48 Hours at Xanadu Villas, Zanzibar


After a few days in the bush, aka North Serengeti, Lukas and I did what every Safari tourist does after a few days watching animals: spending the last days of the vacation on the beach. Just like everyone heading to Serengeti, we ended up in Zanzibar as well rather than Mozambique or Madagascar. I mean the flights are cheaper and the connections better, so why not. Zanzibar is actually very different from the rest of Tanzania in terms of architecture and even culture. Once we flew in from Europe, we had a one night transit in Zanzibar already where we visited Stone Town and made some friends. On that day we even arranged a transfer for when we come back from the safari so that they pick us up and drop us off on the western side of the island. A roughly one hour drive later (never did I think that the island is that big) our driver struggled to find any signage indicating Xanadu. Lukas opened his MapsMe application, and after a while of trying hard to convince the driver to listen to us, we finally ended up at a small driveway of what seemed to be a small and lovely hotel. Not speaking of an entree showing off the five-star level and the 1k room rates.


Only once the friendly front desk manager and Pieter the general manager greeted us by our last names, we knew for sure: we are at the right address. Both of us stood there in total excitement, wanting to see more of the property. Surprisingly there was no front desk nor concierge table. Only a lovely boutique that made up the lobby which we shortly passed on our way to the villa. We were allocated one of the few Oceanfront two-storey villas which are just impossible to describe. There was no real check-in, they just introduced us to our butler Wilson, who was only allocated to our villa and here for all food services and any wishes. Xanadu comes with an all-inclusive package - just like the safari lodges - hence the high price tag of up to 1.000 Dollars for one night. What might sound like a lot for Zanzibar is actually quite alright, considering the smallest villa is very spacious, and every booking comes with its own butler. They asked us if we already had lunch and since we answered with no (we came from the Serengeti and had quite a layover in Arusha with not much of lunch options). So then Wilson arrived with a selection of snacks, and we were served a super delicious sandwich. The first bottle of Sauvignon Blanc was opened, and the fun began. Every guest can choose where they shall serve your dinner or lunch. You have the choice between dinner in the dining room of your villa, in the main restaurant on the pool or on the beach (unfortunately it was a bit windy during our stay).


Back to our villa, which had a spacious open-air living room with a few sofas, a dining table and a small kitchen as well as a terrace with two lounge chairs and a plunge pool on the ground floor. The first floor came with windows and proper doors. The bedroom on the second floor was vast with another sofa, a small wardrobe and a posh double bed (the best we had in Tanzania!). Surprisingly, the minibar not only had soft drinks but wine bottles, next to the bedroom, there was a small balcony overlooking the sea as well as the bathroom on the other side. I absolutely loved the spacious walk-in shower with fantastic pressure, mosaic daybed in the centre, toilet, and double vanities along with fluffy towels and good smelling toiletries in a dispenser. Even though it did not seem evident to me, Xanadu has very ecological thinking behind the concept. I found it quite smart not to advertise it too much but still caring about the environment. Housekeeping did an absolutely fabulous job. Our villa was always in the best condition, and we did not realize them being here, even though we never left the room. I mean it was one of the three coolest hotel rooms we have ever had so obviously we had to enjoy it.


A small path leads from our pool to the beach where we had two lounge chairs with an umbrella and a hammock. We enjoyed a few hours in the sun on the second day, and even there Wilson came and brought us fresh coconuts with snacks. Honestly, I have never seen such an excellent butler service throughout the years as a luxury traveller. Usually, butler service is a quite overrated amenity with no real benefit. At Xanadu, a butler serves as a waiter, concierge, entertainer, front desk agent and local plus a friend. For the second night, we decided to dine in the main restaurant at the pool. So it was Wilson again who prepared our table and brought over the food and drinks. I don’t remember the last time we had such a tasty seafood platter with only the finest. This dish included half a lobster, tuna fillet, octopus and a few more things. At this point, I have to highlight the outrageous food and presentation of dishes! Congratulations to the chef, who does a fantastic job. No matter if breakfast, where we had the most delicious Eggs Benedict, for lunch where they have homemade bread or for dinner when they serve such a great selection of beef and seafood.


Both Lukas and I were so impressed and absolutely loved the concept of this small but ultra-luxurious resort. Also, the idea that it is so hidden and no indication shows the name of the hotel is another advantage to stay here for celebrities. Due to the immersive privacy there, you can dress however you want, but we recommend something less sophisticated - bring your Etro, Emilio Pucci or Missoni dresses to blend in the fashionable crowd. Other than for the public areas, nobody will judge you if you feel comfortable in the Adam and Eve dress in your villa. Back to business: Xanadu definitely made it onto the list of the 25 best hotels I have ever stayed at and deserves an honest 10 out of 10 rating. The only thing that I kind of regret was that we didn’t stay longer. I can highly recommend this outstanding resort and you won’t regret spending the money!


Disclaimer: During our stay in Zanzibar, we were guests of the Xanadu Villas for editorial purposes. Opinions are our own as usual and have not been influenced. Luxury Executive is a blog published by tourism experts and all reviews purely focus on the hotel and destination.