Stop dreaming about your bucket list and start living it. —Annette White
Planning for an “after quarantine hotel bucket list” is a great idea during this time to prepare us for when life goes back to normalcy. Above all, the mindset should be “not to cancel, but postpone”. Therefore, take heart in knowing you have time to plan and save for your dream destination.
We all look for a comfortable stay when we go for vacation; a place to create new memories with loved ones. The hotels that I am about to mention will not only give you comfort, but a luxurious experience for your well deserved retreat.
The first time I stayed at Melia Zanzibar hotel was in 2015. It is a 5-star all-inclusive beach resort situated in the northeast coast of the island. I stayed in a beautiful garden room, which is unparalleled to hotels in the area. I loved my experience so much that I kept going there in the following years.
Last year, I had the privilege of staying in an ocean front villa. All rooms in the villa were facing the ocean and I could see the sunrise straight from my bedroom window. Most of you know how much I love sunrises and sunsets, so, such a sight was the highlight of my stay.
Melia Zanzibar has many room categories; from garden rooms, rooms with a terrace, romance pavilions, suites and multiple bedroom villas.
The villa experience at Melia is truly amazing, which is why it is my top recommendation for your after quarantine hotel bucket list. There is an infinity pool which is overlooking the ocean and a butler to cater to every need. The villas are equipped with a kitchen, living room and a dining area. Perfect for couples, families or a group of friends who want to seclude themselves from the rest of the guest in the hotel.
The hotel property is quite big, so moving around requires an assistance of golf carts which are easily accessible in just a call away.
Villa – Private pool area
I frequently vacation in Zanzibar every year, it is just a perfect excuse for a weekend getaway. Upendo hotel in Zanzibar has always been on my bucket list. Especially, when I found out Chrissy Teigen stayed at this hotel while doing a Sports Illustrated photo shoot.
It is a 5-star boutique hotel, about an hour from Stone Town, located in Michamvi area, overlooking the famous Rock restaurant. Upendo, which means love in Swahili, is a chic hotel that has managed to balance luxury with private comfort. The decor is colourful yet tastefully coordinated to embrace the vibrant Zanzibar culture. You almost feel like you are in your own private oasis of peace in the midst of the busy fishing town.
The hotel does give a live meaning to “pole pole ndio mwendo”, a swahili phrase frequently used to describe a laid-back vibe. They have amazing brunch sessions on Sundays with a live band by the beach. If you are looking for relaxation with a bit of fun, then Upendo is the place for you
Common Pool Area
Bar and restaurant area
The hotel offers villas and suites which are beautifully furnished in rustic Swahili decor but with a modern twist.
The villas are spacious and come in different sizes. The 1 bedroom villas are perfect for couples who yearn for a romantic retreat or anyone wanting a solo trip. This villa has a rooftop pool with an added bonus of the view of the ocean, perfect for those sunbathing moments.
The 5 bedroom villa is a spacious double story villa, with a well equipped kitchen, lounge area, and a gorgeous private pool and deck with covered bandas. This villa is ideal for families, friends, and I would also recommend for small private events such as bachelor/bachelorette parties.
The garden suites embraces a private cozy vibe, which are still within walking distance to the beach.
Garden and beach area
In the small village of Paje, only 45 mins from the Zanzibar airport, lies a villa style hotel called Kisiwa on the beach. It is a piece of heaven on the island of Zanzibar, which I recommend for your after quarantine hotel bucket list.
I stayed at Kisiwa on the beach during my Easter vacation in 2019 for 2 nights. Moreover, this hotel has another property in Stone Town, called Kisiwa House. Another beautifully designed hotel in the heart of Stone Town. I always feel warmly welcomed at Kisiwa House, so I couldn’t resist trying out their beach hotel in Paje.
Outside the villa
Kisiwa means “island” in Swahili. As the idea of an island being isolation and privacy, you can trust to have this experience at the hotel. It is a perfect hotel for you and your loved ones to enjoy bonding time.
The villas are spread across the tropical garden with beach sand, allowing guests to walk barefoot – a true island experience. All villas are spacious with a private balcony, equipped with standard hotel amenities.
My personal favourite is the beach front villa. It is a few steps from the ocean, that the sound of the waves can be heard straight from the bedroom. If that is not the best lullaby sound in the world, I don’t know what is.
In The Wild
I fantasized visiting the Ngorongoro crater for a long time, when I finally had the chance to do so last October, I did it at the conform of Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.
This lodge is situated in the Ngorongoro conservation area, perched at the edge of the Ngorongoro crater, offering stunning panoramic views. It is a four hour drive from Arusha town or if you decide to land at the Lake Manyara airstrip, it is a 90 mins drive to the lodge.
Lake Manyara Serena Lodge is by far my favourite hotel in Manyara Region. This hotel faces the majestic Lake Manyara national park; home to thousands of flamigos that feed along the edge of the lake, a sight which can be seen from the pool area of the hotel. The hotel can organise a game drive to explore the many other animals in the national park.
I wrote an extensive piece on these hotels on this link, you can go ahead and read at leisure. However, I wanted to highlight them again here as they have made to the after quarantine hotel bucket list.
2020 is off to a rocky start and it is uncertain how the rest of the months will unfold. One thing for sure is that Ngorongoro crater and Lake Manyara will long be there after the pandemic subsides. Therefore, adjust your travel dates to experience these unforgettable places in the comfort of pure luxury.
Lake Manyara Serena Lodge has two category rooms; garden rooms and balcony rooms. However, I prefer the balcony rooms and I had made sure to make my request known before arriving at the lodge. Depending on which side of the property your room will be, the view of the lake is visibly seen from the balcony.
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge offers unparalleled views of the crater from all angles of the property. My favourite place to view the crater is from the bedroom balcony, just a few steps away from the bed. Every night I slept with the balcony door opened, so I could wake up to the beautiful sight of the crater in the morning.
Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge – Standard Bedroom
Good To Know
- Best time to book for a safari adventure is during the dry season; June-October.
- Best time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season; June-October.
- To maximize on the Zanzibar experience, book your stay around the island’s festivity calendar – ZANZIBAR INTERNATIONAL FILMS FESTIVALS – ZIFF ; JAHAZI LITERARY & JAZZ FESTIVAL ; SAUTI ZA BUSARA