By yours truly, Solomon Oleny
My honeymoon recommendation for this month goes to this inviting gem of Stone Town...Serena Zanzibar. It is within easy reach from the airport, main gateway to the island, overlooking the majestic Indian Ocean. The Serena is beautifully laid out upon a white sand beach. I would have loved to describe it as a hotel, but something about it is more like a spacious beachfront mansion with a rich history.
One of the things about the Serena that stole my heart was the 18th century architectural design and decor. It is a mix of Indian, Arabic and African themes, crafted with attention to detail and a touch of luxury. I still have the picture of the external look as my screen saver.
The staff was attentive and gracious. It is hard to forget how they went out of their way in the wee hours of the night to help a guest whose sickness had got out of hand. An onsite doctor was later brought in to monitor his health until he stabilised.
Fine feasts and cosy rooms
The sea food was a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. I cannot say enough about the rooms. Each has unobstructed views of the calm Indian ocean and the relaxing breeze can be enjoyed from the balconies. The decoration is in soft, muted colours, very restful, very warm. The design of the furniture seems perfect for the space dedicated to it.
Dining at the hotel is a memorable experience in the spotless restaurant. It is sheltered by a roof top that is perfect for sunbathing, thanks to its isolation and collection of beautiful flowers and plants that frame the area.
The swimming pool is worth a long visit. The presence of a full-time lifeguard makes it safe for children and guests who are still learning to swim.
Things to do in while here
Serena is perched on the edge of Stone Town, which is a vast "museum" of well-preserved Arabic-style buildings, most of which date back to 18th century. Initially I had planned to spend all my 24 hours of stay at the hotel so as to take in all the beauty of the ocean. However, I realized that there is a lot to do in the town, so I could not help but change my mind. Luckily, Serena Zanziba’s Senior Manager, Paul Chaulo, was happy to organize for I and my three friends a brief city tour with one of the hotel’s partner safari companies.Of the places we visited, the most captivating were the spice garden and ancient market. If you desire to shop local souvenirs with an Arabic touch, a visit to this place will be a treat.
How to get to Zanzibar
Coastal Aviation, a domestic airline in Tanzania offers over seven daily flights to Zanzibar. A return ticket costs between $60 and $100, depending on the tourism season. The cost for children is slightly lower.
Flights are closed 15 minutes before departure time , so do not be late, otherwise you will be deemed to be a no show.