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Boutique Hotel Matlai

When To Visit Zanzibar:
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"Small, boutique, and a great location see Matlai as one of the finest boutique properties on the whole of Zanzibar, if not the very best! This is a firm office favourite... an excellent little lodge."


Asili House is privately owned and run. It forms part of Matlai Zanzibar, which also includes another villa property – Villa Kidosho. The word Matlai translates from the Kiswahili language as the first breeze in the early morning. For the Zanzibar fishermen this is the moment that signals the beginning of the day, as the sails on their boats start to ripple. It’s a special time on the island – and the staff here aim to provide a very special time to all guests. Service standards are truly sky high! When the house is not booked exclusively, there’s a minimum age requirement of 12 years.


Asili House is accessed via approximately 1 hour 20 minutes’ road transfer from Zanzibar’s Abeid Amani Karume International Airport. Its location, on the Michamwi Peninsula, is stunning! The house is situated right on the beach, so guests need only take a few steps from the entrance to experience the exquisite coastline.


The house’s four bedrooms each contain a double bed, but separate beds can be added for children. This means it’s perfect for a group of travellers or a family! Situated on the beach, surrounded by tropical gardens, this wood-and-thatch structure blends seamlessly into the landscape of soft sands and lofty palm trees. The name Asili translates as nature or origin – and the building certainly has a very natural feel. The lounge is al fresco, with plenty of comfortable armchairs! There is also a library in this space, in addition to a large dining table, a fridge, and a tea-and-coffee bar. Guests can also choose to dine on the house’s terrace – and there are sunloungers here too. Finally, there’s the private pool, extending all the way out to the beach! Many happy hours may be spent here, simply relaxing and enjoying the beautiful views out to sea.

All four bedrooms within Asili House are comfy and spacious, with lovely sea views. Each has a name inspired by an African myth about the world’s origins! On the ground floor, Maji Room and Dunia Room boast an extra-large double bed apiece as well as air conditioning. The first floor is the location for Hewa Room and Moto Room, each with king-size bed and air conditioning. All rooms cover approximately 30 square metres of floor space. Each has a dressing area and table, a desk, a fan, a safe, mosquito nets, and a large balcony complete with sunlounger. Every room boasts en-suite facilities too, featuring flush toilet, twin washbasins, rainfall shower, and bathtub. Guests have use of a hairdryer and receive complimentary slippers and bathrobes. You also get shampoo and conditioner, body wash, body lotion, tissues, bath cap, nail file, and sewing kit!


Asili House is so comfortable, you might prefer to spend all your time relaxing in and around the villa. However, if you do opt to check out other parts of Zanzibar, there’s so much to see and do!

  • A trip to Stone Town is always interesting, as the town has a fascinating history. There are lots of small streets full of shops and boutiques, as well as a bustling market!
  • Nature lovers will appreciate an excursion to Jozani Forest, to spot red colobus monkey, blue velvet monkey, Aders’ duiker, and some brilliant birdlife.
  • There’s also a breeding station for turtles here, which is well worth a visit.
  • Popping in to Zanzibar’s butterfly centre is another wonderful way to while away a few hours, while tours of the island such as the Spice Tour will appeal to anyone who likes a little culture on holiday!
  • Swimming with dolphins is available too, as is a host of watersports – SUP (stand-up paddleboarding), snorkelling, diving, kitesurfing.
  • Fishing trips are popular with keen anglers, while those who like a round of golf will be pleased to learn that Zanzibar opened a new course in 2015 – this is situated on the island’s west coast and has 9 holes and 18 tees.


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