One of the most luxurious hotels on the east coast of Zanzibar, Karafuu Beach Resort & Spa has been granted an international five-star rating. It’s ideally located on a blissful stretch of palm-fringed beach with white sand and dazzling blue water - just what you’re after.
The spacious, cool reception area under makuti (palm thatch) is impressive, especially when you're visiting the resort for the first time. You instantly know you’re in a top-notch hotel. There is an enormous pool around which you’ll find guests soaking up the sun. The clientele is largely international, so you’ll hear a variety of accents. A little further along is the beach with a generous strip of sand with sun lounges set a good distance apart from each other.
Warm hospitality comes naturally to the Swahili staff, who are impeccably dressed in long, robed uniforms. You are welcomed with the traditional greeting of karibu and we found there was always someone on hand to assist with a smile. We rate the service at Karafuu as excellent.
The air-conditioned hotel has all the expected facilities: fully-equipped dive and watersports centre, boutiques, tennis courts, gymnasium and the recently new opened Spa. The rooms are extremely comfortable and styled in a modern Zanzibar theme. They provide a welcome relief from the sun when you’ve spent the day by the pool or diving and lazing on the beach.
The eastern side of the island is greatly influenced by the tide. You can sunbathe on the beach and slip straight into the water and swim far out when the tide is high. When the tide recedes, you have to wade out to the fringing reef, which can be fun if you want to look for marine life in the shallows.
Karafuu is the only hotel on the east coast where you can enjoy a comfortable and safe swim in the ocean at low tide. A concrete path in front of the hotel leads you from the beach to a permanent natural depression in the ocean bed just 200 meters offshore, offering a giant natural swimming pool deep enough for small boats to moor in.
The hotel opened in 1995 and is aptly named after the Swahili word for cloves, karafuu, which are grown in abundance on Zanzibar (especially on Pemba).
The hotel has 89 rooms, divided into junior suites, cottages and garden rooms. 26 junior suite rooms all with generous sea view situated along the beachfront. 35 Cottage rooms situated on a gentle slope behind the junior suites and offering limited sea views through the lush palm tree tops. 28 Garden rooms a little bit smaller than the cottages and the junior suites, located at the top of the slope in the lush tropical gardens. All have easy access to the long stretch of beach.
All the rooms have makuti (palm-thatch) roofs and are decorated in a modern style with some Zanzibari characteristics. They are very clean, well-maintained and comfortable. They all have air-conditioner, ceiling fan, television, Wi-Fi, mini-bar, telephone, tea-coffee maker, hairdryer, safe box and en-suite marble bathrooms. Each room has its own veranda and the beds have mosquito nets.
The highly recommend cuisine at Karafuu includes theme evenings and different venues and you can even have a romantic dinner right on the beach.
There is an amazing choice of three restaurants:
In addition, the “Masai Village” (located within an African village, perfectly reproduced into Karafuu Hotel) opens just once or twice a week for Swahili dinners and folkloristic dancers performances only.