This new stay at Bububu on the west coast of Zanzibar is worth saving up for.
Built around the crumbling, grey ruins of a Sultan of Zanzibar’s home long past, Chuini’s glowing white walls, open-plan design and modern finishes have brought the aged palace into a new era. The hotel is perched on low cliffs overlooking a shallow cove – with the remains of a bridge stretching across the mouth – and from the terrace, guests can watch fishing boats being launched from the shore. At low tide, the water retreats, stranding the vessels. You won’t be without a swim, though: Chuini has two brilliantly blue pools and offers boat trips to a sandbank out in the ocean, where waters are clear and calm.
The restaurant is aptly named Ocean Breeze; it has two levels and the lower part is particularly special – it juts out on pillars over the water, so meals are accompanied not only by delicious sea views but the rushing sound of the tides too. Sometimes, down on the beach, the pizza oven (the influence of Italian managers Rossana Bonafé and Neil Markovitz) is fired up and you eat with sand between your toes.
The bungalows are private and quiet, with doors and windows that open wide to let in the view. The white palette contributes to the airy calmness, with light-wood textures giving a nod to Zanzibari heritage. Chuini caters to every whim, including room service, and it’s easy to never leave the hotel grounds, opting for sun-drenched days by the beach instead. When you do pry yourself off the lounger, the spice farms are just three kilometres away, and Stone Town very close. And then it’s back to the hotel and your breezy bedroom, wondering what’s for dinner tonight.
Best features:The restaurant with its decent wine selection – very romantic, especially at sunsets. Or is it the ruins, incorporated seamlessly into the hotel (and which you can clamber around)?
Cost: From R2100 per person sharing B&B.
This review first appeared our bucket list January 2017 issue of Getaway magazine.
Our bucket list January issue features 48 fabulous destinations to suit your budget, time frame and wildest fantasies. Here’s why you should go to Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zambia and Hawaii in 2018.