My husband and I were originally booked at Breezes, and were surprised upon our arrival in Zanzibar to be upgraded to Baraza (as they somehow thought it was our honeymoon rather than an anniversary trip). Otherwise, we would not have put out the money to stay at Baraza.
When we arrived at Baraza, we were blown away. We don’t typically travel in over-the-top luxury, and this was probably the nicest resort we’ve ever been to. The resort grounds were beautiful and secluded; the common areas were clean and modern; the service was excellent. And best of all, everything from meals to alcohol and water activities was inclusive.
We were stunned when we walked into our villa to find an enormous 2 bedroom/2 bath place, quite seriously larger and nicer than our town-home here in the states, with a private plunge pool and secluded lounging area in the back. We had a beautiful poster bed surrounded by mosquito nets in the master bedroom, a large living room area with a couch, a “day bed” (basically a large alcove full of pillows for relaxing), a flat screen TV, and a mini bar replenished each day with a selection of sodas, beers, juices, liquors and wines. All but the liquors and wines were inclusive.
My absolute favorite part of the room was the huge master bath. The bathroom had a separate water closet, an open stall shower, a large double-basin sink and vanity, an enormous soaking tub complete with bath salts on a gold pedestal, and a sitting area. Even with all of that, it was quite spacious and not at all cluttered.
The cleaning staff kept the place immaculate. They cleaned for at least an hour each day, as well as doing turn down service and bug spray in the evening while we were at dinner.
Though the villa was very nice, there were some minor cosmetic issues, like a lot of missing tiles in the swimming pool, and the faucet in the bath tub actually spilled out onto the floor unless you held it in place over the tub. (It was mounted into the floor outside the tub.) Nothing that would ruin our stay, but maybe worth noting.
The beach was perfect; like something straight out of an advertisement. There was a thatched hut with two lounge chairs and a small table for each villa, positioned just far enough from one another to still give a feeling of privacy.
The views were beautiful. During high tide, it was possible to swim and snorkel. At low tide, the water retreated to reveal a gorgeous coral reef, and we were able to walk out and explore the sea life – urchins, different types of coral, star fish, clams, sea cucumbers, etc.
Between breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner, there never seemed to be a shortage of food or a time that I felt hungry. We were fed a LOT of food at each meal, too. The food was very good, and there was a lot of variety. Service in the restaurants was friendly and attentive almost to a flaw. Meals rotated between served and buffet style. When it was served, there was a fixed menu, with two entrees to choose between. When it was buffet, there was a wide variety of foods and desserts, as well as live stations where the chefs would prepare specific foods for you on the spot. Dinner had a good selection of South African wines and beers; lunch always had a delicious drink of the day – typically sangria.
The service was impeccable here. There were definitely more workers than guests, and it showed. The rooms and grounds were very well kept. The restaurants had amazing service; every time we got up to go to the buffet, we would have our napkins re-folded at the table, and when we returned, someone would rush over to pull our chairs out for us. The bar staff were wonderful, delivering fruit cocktails, water and other drinks to us daily on the beach without having to ask, and provided quick friendly service in the bars as well. On our last day, one of the bartenders we’d been friendly with delivered his “specialty drink” to us in our room with a wish for happiness and peace to us – just because.
On our last morning, we had to leave the resort at 7am – before breakfast was served. The service staff went out of their way to deliver an enormous amount of food to us in our room at 6am so that we wouldn’t get on our plane hungry.
We were graciously given a complimentary couples massage at the Frangipani Spa (as they’d thought it was our honeymoon), which was an amazing way to decompress after safari. The spa itself is huge and elaborate and wonderful and relaxing. It includes a gym, a swimming pool with underwater music, large locker rooms, a relaxation room that looks to be fit for royalty, several massage rooms and a salon.
Indra and Yuli did our massages and we cannot say enough wonderful things. We were led to the relaxation room for several minutes before the massage where we were served cool lemon water, and after we decompressed in the relaxation room sipping hot tea.
Unlike other resorts we’ve been to, we were ecstatic to not have a sales pitch at the end trying to get us to buy their spa products.
The only slight negative of the trip was that since we were upgraded to Baraza, we were not aware of the dress code for the restaurants. The only pants my husband had were safari pants (shorts are not allowed for men). I had one dress and a lot of safari clothes. We did our best to accommodate the dress code with what we had, but we felt as if we were grossly under-dressed and looked upon by some of the staff that way as well. It made us feel slightly uncomfortable, as if we were being judged by some of the staff members, who didn’t necessarily try to hide their disapproving looks. So… if you’re headed for Baraza, I would definitely make sure you have some nicer things to wear in the evenings.
Overall, this was an amazing trip, and we are very grateful to the Raguz family for all of their hospitality and the upgrade. We truly felt that this was an amazing spot to spend the end of our African vacation.
Guest nationality: American
Reviewed October 1, 2011