Zuri Zanzibar – Creating an African idyll
A heavenly green oasis designed with a unique African touch, Zuri Zanzibar is a stunning new resort nestled on a sunset-facing beach on the Spice Island of Unguja.
Boasting some of the archipelago’s finest natural wonders, Zuri Zanzibar offers 300 metres of private, pristine beach, unspoilt coral reefs, tropical plants, a lush spice garden, and gorgeous African sunsets – thanks to the property’s west-facing location on the northern edge of Unguja.
Combining elegant contemporary design from the team at Jestico+Whiles, with a considerate, sustainable build and an authentic African atmosphere, this breathtaking venue includes 55 bungalows, suites and villas set in landscaped gardens, together with three restaurants and four bars: – the Upendo Restaurant, Maischa Resto & Bar, Peponi Bar, Bahari Grill & Bar, and the Dhow Bar (a private bar for villas and suites).
The Bahari Grill & Bar embraces its natural surroundings with modern, yet authentic, features. Guests can enjoy finger food and small bites whilst admiring the Kendwa beach‘s amazing sunset and beautiful starry sky. There is a wide range of original cocktails, aperitifs and special refreshing drinks, including sugar cane cocktails, fruit daiquiris and smoothies.
Offering a magnificent ocean view, the Peponi Bar perfectly reflects the atmosphere of Zuri. Connected with the Upendo Restaurant through a wooden deck and a stair platform, the bar enables guests to sit and relax in a cosy and intimate space. With its comfortable benches and sofas and peaceful and relaxing ambience, the Peponi Bar is a great place for a drink or snack.
There is also a Spice Garden, a 32m infinity pool and a Yoga & Wellness Centre – offering beach yoga classes, massages, salon, gym and wild fitness area.
Accommodation at Zuri Zanzibar includes 46 bungalows, six suites, two two-bedroom villas and one three bedroom villa.
The bungalows are designed to provide the ultimate in cosiness, equipped with a mix of contemporary and curated local furniture and decorated with African artwork. With their outside showers and generous private terraces, the bungalows provide the unique experience of inside/outside living.
The luxuriously appointed villas are set in an exclusive ocean-front location with their own stretch of private beach and jacuzzi, whilst the exclusive suites, with their extended living space and spacious private terrace areas, offer the very best in luxury accommodation.
Sean Clifton of Jestico & Whiles said: “We won the commission for the project in a global architectural study competition and were subsequently appointed to carry out all of the architectural and interior design, as well as to oversee all of the engineering and landscaping.
“We came up with a design which was really site specific, focusing on Zanzibar, with the accommodation based on traditional local villages where a cluster of houses is set around a shared spice garden – and the resort is made up of a series of these, with each cluster having its own spice theme. The idea is to create a ‘barefoot’ experience where guests feel that they are living in a contemporary version of a traditional Zanzibar village.”
He added that the site was challenging in that it is steeply sloping, rising from the beach at one end, and up a hillside with a base of coral rock. All of the coral on the site was used to construct various elements of the site such as retaining walls and pathways.
Sean Clifton concluded: “This was a unique project and was site specific in every way. We employed hundreds of local people in the construction of the resort. We also had a significant impact on the local villages in that we created recycling systems that they did not previously have – and also gave one village a new road down to the beach which provides new access for their fishing boats. In addition, we re-roofed a local school and a small mosque. Engaging with the local community was really important for us – as well as working with an international team.
“I think that Zuri Zanzibar will set a new benchmark for site specific architecture.”
Zanzibar was, for centuries, a centre of world trade, but many of the island’s greatest products are homegrown. Zuri Zanzibar provides its guests with handpicked amenities and services from local, sustainable, and fair-trade organisations in an attempt to give back to the community that nurtures it.
The resort’s aim is to be as self-sufficient as possible and to be certified as ecologically responsible by using water from its own wells and desalination plant, investing in water.