This one time, I went on a honeymoon with my boyfriend when we weren’t actually married.
But really, this past summer my boyfriend and I blew all of our Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card points on an African safari and ended our two week vacation with 5 days at the Melia Zanzibar resort. When we spent just a couple hundred dollars more each to upgrade to the romance package, we didn’t realize that we would basically be on a honeymoon sans ring and wedding!
We originally chose to stay at Melia Zanzibar because we had enough combined credit card points from our Reserve cards to pay for an upgraded package in full. But for those of you with the Reserve, beware that your points are worth the most for flights. We ended up paying for our stay at Melia Zanzibar instead of using points because it was overall less money. It would have been $2,500 worth of points compared to just $2,000 with money. Plus, the Reserve card gets you 3x points on your hotel stay so we basically made money by paying with our credit cards instead of points.
If you’re looking for a honeymoon or just a romantic getaway to end your safari like we were, the Melia Zanzibar is the perfect place to do it.
While trying to choose a room, we decided to go big or go home. When would we be back in Zanzibar!? Most likely, never. So we chose the Romance Pavilion and holy crap, was it worth it!
The room was absolutely to die for. It was a luxury hut made out of coconut trees built into the side of a cliff and jutting out over the Indian Ocean. The view from bed was nothing but the most turquoise water I’ve ever seen.
The room had a shower, mini bar, double sinks, TV, beautiful canopy bed, seating area and the most amazing bath tub I’ve ever seen. Every day as the tide came in, I ran myself a bath and indulged in the free (OK, well, included in the price we paid) wine!
The balcony was also beautiful. Each morning we ordered way more room service than we needed and had breakfast overlooking the ocean.
This room was the nicest hotel room I have EVER stayed in! It was 100% worth upgrading from a typical ocean view room. It was extremely private and very romantic. Perfect for a honeymoon, engagement trip or just a couples’ vacation.
But pro tip! Before we arrived, the resort emailed us to ask us if we were celebrating our honeymoon. We said we were not (we’re good people, we didn’t want to lie!) and because we were only going for a regular vacation, we didn’t get as many benefits. We could have had champagne in the room on arrival and the “romantic” dining at Aqua Restaurant each night if we had been celebrating our honeymoon.
Also, included with the room is a complimentary spa treatment for each guest. The resort did end up granting us this part of the package which was amazing! And luckily for me, my boyfriend doesn’t like massages or facials so he let me have his and I got to have TWO free massages during our stay!
The spa has a wide variety of treatments from massages and facials to pedicures and scrubs. I had a deep tissue massage and a regular, relaxation massage and both were great! Very relaxing and full body.
The treatment rooms are huge! At all other spas I’ve been to, the showers and lockers are located outside of the treatment room. But at Melia Zanzibar it’s all in one. My massage room had a personal shower, toilet, lockers and bath products.
Despite it being located above the gym, there weren’t many people around the spa and it was very quiet. There is a small infinity pool outside the spa that anyone can swim in. You don’t have to have a spa treatment to use this pool.
The food at Melia Zanzibar is pretty good. I wouldn’t say it’s the best food I’ve ever had on vacation, but it was good. There are 5 restaurants on the property including a buffet and pool bar.
Spices Restaurant – Located just below the hotel lobby, Spices is Melia Zanzibar’s buffet style restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This restaurant is available for both the regular and premium all-inclusive levels. Spices has 7 different theme nights including BBQ, tropical seafood, Swahili, Indian and more. Dress code is smart casual for dinner and there are indoor and outdoor seating options. We only ate here for breakfast one day. While the stations and options were nice, we didn’t find the food to be great compared to other options so we did not return.
Jetty Lounge – The Jetty, located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, is a famous part of the Melia Zanzibar. And it’s actually a restaurant and bar! The food is tapas style but it’s only open for dinner for non-premium level all-inclusive guests. The dinner wasn’t great, most notably the sushi. But the breakfast, although only available for premium guests, was really good! And there are tons of options. Also – you can’t beat that view!! If you want a romantic meal, the Jetty is definitely the place to be at Melia Zanzibar.
Aqua Restaurant – This restaurant, built into the cliffside and overlooking the Indian Ocean, was our favorite at Melia Zanzibar. It’s only available for premium level guests so I definitely recommend upgrading! We felt it was 100% worth it. The Aqua Restaurant is only available for dinner and has lots of options on the menu. The view is beautiful at sunset and once the sun goes down, the restaurant turns on twinkle lights in the trees to make a romantic setting. They also have a romance dinner option that includes champagne.
Gabi Beach – You can dine right in the sand at this beachfront restaurant at Melia Zanzibar. Gabi Beach is open for lunch until 6 p.m. The menu has a wide variety but beware there is a large selection of premium level only choices. Make sure if you don’t get the upgraded all-inclusive, that you know what you’re ordering so you don’t have to pay extra at check out!
The beach is not at the main resort area. The resort is built into the side of a cliff so there’s no actual beach front. They do have a private beach that is about a 20 minute walk down a quiet road or you can take a 5 minute golf cart ride. The beach is worth the walk. It has pure white sand with tons of lounge chairs as well as palm trees if you want shade. There’s also bar service if you want to have a tropical cocktail in the sand.
Beware the ocean water isn’t very clean. While we were at Melia Zanzibar, the water was filled with seaweed and some sea urchins. Also, there were a few locals selling knick knacks on the beach. The moment we walked away from our chairs and down toward the water, they surrounded us. But if you’re extremely firm with them that you’re not interested, they will leave you alone.
Don’t try to walk back to your room along the beach! Trust me, it is a long walk and the tide comes in FAST. You may think you’ll make it back to your room faster than the golf cart but you will not. After lunch one day we tried to walk along the beach and both ended up with bloody feet and completely soaked! So just don’t try it. Trust the golf cart! Or walk along the cart path.
The main pool at Melia Zanzibar is a large, heated infinity pool overlooking the Jetty. Most days we were the only ones by the pool or sometimes with one or two other couples. Most people spent time at the beach. But if you’re looking to take advantage of the all-inclusive and get your drink on, we found it much quicker to get a drink at the pool than at the beach!
Each day the resort has a list of free activities from beach volleyball to darts by the pool. They also have a cave located halfway between the resort and the beach that they will no doubt make sure you see! It is free but the hotel staff that takes you will want a tip. They’ll take you about 50 feet into the cave to a small natural pool. But unfortunately you can’t swim in it. Now THAT would have been cool!
Overall, if you’re looking for a quiet place for your honeymoon or romantic getaway, definitely consider Melia Zanzibar. It was a great place to relax after our busy seven day safari.
But note that if you’re looking for a place to meet other travelers, Melia Zanzibar isn’t really the spot. It’s a massive resort with tons of areas for people to spread out plus most people are on their honeymoon so no one is really looking to socialize. They’re busy
doing each other enjoying their nuptials!