With a magnificent 35 acres of tropical forest along the north-west coast of Zanzibar, Elewana’s Kilindi ranks as one of the most exclusive luxury getaways on the island. Originally designed by Benny Anderson of ABBA fame, Kilindi’s 15 domed pavilion suites combine elegant Scandinavian minimalism with the dramatic architectural flair of Arabic influences prevalent around the island. This is the sort of idyllic hideaway where you can see as little or as much of others, as you choose. Naturally, we opted for the former.
The whitewashed villas, accented with shades of aquamarine, are built within their own private gardens that overlook the warm Indian Ocean. There are no glass windows in the air-conditioned bedroom; slatted shutters provide shade and allow the fresh air to circulate when shut, or can be opened to enjoy the upstairs plunge pool and views of the ocean, fishermen at work, and the sunset. If the idea of an island paradise to read a stack of novels in the sunshine, or even write one, appeals, you’ll be right at home.
Kilindi’s open-plan bathrooms are situated outdoors, and it takes some getting used to. However, secluded in blissful privacy, we soon settled into the rhythm of outdoor showers listening to the waves and villagers singing. Walk on the powder-white beach or book guided reef explorations, scuba diving, snorkelling and deep-sea fishing from this point. The in-house spa uses Africology products and offers a range of treatments in the lush gardens. I’d advise using mosquito repellent before stripping down for a massage.
The privacy enjoyed at Kilindi is in stark contrast to the crowded nearby five-star resorts of the all-inclusive variety. Meals are also included, but you needn’t visit a communal area to dine. The beach could be your dining room. Every meal, from a menu that changes each day, can be ordered from a personal butler (consistently excellent and gracious) and set up on your villa’s sun terrace that commands an even greater view across the ocean, in the garden or bedroom. Be warned: bushbabies make an appearance, and if you feed them, they will hang around screeching into the night.
Sundowners at the main pool allow for arguably the best sunset views on the island.
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