For our holiday at the end of February we chose Paje as the first stop. This is a very popular location on the island, a former local village that turned into a touristic center. You have here all the facilities you need for a relaxing vacation: hotels, small bungalows on the beach. small shops, restaurants and bars.
We were looking for a quiet hotel in Paje, very close to the beach and with a restaurant were we could eat all the meals. We were arriving late in the afternoon with the kid, after a long flight so we needed to have everything available at least for the first day. After a long research, we stopped at Dhow Inn Boutique Hotel, a small resort right next to Paje beach. It was exactly what we needed to have a good start in Zanzibar!
How was our stay at Dhow Inn
Dhow Inn has a traditional design, with a makuti roof and plenty open areas. As we passed through the high walls, we were welcomed by a relaxed atmosphere. The outdoor reception area and the fresh mango juice we drank while receiving the details about our room instantly made us feeling better after the long journey.
Despite the traditional setup, the rooms at Dhow Inn reminded me of the Mediterranean, with white furniture and light decorations. We had a premium room, large and very comfortable. We appreciated the privacy you have here, having our own small bungalow with its own terrace. This is highly important traveling with a kid who goes to sleep very early, so that we could relax outside in the evening, but still be very close to him. I hate being stuck in a dark room before 9 PM, guarding him! Our room had a large double bed, as this is our general option when travelling, but you can opt for an extra bed too, or for larger family rooms, if necessary. Another very important aspect to consider in Zanzibar is the fridge and air conditioner, both essential due to Zanzibar’s climate.
The rooms at Dhow Inn are spread across a large courtyard with plenty of vegetation. There are four swimming pools here; the main one is large, perfect for swimming, plus a small one, to relax close to the restaurant and bar. Then two other pools are located in different areas, just for the bungalows located around each of them. So we had an almost private pool just a few steps from our terrace, but without the typical noise.
Food at Dhow Inn
We always chose to have breakfast at our hotel when traveling. We can’t truly wake up before having coffee. Eric is generally waking up early and he is used to eat at that time too. At Dhow Inn, we enjoyed eating on the open terrace, with makuti roof, feeling the ocean breeze. Each morning we had plenty of delicious tropical fruits; besides them, Eric typically chose cereals with milk, I go with waffles or croissants and Andrei with eggs and bacon. So you can see that breakfast at Dhow Inn really has something for everybody.
When booking our accommodation at Dhow Inn, we chose the package with dinner included as well, which was a great idea. For the first two days Eric was very tired from the travel but also from the excitement to discover new places. So it would have been impossible to walk in the evening in search for a different place for dinner. So we enjoyed the buffet meals on the same terrace; they sometimes organize barbeque dinner near the beach, but it was too windy for this during our stay. For dinner we had delicious local dished with fish and seafood; for dessert, do not miss the passion fruit mousse!
We didn’t have lunch at Dhow Inn, as we wanted to explore other places too, even though it was very attractive. They also have a well-known sushi restaurant, O-Kami, right next to the beach; but none of us is a sushi enthusiast, so we probably wouldn’t have been able to really appreciate it.
Plaja din Paje
We loved the vibe on Paje beach. It reminded us a bit of our time on Thailand’s Koh Lanta a few years back. Paje is a large beach, with fine sand, lots of bars and souvenir shops, kite surfing centers and many relaxed tourists. It’s a place for both families with kids or groups of young friends.
During low tide the beach is up to 2 km wider, the same as on most of the east coast. But for high tide, Paje is the place to be for kite surfing lovers. The reef protects the coast from waves and there is a constant pleasant wind, which makes the perfect conditions for this sport. There are several centers where you can try kite surfing or take some lessons to master it, including one at Dhow Inn Boutique Hotel. Unfortunately we didn’t have the time or the physical condition for such an adventure.
You can find here more details about Dhow Inn, including room rates and availability.