Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Zanzibar
While Zanzibar's beaches are it's main attraction, old-world Stone Town, with it's teaming spice market and beautiful colonial architecture is worth a few days of your time. The Park Hyatt Zanzibar, located in the heart of the historic town, is both breathtakingly beautiful and convenient, in additon we found a decent points & cash rate for our five night stay. Hyatt is a transfer partner for Chase Ultimate Reward points.
Check In: We had arranged for the hotel to pick us up from the airport. They were waiting with a sign as we exited the airport, and the two guys who picked us up were friendly and knowledgeable and even gave us a brief history of Zanzibar, which proved invaluable as we orientated ourselves the next few days. It was a short 20 minute drive, before we pulled into the sweeping driveway, the white washed structure fit seamlessly into Stone Town's historic architecture. As you walk into the hotel, key hole doorways open up to a wide, sun-filled lobby and beyond, a wrap around verandah overlooking a white sand beach. Broad vistas of turquoise ocean and slow majestic ships serve as a backdrop to the equally impressive interiors of the hotel. It was literally breathtaking, and as we walked through the lobby over the next few days, saw guests exhibit similar gasps at their first view. Check-in formalities were quick, and we were given a Park Deluxe Ocean View room in the newer "Zamani Residence" building. Breakfast was included in our rate and would be served between 6:30 AM and 11:00 AM. Aside from the architecture, the lobby was tastefully decorated in the local style, with artwork, furniture and small model dhow-ships all dotted throughout.
The Room: Our room was beautifully furnished in a style true to Zanzibar - light wood tones, Persian lamps, a tropical ceiling fan along with curated photos from around the island. The room was spacious and had a large balcony overlooking the beach and port of Stone Town--that same breathtaking view from the lobby, but now on our private balcony. It was easy to have a whole day melt by sitting up there, from local kids playing soccer in the sand to a fisherman reeling in his catch. The bathroom was luxuriously appointed with a bathtub that opened up to the room, along with a rainfall shower and Inaya Zanzibar toiletries that were locally made and smelt like coconut and lime (and actually left your hair shiny and soft). As a cherry on top, the bathroom also had a personal TV which one could view sitting in the extra deep bath-tub. Another nice touch was three small jars with complimentary snacks (cookies, dates and cashews), along with a fruit plate that was replaced upon request.
The Property: The property is broken up into two main buildings - the Zamani Residence and Mambo Msilge. The design aesthetic and attention to detail of the hotel was impressive. We loved walking around the public spaces (there is a beautiful library looking out over the ocean, a dining room, a lounge space and plenty of poolside seating) and finding unique pieces like an antique brass water container, or the model ships throughout the hotel. The gym was quite small - it had a few treadmills and bikes along with a bench and some free weights - this was an area that could potentially be improved.
There is an infinity pool that looks out on the ocean elevated from the beach which was always the perfect place to cool down in the Zanzibari heat. As you walked past the pool there were plenty of tables and loungers to grab a sun downer along with the hotel bar called the "Living Room" which was buzzing on the weekends. Close to the bar was the "Dining Room" which is where breakfast was served everyday. While it wasn't on par with some of the epic breakfast buffets of Asia, it was a good variety of local foods (bananas in coconut milk, beans, cassava) and western dishes (eggs, waffles, bread) with a beautiful view of the Indian Ocean. It was the perfect place to ease into the day in Stone Town, and the staff went out of their way to accommodate us, even squeezing juice fresh to order each morning after we requested it once, which was delicious and extremely kind of them.
The Service: Service throughout the hotel was really solid. It was the first time we had stayed in a Park Hyatt, and we got the impression that they wanted to provide great service without being too invasive or pushy which we appreciated. We had spoken with the concierge who made us reservations at the Tea House restaurant, and didn't realize someone from the hotel had to walk over to the restaurant in order to put down a deposit. We stayed at a different hotel for a night where this service certainly wasn't provided.
Tsunami Says: We spent 10,000 (worth $180 according to The Points Guy) World of Hyatt points along with $125 USD - effectively $305 a night. While this was quite splurge, it was still better value than booking with cash which was coming out to $380 with taxes. We loved our stay here - specifically the aesthetics of the entire property and the ability to walk anywhere in Stone Town. While 3 nights in Stone Town would probably be sufficient for those with time constraints, the 5 nights allowed us to truly experience the hotel amenities, including lazy days by the pool...and did we mention the view?