Essque Zalu Zanzibar

Zanzibar, Tanzania

The hotel

Imagine watching dhows drift by as you dine above the Indian Ocean on a romantic jetty. Or cooking Swahili dishes with Chef Rose, as she shares recipes passed down through generations. Or experiencing a pampering Maasai Ritual, before sipping sundowners around an old Baobab tree, or along the wooden jetty. This hideaway delivers the real Zanzibar experience. Near the northern tip of the island and Nungwi village, it’s authentic from its lobby (set in the island’s highest makuti thatched hut) to its 48 suites and residences, each with dazzling ocean or garden views (and also a private deck or patio and plush bathroom in each detached suite). It may be utterly genuine, but Essque Zalu Zanzibar also provides those ‘musts’ every international island-hopper is after – like an oversized lagoon pool, a cocktail-driven poolside bar, and water sports like snorkelling and kayaking.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Romantic
  • Spa
  • Swimming Pool
  • Honeymoon
  • Room Service
  • Internet Access
  • Beachfront location
  • Restaurant

Where is it

In the village of Nungwi, 50 minutes drive from Stone Town. Transfer time from Zanzibar Airport: 1 hour.

Hotel information

40 Suites and 8 Residences. All with private patio/terrace, air-conditioning, TV, tea/coffee-making facilities, personalised mini-bar* and safe. Garden Suites enjoy garden views and sleep maximum 3 adults.

All Inclusive/All Inclusive Plus options: are available at a supplement.

Full Board includes: breakfast, three-course lunch and 3-course dinner, excluding beverages.

Superior Garden Suites are located on the upper floors and sleep maximum 3 adults. 

Ocean View Suite and Seafront Suites are also available. 

Market Kitchen (restaurant and deli). The Jetty (restaurant and bar). Pool bar. Boabab bar. Lagoon-style pool. Spa*. 24-hour fitness centre. Water sports centre. Yoga. Complimentary WiFi. Room service*.

5 nights between 23 Dec-3 Jan.

* Denotes local charge.

Rating summary

  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Value Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (611)
  • Very good (141)
  • Average (40)
  • Poor (23)
  • Terrible (14)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Honeymoon in paradise

Sep 27, 2019 GinaLee74 Sydney, Australia

I don’t know why others have had bad experiences at this hotel, ours was amazing. From the moment we walked in the front door it was wow. As it was our honeymoon, the hotel offered a free upgrade to an ocean view hut which was amazing. The room has a King size bed with a comfortable mattress, air conditioning and two fans, double sinks in a huge… Read more
I don’t know why others have had bad experiences at this hotel, ours was amazing. From the moment we walked in the front door it was wow. As it was our honeymoon, the hotel offered a free upgrade to an ocean view hut which was amazing. The room has a King size bed with a comfortable mattress, air conditioning and two fans, double sinks in a huge bathroom. We also had our own private deck looking directly at the ocean. Housekeeping came twice a day and replenished water, towels and toiletries which include shampoo, conditioner, soap and body lotion. One day they put fresh flowers on our bed which was really sweet. Food: the food at Essque Zalu is mainly traditional Swahili seafood, chicken and beef dishes and salads which are totally safe. They also have a poolside menu if you are feeling snacky. Those who have criticised the food perhaps forgot they are in Zanzibar. The food is fresh, local and naturally flavoured with Zanzibar spices. We loved the wharf restaurant and returned every day to eat the delicious seafood on offer. If you want western style food you can get this at the Hilton up the road. Breakfast is ok, the bacon is natural and has not been artificially preserved so be prepared for a different taste. They do good omelettes! Pool: the pool is amazing and the largest in the area. The towels are replaced every day and you can request more if you want. There is a great pool bar with local beers, wine and they make amazing cocktails. You will not be able to stop staring at the magnificent views of the ocean while relaxing on your sun bed. Staff: the staff at Zalu are so friendly, they just want you to be happy. One day I asked if I could have some coconut water. They didn’t have any so they asked someone to climb a tree! Then after we drank it they cut it up for us so we could also eat the flesh. It is these kind of gesture’s which make Zalu special. I will point out that Zalu is about 1.2 kilometres from the main part of Nungwi and is easily accessible by beach when the tide is low. Zalu is a quiet, private hotel unlike others in town which are surrounded by everyone and everything. The only gripe I have is not with the hotel but with the road leading from Nungwi town. It is so bad the taxi drivers will charge you more to get back to the hotel. A small price to pay to stay in paradise. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating This is Paradise !

Sep 26, 2019 Passport809843 Seoul, South Korea

Paradise on earth for the views. Water is really turquoise. Perfect for instagrammers. Pier and restaurant on the sea are particularly photogenic. Villa room is huge and clean. Pool is big and clean. Employees are kind, helpful and very professional. Breakfast is varied, sausages and mango jam are especially nice. Coffee is very good by African… Read more
Paradise on earth for the views. Water is really turquoise. Perfect for instagrammers. Pier and restaurant on the sea are particularly photogenic. Villa room is huge and clean. Pool is big and clean. Employees are kind, helpful and very professional. Breakfast is varied, sausages and mango jam are especially nice. Coffee is very good by African standards. We had dinner on the pier restaurant and it was fantastic: catch of the day, octopus and garlic prawns were fantastic. Beef steak was just so-so, so have the seafood. Late checkout available if few guests. A bit far from central Nungwi, but totally walkable (about 15 minutes). * WIFI only works in lobby and swimming pool. Not in the room. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating 4.5 Stars - Beautiful setting..almost perfect

Sep 16, 2019 hp_92p

We stayed here for our honeymoon for 1 week on a half board basis. They upgraded our room for free to an ocean front hut which was absolutely beautiful. They acknowledged that it was our honeymoon and prepped our room lovely petals and a honeymoon cake. They also provided a private dinner for us. Overall the hotel design and location is stunning… Read more
We stayed here for our honeymoon for 1 week on a half board basis. They upgraded our room for free to an ocean front hut which was absolutely beautiful. They acknowledged that it was our honeymoon and prepped our room lovely petals and a honeymoon cake. They also provided a private dinner for us. Overall the hotel design and location is stunning and we had a magical time in Zanzibar. Overall - 4.5/5 - Overall the staff were friendly, the food was decent, the location and setting on the ocean is phenomenal and we felt safe with the numerous security guards patrolling the surrounding areas. The hotel's design is stunning. The spa was great and the gardens around the hotel are very nice and well maintained. However, the WiFi was mediocre and the jacuzzi needs fixing. I was told it was going to be fixed the next day but it wasn't fixed during our stay. Unfortunately our iPhone charger and UK adapter went missing after the WiFi router was put in our room and it was never recovered. The manager did contact the IT guy who put the router in and we were disappointed that he did not know where the charger and adapter was :/ Staff - 5/5 - all the staff were very friendly and it was a very personal experience as the staff all knew my name and made us feel welcome. I suggest taking small USD notes / TSH notes for tips from time to time. Special thanks to Suleiman, Zainab, Ali bar man, Issa, Pius, Ali, Lavinah, Moses, Abdi and others. Food - 4/5 - the food was decent, the breakfast was good and had a buffet style layout in addition to a set menu within different egg dishes as well as pancakes and waffles. There was nothing wrong with the breakfast but there was nothing wow either. The fruits on offer were however exotic. We had dinner on both the restaurants in the hotel and would recommend the one on the jetty as this had a better menu and we enjoyed the food there more. They also do nice mocktails and a good shisha. Being a Muslim country, the food is also halal. Entertainment - 4/5 - the hotel is a private peaceful place which is ideal for couples and it is not a party type hotel. We had entertainment on a few nights by the jetty and we enjoyed the Swahili dancers and musicians. They also had an Australian girl who played the guitar and sang softly at dinner at the inside restaurant. The hotel was quiet when we were there and the nights were peaceful. Rooms/location - 5/5 - the room we were upgraded to was an ocean front room and had phenomenal views. It was like having your own little house. Our first room had a phone problem so they offered to change the room and I said it's fine so then later they upgraded me to an ocean front hut :D. The first room was a garden suite which was also very nice as the gardens are genuinely tranquil and well maintained. The rooms themselves were very clean and cleaned twice a day. They were African themed and you felt like you were in Africa. The hotel is in a quiet village and is beautifully situated on the Indian ocean. I went on the hotel bike into the village a few times and enjoyed it as it reminded me of my grandparents villages in India.The Raleigh bikes need maintenance as it was a bit rusty though they did ride well. The locals are friendly and don't bother you. If you are Muslim, they have local mosques in the village if you want to use them. Beach - 4.5/5 - the hotel has a small stretch of beach which is very private and safe. You can see the odd starfish and can walk across it at low tide only. The jetty is amazing and you will get some real views from it. Nungwi beach is 10mins walk away but wasn't the best, the best beach is Kendwa beach which the hotel will take you to and back for free. It is only 15 mins drive away. We preferred the hotel's small beach as it was private and there was hardly anyone there. Spa/gym/facilities/pool - 4.5/5 - the spa is fantastic, I went for a Balinese massage before my flight cost me about £70 for an hour but it was very good and professional. The lady knew what she was doing. The gym is also good and is open 24 hrs it has enough high quality technogym equipment for a good workout. There were clean towels and water available. The pool is really nice and has a stunning view of the ocean. There are plenty of loungers to chill and there are private showers outside if you need to use them. The jacuzzi would have been nice if it was working and the pool would have been perfect if the water was warmer. The pool lights up nicely at night and is cleaned daily. Activities - we didn't do activities through the hotel but they do have a range of activities you can do such as snorkelling, parasailing, jet skiing etc. Finally, I had a private driver who arranged all activities and pick up drop offs for me. He was decent priced and his English was good. I recommend getting a zantel 4g simcard from the airport so you can WhatsApp him whilst you are there. He's a great guy his name is Tamim +255 717 716 035. There is also a good YouTube vid that reviews this hotel check it out. Hope this helps! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Unsatisfactory stay at Essque Zalu

Sep 14, 2019 monomeric Cork, Ireland

I’m quite a reasonable &understanding person but I need to write this review so people can have the information on this hotel (and get it off my chest). My husband has stayed in a lot of 5 star hotels with work and this did not meet 5 star standards in other countries. We paid a lot of money to stay at this hotel and it was our honeymoon. This was… Read more
I’m quite a reasonable &understanding person but I need to write this review so people can have the information on this hotel (and get it off my chest). My husband has stayed in a lot of 5 star hotels with work and this did not meet 5 star standards in other countries. We paid a lot of money to stay at this hotel and it was our honeymoon. This was a bit like “Faulty Towers”. This is not good enough and was a frustrating experience. So here goes: The good: Beautiful setting, well kept gardens, large comfortable bungalows, infinity pool. We both had massages which were lovely. We had food poisoning one day and asked a member of staff for coconut water to hydrate us. He asked someone to climb a tree an brought them to our room. This helped a lot. The bad: Food is hit and miss. I had a lovely steak & starter prawns with chilli & coconut (to give the hotel an idea: this could be a nice main dish with rice). Other times it was only OK. Not 5 star. We stayed at the hotel for 5 days. Of the 5 breakfasts we had it was hit and miss. On 2 occasions I ordered an omelette for breakfast with a staff member who repeated back the filling order with my room number and it came back wrong both times. I knew by the staff members level of English that I could not ask for another or would be waiting. At least Three times we asked for cold milk to have with our black tea. Twice it never came and 1 time hot milk came out. This was funny at first but frustrating when added to everything else. We likely got food poisoning from lamb kebabs on the jetty restaurant. Be careful to order foods that have a low risk of food poisoning. Overall, staff do NOT LISTEN. The Ugly: One evening, we arrived back from the village and entered the hotel lobby. We entered through the security gates and office (who don’t ask you anything entering- they probably should check your room key or ask for your room number). about halfway through the lobby, we were “greeted” by Mary, the manager who started walking after us. By greeted I mean, aggressively shouted at for our room number. This tone was like something reserved for children needing a telling off. We replied with our room number. Mary shouted something back to a girl at the desk who said something to Mary. Mary said to us, “ye check out tomorrow”. We said yes. I think she may have realised that she was being aggressive to us and covered this up with, “we can mind your bags and offer you showers”. I saw other staff members looking at her confused. Maybe they didn’t agree with her tone speaking with us. None of this was offered the next day. This incident was appalling and Mary if you are reading this, you need to improve your customer relations skills. On check out with Isaak, the manager, he never asked us how our stay was. Just felt like a business transaction. I think there is a lack of thinking about the customer experience here and just about money. Also, 3 staff members just staring at the computer creating our bill. This did not feel personal. It felt like we were in a shop, not a 5 star Hotel for guests on holidays who have paid a lot of money to relax from their stressful jobs for a few days. I could add more but I’ll it at that. I’d like to forget about this and move on with my life. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Disappointment

Sep 14, 2019 Soffiija

We just came back home from Tanzania. We spent two days of our honeymoon in Essque Zalu Zanzibar hotel. I don't have anything good to say about our staying. Compared to our other hotels in our honeymoon trip, we weren't even gratulated for getting married. In other places we got free sparkling wine and massage for a present.  But that was… Read more
We just came back home from Tanzania. We spent two days of our honeymoon in Essque Zalu Zanzibar hotel. I don't have anything good to say about our staying. Compared to our other hotels in our honeymoon trip, we weren't even gratulated for getting married. In other places we got free sparkling wine and massage for a present.  But that was ok. What I don't easily forget was that swimming pool was out of use for the whole time staying there. The staff tried to fix the pool/cleanse it but no difference was made. In the pool area there was seats for sun bathing but it was unsure which towels were dirty and which were clean. No change of towels was made the whole day. We also wanted to do some gym during our stay. Gym was very dirty, no cleaning was made for some weeks I assume. There was a running mat but it didn't work and it was all covered in sweat drops.  Food was no good in any place we ate. Even at the breakfast the waiting time for food was 1/2 hour and there were no other customers than us. We had a half board but not even water was included in the hotel price. I don't recommend this hotel for anyone. Really high price for all the things we didn't get. I ALSO SENT THIS SAME MESSSAGE STRAIGHT TO THE HOTEL BUT I GOT NO ANSWER AT ALL. Read less