Romancing The Palms: Zanzibar hotel with a heart

In AFRICA, LUXURY HOTELS by Janice and George7 Comments

Talk about romance!

An attentive butler. A lavish 1,400 sq. ft. villa with silk-draped king-size bed and midnight-blue plunge pool. Your own curtained cabana with daybed for relaxing on the beach. And the most elegant candle-light dinners.

All-inclusive at The Palms, Zanzibar

The Palms on Bwejuu Beach on the breezy eastern coast of Zanzibar is oh-so-romantic.

We’ve been fortunate to bed down at many of the world’s finest hotels and resorts. Yet this most intimate of boutique resorts (with only six villas in total) still managed to wow us big time.

Each villa has a lovely little private Jacuzzi-pool on its deck - photo The Palms

Each villa has a lovely little private Jacuzzi-pool on its deck – photo The Palms

Beautiful Bwejuu Beach in front of The Palms Zanzibar - photo The Palms

Beautiful Bwejuu Beach in front of The Palms – photo The Palms

Only six lavish villas at The Palms Zanzibar

Only six villas like these at The Palms

The Palms is one of the world’s most romantic all-inclusive resorts, says Travel + Leisure. We couldn’t agree more.

Certainly, The Palms ups the ante on “all-inclusive” – giving the term a whole new meaning. It’s not just that pretty well everything is included (from brilliant cocktails like vanilla-infused lime martinis to bike riding along the beach and reef-walking). It’s how it’s all presented, with such lovely attention to detail.

The spa - photo The Palms

The spa – photo The Palms

Romantic dining

Take the dining. Breakfast and dinner are served on a colonnaded terrace in an elegant plantation-style house with dark polished wood floors and folding French doors.

At breakfast, a white plumeria blossom would be tucked into the corner of a small menu, written in script.

At night, the dining room gets all gussied up.

For an Indian feast, we arrived to find gold gauzy tablecloths, beaded napkin ring holders and staff in long white robes with turbans. Another evening, waiters wore formal black pants and white shirts, and the napkin ring holders were mother-of-pearl.

Dining at The Palms Zanzibar

Elegant dining – photo The Palms

For lunch, staff laid out a private meal for us one day on the beach under a canopy of weaved palm fronds, adorned with hibiscus flowers. Of course, there was an ice bucket chilling a bottle of champagne.

Lunch on Bwejuu Beach at The Palms, Zanzibar

Lunch on Bwejuu Beach at The Palms

And don’t get us started on the actual food.

With only six couples (maximum) to cook for, the chef could really go all out, serving dishes a la minute. Dinner was always a five-course affair. Maybe an amuse bouche of tuna carpaccio to start, then a trio of avocado (whipped, sliced and guacamole-style), followed by hot Zanzibar crab claws au gratin, then snapper in Hollandaise sauce and finally chocolate fondant with homemade vanilla ice-cream.

Giving back

But enough of that (you shouldn’t have got us started on the food :-). We want to tell you that The Palms is also a Zanzibar hotel with a heart.

It’s nice to know that – together with its sister boutique hotels in the Zanzibar Collection trio – The Palms is financing and building a dedicated maternity clinic in the local village of Bwejuu (almost completed). It helped build a new children’s clinic too.

When you stay at The Palms, you can also feel good knowing:

  • All villas have solar power.
  • Water isn’t taken from the village source. A desalination plant produces water for your needs.
  • A garden onsite grows local produce for your meals.
  • Fish is bought from local fishermen.
  • 90% of staff are graduates from the local hotel school (not hired from overseas).
  • The Palms donates beds, mattresses, clothes, school supplies and books to Bwejuu village.

So, yes, The Palms Zanzibar is incredibly romantic. But it also shares the love.

If you go to the Palms Zanzibar

  • Cost:  All-inclusive rates are about $1,220 USD per couple per night.
  • What we especially loved:  The impeccably maintained villas (if she was still alive, hotel magnate Leona Helmsley would be proud) and the warm personal service.
  • Be aware of:  The Palms is an adults-only property that attracts honeymooners and older couples, who tend to stick to themselves. It’s very quiet and tranquil. If you want a livelier feel, you may prefer the neighboring Baraza Resorts & Spa.

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