- Paje Beach
- Stone Town
We always longed to visit Zanzibar in the past, but like many others, thought it was a holiday destination out of our travel budget, so for a long time we ruled it out. We envisaged top prices for luxury hotels and a huge price tag for it’s tropical beaches, that was…until we discovered Demani Lodge. Set on the east coast of the island, nestled in between Paje and Jambiani beach, this place is a gem! Granted, East African accommodation compared to places like South East Asia is significantly more in price, however, Demani Lodge falls into East Africa’s budget category and comes up top trumps for value for money accompanied by customer satisfaction. Check out it’s online reviews!
Even before arriving it was clear this place prides itself on outstanding customer service as we received such good support and excellent communication from manager Linn, who answered the million and one questions we asked, sharing her expertise on Zanzibar. Without a doubt she is one of the most patient people we have ever encountered and she made our experience from inquiry to departure an absolute dream.
Demani Lodge is a short 3 minute walk to the beautiful Paje beach and is in a tranquil spot which grounds offer loads of space to wind down and relax, with lush gardens, an immaculately clean swimming pool, bar area, restaurant and soft sand running throughout the complex. Issa, Linn’s husband and co-owner of a Demani Lodge has really done a truly amazing job at building such a character filled establishment, incorporating lovely attention to detail with cozy mood lighting throughout and a music playlist that evokes the holiday spirit. They offer many different room options, some with shared bathrooms, some with private en-suite and although we went for the later option, which was great, we did both agree that the shared bathroom facilities were so well kept and spotlessly clean, we would have been happy to stay in private room with a shared bathroom.
For us, the highlight of Demani Lodge was it’s food, serving the most delicious dishes we had throughout our East African trip, in fact we’d go as far to say one of the best places we’ve stayed in for food accompanying accommodation. At times, the wait for food could be a little lengthy, but the wait was always worth it for the mouth watering concoctions that emerged from the kitchen. Vegetarian options were abundant and not your bog standard dishes, but tasty stews, wraps and incredible Zanzibar coconut curries, which Carmen loved as well as mummy!
Please note that Demani Lodge throws a weekly BBQ party on a Thursday evening, which we did miss due to our travel dates falling around it, however this night may either be too noisy if you have young children, or a fantastic night to remember if a party with live music acts, cocktails and BBQ food is up your street.
When we venture back to Zanzibar in the future we will be booking a room here again, and can only recommend you do too. We loved our time here, and had a truly memorable stay!
Despite arriving at Ikala Lodges 2 days later than the dates we had actually reserved with them, due to a mistake made on our behalf, they were understanding and more than happy to accommodate us. The staff were extremely welcoming and helpful, getting a room turned around for us in record time, and the manager even provided us with a portable modem, allowing us to access their Wifi wherever we were in Stone Town!
This place is in the middle of Stone Town, in an ideal location to explore the area on foot and in walking distance to many lovely restaurants and also the port, for trips across to Prison Island. Ikala Lodge has a large amount of rooms covered over 3 floors, with it’s building layout the same as an Arabic Riad, boasting a stylish cool entrance area set in the middle, with the rooms looking in towards this center space. They have a wonderfully quiet roof top dining area, which boasts views across Stone Town, where we thoroughly enjoyed having breakfast each morning.
Due to our late check in, we were initially put in a large quadruple room at the front of the hotel for our first night. Although it was spotlessly clean and even had a huge balcony overlooking the bustling street below, it was rather noisy with the traffic flowing past, especially first thing in the morning. After asking if they had a quieter room for us to stay in for our second night, one thankfully became available and they happily moved us to a double room at the side of the building and it was perfect! Granted the call to prayer does bellow out of a nearby mosque at 5am, however it only lasts for around 5 minutes, so sleep disturbance is kept to a minimum, and thankfully there was no traffic noise.
If you are a light sleeper like us, bear in mind the layout of the building when requesting to book a room and inquire if it is possible to have a room away from the front of the building/main road and we promise you will sleep like a baby. Along with having a safe, comfortable place to lay our heads, Ikala Lodge also offered us many excursions around Zanzibar, which could be booked through them at competitive rates. We opted to do the Prison Island tour, and it was a very enjoyable day out.
Ikala Lodge will definitely be our base when we return to Zanzibar, many thanks to the staff for making our stay possible and accommodating us last minute.