Located in Dongwe, on Zanzibar, Xanadu Villas and Retreat’s name gives a clear hint as to what it aims to be: a luxurious, secluded escape from the modern world. With its own beach paradise, excellent facilities and a layout that combines openness and privacy, it fulfils the brief admirably.
Xanadu’s grounds are arranged around a large shared swimming pool that’s partly exposed to the sky and partly under cover. Around the edges of it is the dining area, itself surrounded by the lush vegetation of the gardens and palm trees. The whole arrangement is only a few metres from the beach. The décor is a redolent of Zanzibar’s traditional island life, from the textures of the local materials and decorations to the pink coral walls, yet everything has been given a luxury makeover. There is a spa as well as shared lounge, and places to sit either socially or in seclusion throughout the gardens.
Food & service
The restaurant at Xanadu has a very flexible kitchen, and will cater to most tastes. Left to its own devices it produces a high standard of Spice Island cuisine with an emphasis on locally-sourced seafood. The service is excellent.
There are seven villas at Xanadu, four single-bedroom options, three with two bedrooms. The entire facility can be booked for private gatherings, but Xanadu is equally at home catering for a collection of smaller groups. Each villa offers spacious living and sleeping quarters, well furnished with large beds and sofas and armchairs in the lounge areas.
There are en-suite facilities for each bedroom, and each villa enjoys the use of its own private plunge-pool and views of – and private access to – the beach. The ambience in the villas tends towards the open and light, giving island-living a contemporary gloss.
Activities at Xanadu include snorkelling, paddle-boarding and cruises, but the hotel is able to arrange others such as diving and kite-surfing with outside providers.