Just visualize fine white, warm sand between your toes., wading through the ocean’s shoreline feeling hot yet comforable and an itinerary made exclusively for you. Romantic, unprenentious, secluded are only a few adjectives to describe this privately owned, triangular island in the Indian Ocean of the east coast of Zanzibar.
Discovered by Arab traders in the 8th century, Mnemba Island Lodge has become a favourite to the well-heeled and only guests of the hotel are permitted on the hotel grounds. (Bill and Belinda Gates have been spotted here.)
This very ecologically friendly lodge, (well before the word became a major world influence), situated on a very secluded, small island, is the only way to get to these posh accommodations.
Needless to tell, but the island has white sandy beaches, azure blue ocean and where scuba diving is probably the most popular sport followed by birdwatching.
Between February to September, the green turtles lay their eggs. And you may see all 3 species of dolphins, the largest fish in the world, whale sharks, and approximately 600 species of coral.
As for the foodies who come, the scent of freshly baked coconut bread will certainly urge you out of the crisp sheets
When you arrive at Zanzibar International Airport the lodge’s chauffeur will take you the to a waiting boat to the island. Be prepared to wade knee-high in the water and from there you’ll float to the shores of this idylic resort.
On the short trip, I became chatty with a friendly Manhattan tycoon. This wasn’t his first time so he warned me that wearing shoes is a definite no-no.
You won’t need more than what is in your carry-om that is unless you have plans to extend your vacation afterwards.
The daily delivery of a dozen freshly laundered sarongs arrives when you do. This seemed so out of character for my newly acquainted elegant, chic Manhattan pin striper who obviously, must adore this island paradise. So I went along with this island’s tradition and wore a sarong around my waist for my morning beach walk, replaced it several times during the day, wrapped another for lunch and for more “formal” times, I tied a sarong under by arms for dinner. It was sheer bliss not to worry about what to wear. And I couldn’t get through all those sarongs so had to tell butler to skip a day.
This, was my interpretations of the “bare-foot Contessa”.
And weather permittng and that’s almost always, you can request a romantic candle lit dinner on the beach. Be prepared for gourmet meals which include fresh- from- the -tree- fruits and fish that seemed to have jumped from the ocean into the frying pan.
Although I’m sure other luxury exclusive hotels may have mushroomed since I was there but my stay Mnemba Island lodge , was in a league of its prosperous own. It was most exclusive and I imagine it still is. At that time, there were only 10 thatched bandas with direct access to the beach.
And just to jog your memory, although the lodge’s guests are very sophisticated, Valentino stilettos and Chanels ensembles certainly are not the dress code here unless you’re off to another destination or perhaps just arrived from a metropolitan city.
Just ask your personal bulter for your daily dose of laundered sarongs.