If you're after warm personalised service in an attractive, quiet and intimate setting (rather than a large resort-style hotel) head straight for Shooting Star. The place has a great feel about it, especially if you're looking for a peaceful spot to put your feet up and relax. We simply love it!
This small, family-run guesthouse is situated on a hill near the fishing village of Kiwengwa and overlooks a magnificent stretch of white beach and dazzling blue ocean. The small makuti-roofed lodge is nestled in lovely well-tended gardens alive with birdsong. It only has 14 rooms, located a short distance from the lodge, so you'll never feel crowded. Its cliff-top setting means the ocean views are superb and all-encompassing. Access to the beach is via a short but steep flight of stairs (good for the calves).
The welcome is warm with owner Elly going out of his way to make your stay pleasurable. Elly is Tanzanian and his wife Lesley is English. Elly has developed the guesthouse into its current form and takes great pride in sharing it with guests. There is an open-air restaurant and lots of chill-out and sun lounging areas with hammocks. It's been decorated with care using wooden furniture, African carvings, colourful cushions and local fabrics. The guestrooms are neat, clean and attractive. There are no disturbances here, no ringing phones or loud televisions, just the blissful sound and sights of the sea.
A huge advantage of this guesthouse is that it has been built far away from the other hotels on the Kiwengwa Coast, ensuring a private seaside away from hoards of holidaymakers. What a treat! There are shady makuti umbrellas under which to lie and the coral cliff face creates interesting coves to explore. It's the perfect place to escape to and watch local village life pass by quietly. Witness the morning rituals of the local women farming seaweed and the fishermen returning with their catch. You can listen to the lively melodies of children singing as they gather cockles and mussels in the shallows.
The hotel has a beautiful salt water infinity pool, the only one of its kind on the island, offering great panoramic views of the beachfront, the Indian Ocean and beyond.
Shooting Star is not your regular action-packed hotel, supplying guests with planned itineraries and tons of activities to pass the days. Instead it offers that well-deserved retreat away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here hospitality, relaxation, serenity and winding down form part of the everyday custom. Guests are encouraged to chill out and enjoy the freedom and tranquility of Zanzibar living.
The 14 thatched guestrooms, connected by sandy paths, are very comfortable. Although simply decorated, they have a romantic feel with purple batik bedspreads, white curtains and hibiscus flower decorations.
The eleven Seaview Cottages, set away from the bar and restaurant, are by far the best and most private option. These spacious, en-suite rooms feature traditional Zanzibari-style furniture, air conditioning as well as ceiling and table fans and private verandas with wonderful sea views. Four of the Sea View Cottages have been especially designed for families. They have a large double room, closet shower and WC on the ground floor and a staircase leading up to a twin bedded room in the roof space. The four en-suite Garden Lodge rooms are closer to the bar, restaurant and pool. They have terraces leading onto a tropical garden. There are two interconnecting rooms for families.