Zanzibar Island has gained a new luxury hotel to its exotic appeal. The Park Hyatt Zanzibar opened its doors on March 8th, 2015 setting a new standard for luxury on Zanzibar. The Park Hyatt Zanzibar sits on beachfront in the historic UNESCO Heritage site of Stone Town and is the latest addition to the Hyatt portfolio as it expands its presence in Africa. The Park Hyatt Zanzibar reflects the elegance of the Park Hyatt brand while embracing the rich local culture, heritage and historical significance of Zanzibar. Ms. Marcela Herrendoerfer, General Manager of Park Hyatt Zanzibar commented, “The Park Hyatt brand is committed to creating rare, intimate and unforgettable experiences, and we are thrilled to have our doors open and welcome guests from around the world to this very special location.”
Tanzania and Zanzibar have a solid reputation as leisure destinations, but are now gaining credibility as destinations for MICE and Business Travel. Stone Town, the main city of Zanzibar is UNESCO heritage listed and its African-Arabiac cultural influences are a rich blend dating back to when Zanzibar served the ancient spice trade and its darker history of slave trading. The quaint traders shops crammed into streets and markets are still a rich blend of colour, the smells of cooking, fish, spice and a vibrant culture. The people are welcoming and share a love of life. It is typical to see mornings and evenings, locals gathered on the beach for group physical fitness sessions followed by fun filled beach football.
MICExchange recently spoke to Ms. about the new addition to the Park Hyatt portfolio. “We brought the Park Hyatt brand for the first time to Sub-Saharan Africa, and Stone Town on Zanzibar was chosen for many reasons - we believe there is a very diverse market we can bring to the island – and we are looking at both the leisure and the corporate MICE sector.”
“When looking at the corporate business sector, Dar es Salaam is a growing market and is becoming a very important hub for the meetings and incentives sector and there are a lot of possibilities to work together with Dar es Salaam. Whereas Dar es Salaam has the infrastructure to hold large meetings, now, just 20 minutes by plane across the channel, we have at the Park Hyatt Zanzibar the facilities for meetings in a high end environment.“
She continued, “From the mainland (Tanzania), there is a lot of interest from leisure and the corporate sector – [such as] combining corporate sector meetings in Dar es Salaam with extensions to their stay by coming over to Zanzibar, and also for leisure guests who have been on safari – it is so combinable.”
“Tanzania has seen strong growth in the number of business and leisure travellers. Building a brand presence in Tanzania, Hyatt is able to offer more choices to guests as they travel within the country,” Ms. Herrendoerfer went on to say, “We are not restricting ourselves to a certain market as Zanzibar is so globally connected – We already have all countries coming to visit the mainland and the island, whether it’s on leisure or business. Looking at the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] market, there is a very strong connection historically with Oman - and there has not been a luxury hotel here in Stone Town until now.”
The hotel offers 67 rooms in a setting that is intimate with an emphasis on luxurious quality. Ms. Herrendoerfer commented, “We are lucky enough to be in a building that has big historical significance here in Stone Town. We worked closely with UNESCO to restore this beautiful building, where our guests experience actually starts as they come into our lobby.” She speaks of how the hotel fits into the rich island culture and authentic surroundings of Stone Town just a short walk to its myriad winding streets and alleyways, jostling traders and locals, where Zanzibar looses none of its authenticity.
The Park Hyatt Zanzibar makes an impressive statement as it faces the ocean with spectacular, picturesque sea-views of nearby islands and the dhow harbour. Dating, from 1847, the original building Mambo Msiige, forms the heart of the new Park Hyatt Zanzibar and is a building rich in cultural and historical significance. One enters through the arches of an Omani residence into the elegant enclosed courtyard lobby entrance, complete with a fountain, views of the azure ocean beyond and refreshing sea breezes wafting into the space.
The tastefully renovated mansion looses none of its charm, and a typical warm Zanzibari welcome complements the Hyatt concept. Ms. Herrendoerfer said, “We felt it was very important to us to grow young talents here in Zanzibar - a large number of our staff is from Zanzibar - our aim is to give a career path to our team.”
The new purpose built Zamani Residence which forms the hotel proper is attached to Mambo Msiige and has been carefully constructed to complement the local style and original building retains the luxury and elegance expected of the Hyatt brand. It blends contemporary design, while embracing a blend of Arabic, Eastern and European influence. In a recent comment by Peter Norman, Senior Vice-President, Real Estate and Development for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, “We are delighted to be bringing the Park Hyatt brand to the culturally and historically rich island of Zanzibar.”
The Park Hyatt Zanzibar is an elegant retreat from the bustle of Stone Town. The hotel promenade terrace provides calm sea views for dining, relaxing or watching graceful dhows passing by. The Zamani Residence section of the hotel includes a Library-Bar that extends onto the veranda terrace to enjoy the evening breeze over cocktails. The Dining Room offers fine dining over authentic cuisines reflecting Zanzibari seafood and cuisine.
The Park Hyatt experience continues with a fully-equipped fitness centre, the tranquil Anantara Spa and the exclusive outdoor infinity pool. Flexible and stylish meeting and event facilities can accommodate various meeting requirements. The Park Hyatt meeting spaces of more than 160 square meters cater for elegant receptions, weddings, large meetings, state functions and offers alternatives for board meetings or small intimate social occasions. All meeting & events venues combine luxurious decor with modern, state-of-the-art facilities.
The hotel goes a step further by offering guests extraordinary experiences of the Indian Ocean and Zanzibar, such as fishing and snorkelling excursions to small islands or sandbars just off the coast, complete with a hotel chef to grill your freshly caught fish, so you can dine surrounded by crystal blue waters.
The fortunate guests that experienced the Park Hyatt Zanzibar opening were greeted by keen welcoming staff and a hotel with facilities and rooms of understated quality. Ms. Herrendoerfer explained that the hotel owners took a personal interest by choosing decor and artwork from personal collections to emphasise the high standards expected. When asked about the experience of seeing the hotel come to life and open for business, she was enthusiastic - “Amazing - they started restoring Mambo Msiige in March 2013 - to see it now all made up and decorated – it’s very exciting and emotional - there is so much history in this building, it’s nice to see it come alive.”