10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Can't wait to go back
"I really enjoyed my stay at Imani in December. Simon and the staff were extremely helpful and friendly, the rooms clean and the food excellent - I particularly enjoyed the fresh fruit platter at breakfast, the barracuda and the coconut sauce.
This was my first time in Africa and I admit I was fascinated by everything but I have dozens of photos taken from the Imani Beach - there was always something different even if it was just a change in the light on the water and the sunsets were amazing.
All the trips organised by Simon were excellent. I find it hard to pick a favourite but Babu gave us an extremely interesting and informative spice tour and the dhow trip to Stone Town is a must do .
Simon has lots of ideas for building up a great business and I fully intend to go back to see how he's getting on."
- Travel date: Thu 8th of January 2009
A Peaceful Haven
"We stayed as a family group of eight at Imani for two weeks in December and had the hotel to ourselves. Simon and his staff made our holiday really enjoyable with their excellent service and friendly manner. Nothing was too much trouble and we took advantage of the many tours which Simon recommended, led by Babu,a local guide, who made the trips interesting and great fun. The food and cocktails were delicious and we really enjoyed the Zanzibar buffet of local fish,fruit and vegetables which we shared on several occasions. My favourite was the vegetables in coconut sauce.
Our holiday was wonderful and the two weeks flew by far too quickly. Now we have our photos and fond memories of Imani and I can't wait to return. Well done Simon and Staff. You have some wonderful ideas to make a very successful venture."
- Travel date: Sat 20th of December 2008
A little gem: don't miss it!!
"I spent 2 weeks travelling Zanzibar, from the tripadvisor recommendations I booked 4 nights at Villa Imani and I have to say: a really good choice!!!!
It is situated on the first clean beach north of Stone Town, in Bububu, very near to the Spice plantations. The Villa itself is a lovely old colonial style house, with only 7 rooms â really great value accomodation (see the other reviews). As a bonus there is the characteristic garden and beach which acts like an extension of the villa itself.
The staff were fantastic and always seemed keen to assist us and make us feel at home and Simon, who runs the hotel, has been the most helpful person on our trip. Just perfect!
We were there in low season and had the beach (and actually on 2 nights the whole villaâ¦) for ourselves, however, the Imani is far enough away from the main hotels and it is normally peaceful even in high seasonâ¦the perfect choice if you want to relax after the many excursions you can do and Simon can arrange you.
The positioning of the Villa was perfect also for exploring Stone Town, being a short drive or Dalla-Dalla ride (donât miss it!!) to the city.
Simon arranged all trips for us and in fact we were inspired by his suggestions â¦like the boat trip to Stone Town with the greatest sunset experience we had on the islandâ¦.or all the other excursions to the small islands nearby with pick up and drop off on their own beach !!!
I have to thank all the Imani Beach staff, specially Simon who really helped us to have a really great stay on Zanzibar.
Weâll recommend this little gem to all our friends and people who want to experience the real Zanzibar, far away from the mass & tourists.
Donât miss this incredible spot!"
- Travel date: Sat 13th of December 2008
A Welcome Respite After Stonetown!
"I really enjoyed my couple of days at the Imani Beach Villa- it was all great!
It was a welcome change after a couple of days in Stonetown (which is also fantastic). It was really easy to fall into the relaxed pace that is offered here but being close enough to Stonetown and surrounding attractions, if you wanted to venture out.
Simon, Kristen and the staff were all so welcoming and accommodating. Nothing was a problem. They are also non intrusive and let you chill out and relax, or just do whatever you would like to do.
The food on site, setting and local village were also great. I miss the random passing parade on the beach front - boats, animals, school children, local fisherman and village ladies AND the SUNSETS!
My only regret is that I wasnt there long enough! But I am sure I will be back.
A much enjoyed and treasured experience!
Louise, Sydney Australia"
- Travel date: Thu 4th of December 2008
Wonderfully friendly hosts and gorgeous sunsets
"We stayed at Imani for about 8 days in October this year. Simon is such a generous and friendly host for whom nothing is too much effort, and the other staff members always have a big smile and cheerful Swahili greeting to teach you. Every night the guests would wander out to the beach directly in front of the villa and watch the amazing sunset while sipping on one of Simon's amazing cocktail creations. The food was great and the location very convenient for trips into Stone Town. The beach directly in front is a bit rocky but a five minute walk to the nearby sand bar allows for a lovely swimming spot. We really wish Simon and Kristen all the best for their future on Zanzibar and thank you for a wonderufl stay!"
- Travel date: Fri 21st of November 2008
"We stayed at Imani Beach Villas for 4 nights at the end of Oct '08 and had an absolutely amazing stay. We couldn't have asked for more! All the staff were wonderful and all made us feel extremely welcome right from the start. Our air-conditioned room was clean, comfortable and decorated in traditional Zanzibarian style. The food was gorgeous - breakfast included a platter of mouth-watering, just-picked fresh fruit. We arrived on a Thurs eve to be greeted with a delicious BBQ with a traditional show with music, dancing and a couple of other surprises (you'll have to go to find out what!!). Location was ideal for us - it's about 10K from Stone Town which is an easy taxi or dala dala (Zanzibar bus) ride away. We were able to do all the sight-seeing/tours while staying at Imani including Stone Town, Prison Island, Jozani Forest, dolphin tour and spice tour. Imani Beach Villa is located right next to the beach, so you get the best of both worlds: you are close enough to the hustle-bustle of Stone Town, but if you just want to chill out on the beach you've got it right at your doorstep!"
- Travel date: Mon 3rd of November 2008
Imani Beach Villa
"Imani Beach Villa is a beautiful hotel run by a lovely couple Simon and Kristen. It is just north of Stone town , a 10 minute taxi ride away on the west coast of Zanzibar. We had a wonderful 4 days there, enjoying great hospitality, good food, HUGE four poster beds and the most amazing sunsets.
The hotel's beach is perfect for watching the sun go down with a cocktail while locals bring in their catch, chat or play football. The atmosphere is very relaxing and it makes a great base for anyone wishing to visit Zanzibar.
The hotel is beautifully decorated with antique furniture and fresh flowers on every table. The restaurant has a simple but delicious menu - definitely try the barracuda carpaccio. It has a small well stocked bar with a cocktailmenu that would take a month to drink!
I would recommend Imani to anyone who likes something a bit different, away from the typical sterile hotels, TVs and swimming pools to be instead somewhere unique,relaxing, romantic and near to the locals and their culture. We had an excellent time and if ever had the chance to go back we would definately stay there again. Simon, Kristen and their staff were great hosts and it was lovely to have met all of them."
- Travel date: Mon 27th of October 2008
"This must be the most welcoming place of Zanzibar! The owners, Simon and his lovely fiancee Kristen, do their utmost to make guests feel at home. They are both very helpful, funny and full of positive energy. Really, no matter what question you may have, they will find an answer for you. The rooms of their small, charming hotel are comfortable and the location is great: in the heart of the friendly village Bububu, a short ride with the daladala from Stonetown and right on the beach. The staff is very kind and the food is a plus too. We especially liked the barracuda carpaccio, the pumpkin soup and the octopus salad: fresh, fresh, fresh and very tasty. While eating all these heavenly dishes you are surrounded by the sound of the sea and lots of good vibes. For people who want to copy these dishes at home, Simon can arrange cooking lessons. As for Simon's cocktails: they are great indeed and always served with a smile! This is a feel good spot. Go!"
- Travel date: Fri 24th of October 2008
"If you want a real and true experience of the African and Zanzibar Swahili culture you should stay at Imani beach villa. This small picturesque hotel is a true escapers dream! You are guaranteed the absence of large tourist groups. This was the best place we stayed at on our honeymoon and one month trip to Tanzania the summer of 2008.
The owner of the hotel, a young English man named Simon really knows what service is all about! He thought of everything, just to make our stay as good as possible. He even lent his Swahili phrasebook to us, on his own initiative, so we could get around much easier!! Itâs really obvious that heâs running this place with his heart. Thanks Simon for an unforgettable experience!
The staff at the hotel, Tito, John, Sophia, Abasi, Peter, Clemens, Mosa(spelling?) and The chef with the polish football shirt (no offence, sorry but we forgot your name) are so friendly words canât describe. We felt really welcome and these guys are the best! We really felt like in paradise with a big bunch of new friends.
The food is amazing, you have to try the barracuda and the octopus. Nowhere else did we taste food of the same caliber as at Imanis and washed it down with special made cocktails by Simon (that are probably the best in Zanzibar).
The room was beautiful with a big traditional Zanzibar crafted four poster bed and a nice bathroom with everything. The private beach in front of the hotel was amazing, really quiet and crowd less, a perfect place for honeymooners, very romantic setting especially by sunset when the sea swallows the red sun.
We were lucky to attend a BBQ-party on the beach with local dancers and drummers (every Thursday), it was an amazing experience and very fun to dance with the locals! After the performance the barbecue was served, it was like heaven in the mouth and to a good price.
Another great thing about Imani was that The manager could organize different tours for example the spice tour that is really great, we went to the governmental spice farm and walked through the whole plantation and got to taste everything and finished it with a wonderful homemade lunch at the plantation.
They can arrange all the different trips and tours that are possible to do on the island and in the close-by waters. For example Prison island and the dolphin tour to Kizimkazi which was remarkable and they also arranged a tour to the Jozani-forest where we saw the rear red colobus monkeys. All the tours werenât that expensive and we feel that we really got what we paid for.
The best things with Imani beach villa is that you get to meet the locals not the tourists, you get to taste top quality food, and experience what top quality service is, and all this to a low price. We are so satisfied with this hotel that we often reminisce about it, and that we do with a big smile on our faces. It was much more than we expected and we are already talking about our âcomebackâ!!!
Thanks for making our honeymoon so special and unforgettable!! See you in a near future!
// Mr. & Mrs. Sabir"
- Travel date: Sat 13th of September 2008
Great traditional African music and dinner on the beach
"We did not stay here, because we did not know about it in time. However, we spent a delightful evening at the Imani Beach Villa and viewed the property. Well worth a taxi ride from Stonetown for great dinner (BBQ fish and meat kabobs, curry, and all the trimmings) in Swahili style in a beautiful, covered open air pavillion; local acrobats perform on the beach and then great traditional dancing and drumming in the restaurant. Reasonable prices.
New owner is on site and eager to please. He has been there for only 3 months- so earlier reviews do not apply. Reportably clean and attractive rooms. A little far from Stonetown. Thursday evening is the entertainment/Beach BBQ night.- Stonetown is pretty quiet on Thursday, so plan a trip up the shore."
- Travel date: Fri 8th of August 2008