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By Jacky

The one-week trip to Zanzibar with Qatar Airways has left us with a suitcase full of memorable experiences. We had a 5-star stay at The Residence Zanzibar that lies alongside the stunning coastline of the Indian Ocean, on the palm-fringed island off the coast of Tanzania. It’s a luxury hideaway from the world!

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Many thanks to The Residence Zanzibar for showing us Zanzibar’s natural beauty, cultural diversity and serving up culinary delights to surprise our palate. The resort is within an hour’s drive to Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Jozani Natural Forest Reserve where the native Red Colobus monkeys reside; and spice plantation. From snorkelling and kayaking to sunset dhow cruises and dolphin safaris, there is something to suit every traveller.

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The picture perfect sunset view from the jetty.

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It was a wonderful experience staying at The Residence Zanzibar, which is part of Cenizaro Hotels & Resorts. The hotel staff were very warm and friendly, always attentive and prompt to serve. There are 66 luxury villas tastefully appointed with modern amenities, each comprises of a living room that opens out onto a private sun terrace with loungers, a bedroom with four-poster bed, a bathroom that has a freestanding bathtub, separate shower cabin and an outdoor shower. Each villa has its own swimming pool that is facing the garden or the beach with lapping waves and turquoise blue waters, and a mesmerizing sunset view to boot!

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The living room of the villa.

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A very spacious bathroom with a standalone bathtub.

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You can have the swimming pool all by yourself.

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The postcard-esque sunset view from the villa poolside.

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How about a relaxing spa treatment to rejuvenate and recharge? At The Residence Zanzibar, the garden spa consists of six treatment pavilions featuring private gardens, outdoor showers and areas to chill. The spa specially uses products and treatments that incorporates organic natural plant and mineral ingredients to bring healing benefits to the body.

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Being on ‘Full board’ means breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided to resort guests. The restaurants at The Residence Zanzibar are helmed by internationally trained Chefs who create customized dishes for discerning diners. Sumptuous breakfast is served at The Dining Room, the main restaurant which also offers daily “Market menu” and European delights with local spice and flavours for lunch and dinner. The Pavilion serves Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. The menus are rotated every two weeks to provide a wide selection of fine dishes to please long-staying guests.

Private dining can be exquisitely crafted for special occasions. Every dinner was a pleasant surprise at the exotic island resort. From the African fire dance on the first night to the movie night on the beach, we literally dined under the stars while enjoying entertaining performances in this part of the world.

Dinner on the first night at The Residence Zanzibar: Welcome “Asia to Africa” Dinner with torches and firepots dance and local story teller.

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Lightly-seared tuna flavoured with togarashi and served with a wasabi dressing; Beef takaki served with pickled radish and sesame.

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Movie night and dinner on the beach prepared by The Residence Zanzibar. We watched “Gorillas in the Mist” on African soil.

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The Trio Band playing beautiful African and international music at dinner. Guests can dedicate songs  as well.

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BBQ lunch on a secluded sandbank prepared by The Residence Zanzibar, a unique experience to indulge in fresh seafood surrounded by nothing but calm waters.

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Grilling crustaceans and vegetables, and baked potatoes.

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Seafood galore on the secluded sandbank. So fresh and succulent.

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Itinerary arranged by The Residence Zanzibar

For water activities at The Residence, The Jetty offers complimentary non-motorised water sports such as kayaks, pedal boats and snorkeling excursions. Other activities at a fee include sunset dhow cruises, deep-sea fishing, dolphin safaris and scuba diving. If you want to visit the Stone Town, the Jozani National Forest Reserve, spice plantations, Prison island, ruins and palaces, it can all be conveniently arranged at The Residence.

The endangered Zanzibar Red Colobus, one of the rarest monkeys in Africa, is native to Zanzibar and can be found in Jozani National Forest Reserve.

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The local spice farm where we learn about Zanzibar spices and bring home some spices such as curry powder, cinnamon, sesame, coriander seeds and vanilla pods.

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Within walking distance from The Residence with our guide, we came to the Kizimkazi village to mingle with the friendly locals. You may want to bring along little gifts for the lovely kids at the village.

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That special photo moment with the little ones on Zanzibar island.

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The Dolphin Excursion and snorkelling trip amid the thriving marine life and coral reefs of the Indian Ocean

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Every meal comes with a surprise on the island. We had sumptuous seafood lunch at The Rock in the middle of crystal clear waters.

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Stone Town is a must-visit in the cultural heart of Zanzibar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of the houses here were from the 19th century during the time when Zanzibar was an important trading centre in East Africa. It is an old city with mosques, churches, Arab houses and historic buildings.  Take your time to stroll down the winding alleys and the busy markets to soak up the atmosphere of the local community.

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Decorated brass-studded wooden doors are some of the interesting architectural features in Stone Town. The wooden door with rectangular top is of Omani Arab style and the one with rounded top is Indian style.

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A bustling fish market in Stone Town.

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Artist at work.

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The Old Fort of Zanzibar

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St Joseph’s Cathedral, Zanzibar

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A roof top view of Stone Town and the sea.

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Off we sailed on the sunset dhow cruise after a photography trip around Stone Town, a perfect way to end the day excursion.

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We had a wonderful time in Zanzibar, my first trip to Africa and very glad to stay at The Residence Zanzibar, a home away from home on the exotic island. The Residence not only tended to our accommodation needs and served us mouth-watering meals, they arranged the itinerary and toured us around to enjoy the sights, sound and flavours of Zanzibar. Definitely an unforgettable trip.

Find out more on The Residence Zanzibar

**Many thanks to Qatar Airways and The Residence Zanzibar for inviting TravelerFolio to Zanzibar, Tanzania. Read all posts on Zanzibar.