breakfast is also a buffet. The dinners were lovely, but the choices are limited unless they have a special buffet. The house wines are good, not great, but there is a nice selection.

The beach is very clean and walkable. The water is beautiful, and crystal clear. The sand is especially good. Bring water shoes. At low tide, one can walk several hundred yards out in to the ocean which is really not good for swimming because of the reef.

The spa is fantastic and the staff there is caring and talented. However, they need to install some proper seating for manicures/pedicures which become very uncomfortable after a half hour or so.

The individual cottages are large and attractive with very nice amenities, individual dip pools and great privacy. We had a two bedroom, two bath unit. While adequate, the second bedroom and bathroom are really designed for a family with children, not a second couple. We just switched rooms and each had two days in the large bedroom and bathroom. The twin beds in the second bedroom can be made in to one king bed which does help.

If privacy is important to you, I would recommend against a beachfront cottage. The dip pool is in the front, and if the resort is full, a lot of people could be on the beach in front of you. The waterfront cottages also seemed to be placed closer to each other. There are no two-bedroom cottages on the beach. The beachfront cottages do provide great views and a nice breeze, which the cottages one or two rows back do not, so it just becomes personal choice.

The problems, while minor, are worth noting when one is paying $1200 a night.

The resort offers wireless in your cottage for $15 a day which, at these rates, should be included. We had trouble with it two of our three days there and had to call for a technician. This took about 30 minutes out of our day each time.

Our safe also stopped working which meant we either had to stay in our room until it was fixed, or take everything out of the safe and carry it with us until repairs were made. As it was lunchtime, we chose the latter. While not significant, it was a bit annoying and inconvenient and, combined with the Internet issues, required several phone calls and a couple of wasted hours. Our hostess, however, handled it well and we were not charged for two days of internet.

Getting water or drinks on the beach can be a bit of a wait, but the beach staff is very good and once they arrive at your lounge chair, very eager to assist.

The real reason to go to Zanzibar and Baraza is to enjoy the weather, the water, the resort, the food and the down time, although I would not say Zanzibar is one of my favorite spots.

However, if you decide to go, Stone Town is worth a visit and the cost is about $100 per car roundtrip. A quick drive around to point our key buildings is a good idea, but then just meander through the old city. Four hours in Stone Town with time for a beer at Mercury make it a fun day.

Guest nationality: Canadian

Reviewed February 19, 2011