Na­ture, Spice, and De­sign Mag­nif­i­cence

Premier Magazine (South AFrica) - - Contents - Text: Paula Ra­bel­ing Im­ages © Zuri Zanz­ibar

When Czech busi­ness mogul, Va­clav De­jc­mar, de­cided to get into the ho­tel busi­ness, it was done with an ar­chi­tec­tural and de­sign “splash” in the form of Zuri Zanz­ibar on Un­guja is­land, a newly opened re­sort in the fa­mous hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion. Of course, over 300 m of pris­tine beach played a part, too.

Beach Al­lure

When it came to choos­ing the lo­ca­tion of Zuri, the beach helped make up the mind of De­jc­mar. “Un­like most Zanz­ibar beaches where one must walk 500 m to swim at low tide, our beach, set­tled in the large la­goon, is al­ways per­fect. I have trav­elled the world and stayed in the most lux­u­ri­ous sea-front prop­er­ties, but I still con­sider Zuri’s beach as one of the best on Earth,” he ex­plains.

The long stretch of pris­tine soft sand which board­ers the turquoise In­dian Ocean faces West, al­low­ing guests of Zuri to re­lax upon the loungers on the pri­vate beach to wor­ship the sun, but also to bid it farewell as it dips below the hori­zon in a mes­meris­ing pal­ette of fiery hues.

The draw of the beach did not mean that the ar­chi­tec­ture of Zuri was a sec­ond thought – much time, ef­fort, and tal­ent went into de­sign­ing the Zuri uni­verse.

A Botany Fan­fare

Thirty two acres of land, teem­ing with ver­dant life, dot­ted with struc­tures built with im­mense at­ten­tion to de­tail in mind makes up the world of Zuri Zanz­ibar.

Lush green­ery and pops of bright flowery shades line the walk­ways and sur­round each bun­ga­low and villa, mak­ing them each quaint pri­vate havens within the wider par­adise of Zuri.

When build­ing the re­sort, spe­cial at­ten­tion was given to the plant life present – much of the orig­i­nal flora was kept, and any­thing brought in was done so with care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion. The re­sult is an abun­dance of life that el­e­vates the feel­ing of be­ing in na­ture. The plant life is all wa­tered us­ing re­cy­cled H2O, and the eco­con­scious­ness does not stop there. Ed­i­fi­ca­tion and Eco-con­scious De­sign The team of Zuri did not want to have any ad­verse ef­fects on the vil­lages that call Un­guja home. In or­der to make the ad­di­tion of the re­sort to the is­land a pos­i­tive one, Zuri does not use any wa­ter that goes to the vil­lage in the run­ning of the re­sort. The Zuri team built their own

de­sali­na­tion plant in or­der to be self­suf­fi­cient, and sunk new wells for the neigh­bour­ing vil­lage. Prior to open­ing the re­sort, Zuri ran a two-year pro­gramme for the lo­cal res­i­dents who were to be em­ployed at the re­sort. Through Zuri, they went through a hos­pi­tal­ity course, in­creas­ing their skills and as­sist­ing them with their ca­reers.

An African Vil­lage

The en­vi­ron­ment and keep­ing eco­con­scious­ness in mind led the re­sort to Jes­tico + Whiles – the United King­do­mand Prague-based ar­chi­tec­tural firm that fo­cuses on eco-friendly con­struc­tions. When it came to ac­com­mo­da­tion and con­gre­ga­tion spa­ces, the Zuri team gave Jes­tico + Whiles the brief of an African vil­lage, with im­mac­u­late fa­cil­i­ties.

The 55 bun­ga­lows, suites, and vil­las are nes­tled in na­ture. Walk­ing up to one of the re­lax­ing sanc­tu­ar­ies, the spi­cein­spired name for the abode rests next to wel­com­ing dec­o­ra­tive wood-carved doors.

Whether you are in Nut­meg, Lemon­grass, or Saf­fron, the rooms were de­signed with com­fort and re­lax­ation in mind. The wrap­around deck comes to­gether at the back of the bun­ga­low, com­plete with ham­mock and out­door fur­ni­ture on which to re­lax and bask in the trop­i­cal days.

Com­ing through the glass slid­ing doors, the room wel­comes you with plush beds draped in net­ting, hard­wood floors, and eye-catch­ing de­sign el­e­ments. Hand­crafted beaded cur­tains from lo­cal ar­ti­sans grace the bath­room spa­ces, and next to the dou­ble basins are hand­made soaps cre­ated by lo­cal sea­weed farm­ers. Much of the wood con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als used are re­claimed wood from tra­di­tional boats and doors, fur­ther adding to the ecofriendly mind-set of the re­sort.

While the bun­ga­lows each con­sist of one sin­gle room, the three-bed­room villa has a pri­vate pool and Jacuzzi, and the twobed­room villa in­cludes a pri­vate Jacuzzi. The Spice El­e­ment

Not just the names of the abodes hark back to the spice his­tory of Zanz­ibar – the Zuri team has in­ter­wo­ven the ex­otic flavours through the re­sort.

Zuri has ded­i­cated over one and a half hectares of its trop­i­cal par­adise to spice. The Spice Gar­den is a place of aroma and re­lax­ation. Here, guests can sim­ply walk around and take in the fra­grance and beauty,

or med­i­tate in one of the pods in the Spice Gar­den. If you are in­ter­ested in how to use the ar­ray of spices in food, Zuri holds cook­ing classes in the Spice House or in the gar­den.

After ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the culi­nary exquisite­ness pre­sented on each plate – for break­fast, lunch, and din­ner – many will cer­tainly want to gain Zuri spice-knowl­edge to take home.

Din­ing Deca­dence

Din­ner is an af­fair of in­dul­gence, unique­ness, and flavour at Zuri.

Each night, a dif­fer­ent menu fea­tur­ing an amuse-bouche, starter, in­ter­me­di­ate course, main course, and dessert is pre­sented.

The kitchen takes in­spi­ra­tion from lo­cal cui­sine, which it­self is an amal­ga­ma­tion of many flavours, with In­dian, French, Swahili, and Ara­bic in­flu­ences. Of course, be­ing on the doorstep of the ocean, one of the best ways to revel in the flavours is with seafood. From red snap­per and tuna, cray­fish, prawns, squid, and grouper – the fresh seafood on of­fer is pre­pared in a num­ber of tasty ways (steamed, pan-fried, crispy, and carpac­cio). It is not an easy feat to get bored when eat­ing the va­ri­ety of catches.

Zuri Zanz­ibar is a des­ti­na­tion in its own right. With its distinc­tive de­sign choices set­ting it apart from the other re­sorts on the is­land, the feel of an African vil­lage with firstrate lux­u­ries, and, of course, the splen­dour of hav­ing a beach a few steps away where you can sub­merge your­self in the tem­per­ate wa­ters, re­gard­less of tides, makes Zuri a re­sort in a class of its own, and a rea­son in it­self to visit Zanz­ibar.

For more info, visit www.zur­izanz­ibar.com.

Well-awarded

Due to the ar­chi­tec­tural won­der of Zuri Zanz­ibar, it is a mem­ber of De­sign Ho­tels. Ow­ing to the ded­i­ca­tion of the re­sort to the sur­round­ing area and en­vi­ron­ment, it is aim­ing for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from Earth Check. Lo­gis­ti­cally Speak­ing

Zuri Zanz­ibar is lo­cated just a one-hour drive from the air­port, as well as the fa­mous Stone Town. The re­sort will hap­pily help you with day trips to the town where you can browse mar­kets and get to know the his­tory of the is­land, as well as other ex­cur­sions, such as into the ocean for snorkelling and driv­ing, and even a trip to an is­land of Voodoo.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.