Living luxe in Zanzibar with The Emerald Collection

A panoramic view of Emerald Zanzibar Resort and Spa. Picture: Supplied

A panoramic view of Emerald Zanzibar Resort and Spa. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 18, 2023


When in Zanzibar, forget your worries. The island’s daily mantra is the phrase “Hakuna Matata”, made famous by the characters Timon and Pumba from Disney’s Lion King.

As soon as you land at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport at Unguja, whatever stress you have, forget it because you’ve entered a different dimension where worry is a thing of the past.

Zanzibar is one of Africa’s most beautiful ocean safaris, and it’s no wonder the island’s beaches have received praise from travellers around the world.

It’s the epitome of island living, which is why the destination is fast becoming a favourite amongst South Africans.

Emerald Zanzibar’s Main Beach. Picture: Supplied

Culture, people and value for money

The Italian-owned Emerald Collection launched Emerald Zanzibar Resort and Spa, aka The Jewel at Munyi Beach, in Matemwe.

The Emerald Zanzibar Resort and Spa is a five-star all-inclusive resort and a member of the World’s Leading Hotels.

I had the opportunity to travel with Africa Stay for a full week at Emerald Zanzibar. Africa Stay is a travel agent that organises stays on the island and provides charter flights from South Africa to Zanzibar.

With FlySafair, the trip from OR Tambo International was 3.5 hours, making the destination easily accessible for South Africans.

As soon as you land on the island, you are greeted with warmth. Well the temperature is warm even in the middle of the night, and everyone from the hotel staff to airport staff are friendly. And the water is amazing.

According to Africa Stay Owner Mariam Sandu, the selling point for Zanzibar as a destination for South Africans is its value for money. “We tried to come up with deals that are unparalleled and unmatched. That’s what we’re basically about,” said Sandu.

Emerald Zanzibar’s elegant and cozy suites with views either on the Resort’s lush tropical gardens or Ocean views, all suites are curated retreats, designed to offer a true escape from reality with a direct focus on environment preservation. Picture: Instagram

Leisure and Luxury

According to Emerald chief commercial officer, Simone Scarapicchia, the family chose to build Emerald Zanzibar as the region has a lot of potential.

“Zanzibar hopes to beat Mauritius one day when it comes to volumes. We believe in the destination. We believe in the growth of the destination, and it's an investment for us that makes sense. We don’t just invest anywhere. The Indian Ocean is our destination,” said Scarapicchia.

The Scarapicchia family has a long history with Zanzibar as they have been doing business in Zanzibar since 1992, and Emerald Zanzibar is their 7th hotel in Zanzibar.

When it comes to building Emerald Zanzibar, they spared no expense and also brought their experience and expertise from Emerald Maldives Spa and Resort and Emerald Faarufushi Spa and Resort.

Scarapicchia said the luxury concept that the Emerald works on is “dine around everywhere with no restrictions”.

Inspired by South American Cuisine, the Carnivorous Restaurant will allow you to immerse yourself into the suggestive, breathtaking ambience while tasting a premium selection of meats . Picture: Instagram

The aim of the Emerald is to give luxury with the freedom of not having a huge bill, and guests pay extra for things such as premium champagne, lobster or beef wagyu and spa treatments.

The hotel offers a variety of cuisines with its four restaurants, Aqua Restaurant, Beach Club Grill Restaurant, Le Asiatique - Teppanyaki Restaurant, and the Carnivorous Restaurant. It also has a gelato shop, beach bar, Eclipse pool bar and garden pool strategically placed all around the property.

According to Scarapicchia, they chose Munyi Beach due to its lack of tides, and it’s proximity to Nemba Island, a premier spot for diving and snorkelling in the region.

The hotel is built on a sloping part of the beach, allowing guests to have stunning views and close access to one of the island's most pristine beaches with turquoise water and water sand.

Experience your personal oasis of comfort and privacy at Emerald Zanzibar. Picture: Instagram

The Emerald has 250 luxury rooms on close to 50 000 square metres, and the rooms are secure with mosquito nets seamlessly blending in with the interior, making you forget what they are for.

The exterior of the hotel pays homage to Tanzania and Zanzibar’s mixed heritage with Arab and Bomani influences blended in a modern design.

“There is a lack of new hotels and a need for change. The region needs to be evolutionised. The potential for the island is huge without changing the beauty of Zanzibar, which is the heritage and the people,” said Scarapicchia.

Dolphin Kid’s Club on the resort specifically built for kids to play. Picture: Instagram

Emerald Zanzibar is also child-friendly with its kids club, Dolphin Kids Club. As a family-owned business, the Scarapicchias wanted to give parents peace of mind.

The chief commercial officer revealed that the kids club is for children to play and be well taken care of, while family rooms are interconnected to allow parents and couples to have privacy whilst enjoying the resort with kids still being safe.

The Emerald provides leisure and luxury for Europeans, East Africans and South Africans, South Americans and North Americans.

“There has always been a big market, and Zanzibar is one of those leisure destinations that is 6, 7, 8 hours away from Europe. South African people love Zanzibar and Zanzibar loves to welcome South African guests,” said Scarapicchia.

He said its good value for money, even if it’s luxury.