Chapwani Private Island
What to Expect: A base for spice merchants and explorers for three centuries, the island of Zanzibar lies 30 miles off the coast of Tanzania, and 35-acre Chapwani Island lies a mile to the west. Its craggy baobab trees, fragrant passion-fruit trees, and rich variety of birds and wildlife—including a herd of 60 miniature antelope called dik-diks and a colony of black open-billed storks—capture the natural beauty of Africa. A maximum of 20 guests stay in five two-story bandas along the white-sand beach dotted with tiny coves. Colorful African prints enliven the 10 rooms furnished with four-poster beds and wardrobes; each room is cooled by a ceiling fan and has its own lounge chairs on the beach. The seaside restaurant—sheltered by a traditional makuti roof woven from palm fronds—serves Asian, African, and European cuisine including cigales de mer (small clawless lobsters). Specialties include calamari salad with passion fruit and carrot soup with ginger fresh from the garden.
What to Do: Ask the resort to arrange for a private spice tour or a sailing trip with local fishermen on a N'gelawa, a traditional trimaran.
Getting There: The lodge runs a transfer boat to and from Zanzibar’s Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Room to Book: Room 10 has an unobstructed view of the beach.
Insider Tip: Request a private dinner, preferably in a secluded outdoor spot where you can gaze across the channel at the lights of Stone Town.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.