Review: The Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Tanzania
With only a few luxury hotels in Stonetown, Zanzibar, the Park Hyatt Zanzibar tops the list in terms of luxury hotel accommodation. In a town with few international hotel chain choices, the Park Hyatt shines in terms of location, room quality and overall hotel amenities. How would the Park Hyatt Zanzibar measure up to other hotels in Zanzibar and in the Park Hyatt chain?
This post is one chapter on our trip to the Republic of Tanzania and the Islands of the Seychelles. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and enhanced through World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: Zanzibar, Tanzania and Islands of the Seychelles via Air Canada and Turkish Airlines Business Class
- Air Canada Signature Business Class: Vancouver – Toronto
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Toronto International Terminal
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Toronto – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Istanbul – Dar Es Salaam
- The Hyatt Regency – The Kilimanjaro, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
- Precision Air: Dar Es Salaam – Zanzibar
- The Residence Zanzibar by Cenizaro, Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Crossing the Island of Zanzibar, Tanzania
- The Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Tanzania
- The Decorative Doors of Stonetown, Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Among the Horrors at the Slave Trade Market, Stonetown, Zanzibar
- Emerson Spice Tea House Restaurant, Stonetown, Zanzibar
- Cruising into Sunset on a Dhow Cruise, Zanzibar
- Precision Air: Zanzibar – Dar Es Salaam
- Kenya Airways: Dar Es Salaam – Nairobi
- Kenya Airways: Nairobi – Mahé, Seychelles
- Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove, Mahé, Seychelles
- The Beaches of Beau Vallon, Mahé, Seychelles
- Cat Cocos Ferry: Mahé – Praslin
- The Chateau des Feuilles, Praslin, Seychelles
- Tortoises at Anse Lazio and Vallée de Mai, Praslin Island, Seychelles
- The Beaches of Praslin Island, Seychelles
- Air Seychelles: Praslin – Mahé
- Salon Vallée de Mai Business Lounge, Mahé, Seychelles
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Mahé – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Arrivals Lounge, Istanbul Atatürk
- Turkish Airlines E Tour, Istanbul, Turkey
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Istanbul – Toronto
- Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport, Canada
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Toronto Domestic
- Air Canada Signature Business Class: Toronto – Vancouver
Review: The Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Park Hyatt Zanzibar is the place to stay while in Stonetown, Zanzibar so we were eager to see how this place fared in terms of a luxury resort property in East Africa.
Booking the Park Hyatt Zanzibar:
Like our experience at the Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam, the cash rates at the Park Hyatt Zanzibar were quite expensive and over $400 USD per night. We ended up using a little trick were we paid for a top up of World of Hyatt Points and redeeming Cash and Points rate.
This brought our Cash and Points rate to points + $75 USD. It was much cheaper to use the points versus paying a high US dollar rate for our stay here.
Getting to the Park Hyatt Zanzibar:
We had a relaxing stay at The Residence Zanzibar by Cenizaro before travelling up to the Park Hyatt Zanzibar. It was about an hour and forty minutes overland travel before we arrived to the Park Hyatt in Stonetown, Zanzibar.
The hotel is well located in an off central location in Stonetown, Zanzibar. The hotel is within walking distance from almost every attraction in town.
We were welcomed in at the door of the hotel and our bags were loaded up the short flight of stairs to the main lobby.
We checked in. The reservation was under MrsWT73’s name since she is trying to make World of Hyatt Discoverist this year in addition to Marriott / Starwood Platinum. The reservation was honored with breakfast included, despite being on Cash and Points. This was again an unadvertised benefit. As with our experience at Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam, we enjoyed a complimentary buffet breakfast for all 3 days with no questions asked.
The lobby itself is a tall space with Omani Arab styled architecture.
Off the lobby and adjacent to the outdoor veranda, the hotel had a small “library” and resting places. The lobby rooms were tastefully decorated in a manner that fit the hotel.
With the hotel being a top end Park Hyatt, we had strong expectations on room quality. We were led to room #3322 which was a base level Park Room.
The Room: One King – City Garden View Room
The Park Room was as nicely appointed in lighter colours. Despite these whites and beiges that don’t normally wear well., the room was in terrific condition. In fact, it was one of the nicer appointed hotel rooms we’ve ever had in Africa. The room was spacious, although nowhere near as large as our villa at The Residence Zanzibar or our past Park Hyatt rooms at the Park Hyatt Maldives.
The room offered a single easy chair for relaxing with an item of furniture that didn’t take up the whole room space. The room also featured an occasional table.
The bathroom was also spacious and well appointed. It offered a peek a boo into the living room.
The toiletries were branded as Naya Zanzibar which were a locally produced and branded product. I appreciated having some local branded toiletries, but unfortunately, I didn’t find the products to be all that effective at actual cleaning. The soaps didn’t suds that well, and my hair didn’t feel all that clean after using them. I ended up switching back to Unilever branded shampoos that I brought with me. This is not a criticism but rather a funny observation that corporate shampoo products are sometimes more effective than local grass roots products.
Our room was on the east side of the hotel. The Park Rooms seem to face the side or the street side of the hotel (two rooms according to this map). If you’re booking a Park Room, see if you can get an east facing room like ours. The worst would be the five rooms that face the street on the bottom of the photograph.
Since most reward bookings only offer the base level rooms, we were surprised to see a partial upgrade to a peek a boo water view. Yes – this will work!! A base level room with a view…
Around the Property:
The Wrap Around Hotel Deck
After we had settled into the room, we ended up taking a self orientation walk around the hotel. The hotel features a gorgeous wrap around deck on the water side that is among one of the best features of the property.
There were a variety of seating areas with food and beverage service. In the daytime, it was exceptionally hot with a lack of shade. Temperatures during our visit were in the low thirties Celcius or nineties Fahrenheit. However, at night time it was a pleasant place to laze away.
The Outdoor Pool:
The hotel also featured a small but perfectly adequate infinity pool with ocean views. Unfortunately, the area is not really large enough for a “beach resort” styled holiday. It’s a perfect distraction for spending a few hours sunning between sightseeing.
The Hotel Beach:
The veranda also features strong views of the water and hotel beach. The hotel beach isn’t anything all to special; I saw a local urinating into the water at one point during our stay from the hotel veranda. It was a prettier beach than that of the Residence Zanzibar but not worth a trip to Zanzibar all on its’ own if you were planning on treating the hotel like a resort.
The Hotel Courtyard:
There was also a nice courtyard that separates the hotel from the neighbouring Hotel Tembo next door. The courtyard was almost exclusively empty the entire time we were there. It still made for some interesting photographs nevertheless.
Food and Beverage:
The Living Room
During our stay, we visited the Park Hyatt Zanzibar hotel lounge called “The Living Room” for some slow service but memorable cocktails on the lovely verandah.
There were some interesting local drinks, including a Tangawizi; a ginger infused gin, bols cacao, sweet and sour Tangawizi (a local ginger ale styled drink).
There was also an excellent flavour chart for cocktails – a bit technical but I totally loved and used it.
We were able to watch the sunset go down at about 6:20 PM along with spectacular views across the harbour. Several African Dhows’ sailed past on their sunset cruises to and from the harbour making for some interesting cocktail viewing.
Our Cocktail hour was interrupted by the call to prayer from the mosque immediately across the street from the hotel. The setting was something akin to any stay in urban Africa with a very unique travel experience being in such a different environment.
The Dining Room:
The morning breakfasts were offered in the all day dining restaurant “The Dining Room”. Our breakfasts were complimentary, despite being on a World of Hyatt / Hyatt Gold Passport award redemption.
It had a beautiful setting outdoors in the shade.
There were lots of interesting items on offer. The food items appeared fresh and very edible for Africa. I would have even tasted the green salad if I was feeling adventurous; something I would usually totally avoid being cautious due to food safety!
I enjoyed their version of Zanzibarian Poached Eggs on Toast; avocado, poached eggs and coconut lime sauce paired with a hibiscus juice. It’s fair to say that I can’t make that at home easily since my supply of coconuts and hibiscus are severely lacking. =)
The food at the dining room was tasty and enjoyable. As a result of the low occupancy of the hotel, it wasn’t too busy in terms of volume which made for a relaxing affair.
The Bottom Line: The Park Hyatt Zanzibar
All in all, we had a most excellent stay at the Park Hyatt Zanzibar. It was by far the highlight of Tanzania in terms of hotels and easily one of the better properties I had stayed at in the Southern Saharan Belt of Africa. The rooms were well appointed and the location of the hotel just steps from Stonetown was a great feature. While an argument can be made that they’ve taken a historic hotel and ruined it by modernizing it to a luxury resort, it’s still a wonderful place to be.