White Sands Beach Hotel in Kendwa
(18 rooms) PO Box 732, Kendwa, Zanzibar
Ø 0777 480987; e firstname.lastname@example.org
www.zanzibar-white-sands-hotel.com (Whites 5º45.054'S; 39º17.373'E).
Laid- ack Belgian, Jan, took over White Sands in 2002, and has spent the past few years renovating and rebuilding rooms and creating a fun, split-level bar and restaurant on the beach. The reception and all of the accommodation is perched on a coral cliff above the beach, and is surrounded by neatly planted gardens filled with aloes, papaya and bougainvillea.
The cosy standard rooms have had little more than a lick of paint since Jan took over, but they are clean and functional. The bright red floor, neat bed, fabricscreened wardrobe, wall-mounted fan, cheerful paintings and Zanzibari concrete corner bench with cushions and table are all perfectly adequate. A little larger and with a beach-view terrace are the midclass rooms; whilst, significantly larger in size, the kingsize rooms have a large dbl bed, with plenty of room for another to be added, a bigger terrace and an en-suite bathroom. The red-painted concrete floors in these rooms are covered with dyed makuti mats, whilst the walls are awash with overwhelming African murals: the artwork of local talent, Moses. The mock rock art and swaying Masai dancers may be a little crude for some, and the African textiles are definitely hectic in design, but the rooms are certainly bright and individual. All have en-suite bathrooms, but the standard class does not yet have hot water. There are no safes in the rooms, but a deposit box is available at reception and accessible between 07.30 and 14.00.
If you're accessing White Sands from the beach, look out for the old oil barrel suspended under a small makuti shade and the lodge's red and white, sun and sail logo. The drum is the restaurant's outside advertisement reading: 'Lobster tomorrow? Ask today! Kitchen open all day.' The large circular bar and restaurant is a fun hangout. Built on the beach with the sand still making the floor, it has swings to rival stools at the bar and a sunken central lounge filled with cushioncovered coir-rope sofas. A surrounding semicircular raised platform of tables for two creates a feeling of enclosure, and a couple of kingsize beds are laid out for those whose every effort has gone into dragging themselves away from their neighbouring lounger. Standard US$30/40 low/high season; midclass US$45–55 low/high season; kingsize US$60/70 low/high season. All rates are based on dbl occupancy; US$10 reduction for sgl. 10% discount on stays over 5 days during low season.