The Spanish Meliá hotel chain took over management of this 40-acre, all-inclusive beach resort in Zanzibar from Kempinski in 2011. Airy, two-story blocks have rooms with huge baths and beach or garden views, and villas come with their own pools. Sheltered by a fringing reef on the northeastern coast of Unguja, Zanzibar’s main island, the resort’s calm white-sand beach has a long, shallow drop-off that makes swimming (as opposed to wading) impossible at low tide. However, the long jetty immediately in front of the hotel means swimming and snorkeling are always possible near the rooms: Golf carts departing every 20 minutes transport guests to the best all-day swimming area a kilometer from the hotel outbuildings. Here, the Gabi Beach Club offers Balinese-style loungers and a restaurant grill. Souvenir hawkers sometimes walk along the public-access tide line, but discreet security staff prevent unwanted solicitation.

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Blissful Relaxation

We stayed at this hotel after a week long journey of hiking Mt Kilimanjaro. It was the best thing we gifted ourselves. From the exceptional personalised service, to the lovely Gabi beach where they prepared a special menu for us which included freshly grilled Zanzibari lobsters and masala chips. We rented a villa with a private pool and lounged around all day. The staff are beyond friendly and the general manager himself also socialises with guests during dinners. I would totally go back.

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