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Last 5 reviews
A dream come true!
Where to start… The location is breathtaking and very private. The rooms and common areas, in addition to being very spacious, are decorated with a lot of taste. You can pretty much see the sea and the sunset from anywhere on the property. The food served is mostly sourced locally and really first-class: fresh fish, delicious spices, original drinks (have you ever tried baobab juice?), well-executed international dishes and cocktails, you name it. Not only this, but The Aiyana offers fantastic themed dinners, such as swahili night or barbecue on the beach. You can also go on a number of lovely excursions, notably to a beautiful sandbank on a traditional boat at low tide, or get yourself a spa treatment. Last but not least, the people working there are extremely kind, attentive and helpful. From the general manager, Philippe, to the dozens of other people working there, Mohammed, Joshua, Simon, Epiphania, Coco Mambo, Moussa, Suleiman, David, Mwayuma, Eduardo, Hassan, Fatma, Sharif, Doris, Rashid, Saidi, Hadji, Naomi, Muba, Juma, Hafiz… They all do their very best to make your experience unforgettable - and it works! There were fresh flowers, welcome snacks and a thoughtful present on our arrival to celebrate our big event. We were able to have a private, romantic dinner on the beach, too. I honestly can’t fault anything. If you have a chance to go for a few days, don’t hesitate, you won’t regret it.
Excellent beach location
Just what we were looking for - a beautiful hotel, with an amazing beach and pool and total seclusion. This hotel really ticked all the boxes. The rooms are magnificent, the food was exceptional and all the staff were warm and welcoming. The garden grounds of the hotel are well looked after and really spectacular. It was lovely walking straight off the beach, through the gardens and into your own private villa. Our room also had its own small garden and chillout area too. The rooms were very clean, spacious (we had our own living area) and had plenty of luxury toiletries. The outdoor shower was fun (note that there is also an indoor shower too)! There is no wifi in the rooms (which didn't bother us), but there is very good wifi located in the restaurant area and by the pool. The open plan restaurant area was stunning and the bar area was fun and relaxing. We really enjoyed hanging out in the bar area after dinner. David, the very helpful and lovely barman, taught us how to play Bao! Definitely recommend learning this African game (and David is the expert). There are plenty of excursions on offer if you want to experience the island. We went to the sandbank and had a separate snorkeling session. The hotel would tailor a trip if you wanted. There are plenty of drink choices, but note that wine must be bought by the bottle (there is a large wine cellar which you are invited to! The wine can be stored for you if you don't drink the whole bottle in the evening). Overall, a very private and luxurious experience. To note, the hotel is approx. 1hr's drive from the main airstrip in Pemba and the hotel organised transfers for us (air conditioned Toyota Land Cruisers). Well worth the journey.
Bucket list #1
Our honeymoon week at the Aiyana Resort on Pemba Island passed-by with full immersion into a natural luxury treatment at a tropical beach. M. Philippe and team serviced every day a new positive surprise that topped the day before, my wife and I felt like a Maharaja couple in honeymoon. So in this review you will not read: yes, there was luxury shampoo or yes, there were fluffy beach towels because all items you ever wanted: yes they were there and functioning, check. The accurate airport transfer, sans souci check-in, generous room with beach view from our bed, private terrace, lovely walkways through garden with artistic sculptures, maintained white flour beach, lazy swimming pool, carrom cafe/bar, elegant and comfy restaurant overlooking dream beach and that all combined with omnipresent, attentive, respectful and well-trained personnel speaking English, Italian, I care about details and it was beyond my expectations: At the end we didn't want to leave. I could write here more but I don't want to sound pathetic. So thanks Philippe, Saeed, Regina, Ashura, Eduardo, Solomon, Burhan, Mohamed for a wonderful holiday we had chez vous! Kafkas and Svitlana
I don’t want to write this review, honestly
This is the most perfect resort in the most perfect island. I really do not want to write this review because I want it to remain so little known. I don’t want hordes of tourists coming to Pemba and to Aiyana specifically and ruining what is now a good thing. Most tourists stay in ZNZ and don’t venture out to Pemba. It is hard to get here - you need to navigate ZNZ’s awful airport and take an old tiny airplane to get to Pemba’s airport, and from there it is a 2 hour journey on bumpy roads to Aiyana. Not for the traveler who seeks convenience. And that has perhaps kept many away. But for those who make it to Aiyana (aka paradise), you step into an architectural marvel amongst the most beautiful waters in the world. Having been to the Seychelles, Maldives, Turks, Fiji etc, the waters here are comparable if not better. And I came during the worst time! In July - with heavy winds and more rain than expected. Apparently November and December are even better, and I can’t even imagine! This is easily the most well designed resort I have ever stayed at. Ashok, the creator, is an architectural genius - everything is so beautiful, immaculate, and creative. The rooms have high ceilings, fabulous Indian inspired artwork, awesome decor, and SPACIOUS. I felt like I was in my own house - the villas are that huge. Also all villas have beach access, which is so fantastic. The price for all this amazingness? 1/4th that of Maldives, Seychelles etc., which is exactly why I don’t want to write this review. But I will, and I am, because I owe Phillipe (GM) and his crew that much - that the place their work at is always full. For that is their wish, and I fully understand. All packages come with breakfast and dinner included and boy do they feed you. You don’t really need to eat lunch. The food is all locally sourced - I had the opportunity to walk through the farms surrounding Aiyana when on one of my trips, the boat couldn’t dock at the hotel due to high waves and had to dock a few kms away. The farms grow everything under the sun and so it makes sense why the food is so devilishly good. Dinners are quite the spectacle. They change the location and the menu often and really do things grand. On the night we arrived, it was Mauritian Indian night. We also had seafood night, African night etc. The people employed by Aiyana are mostly local villagers who were all involved in building Aiyana. You can hear the pride in their voice when they talk about laying down the bricks 10 years ago or bringing in coconut trees to plant there. Everyone has a story, and we loved listening to all of them. The service was beyond exceptional. We only spent 5 days there but when we left, we felt like we were saying goodbye to family. You become that close to them! It’s also clear Phillipe runs a tight operation. One day, we had a little miscommunication where the captain told us we were going snorkeling in the afternoon but took another couple instead. Phillipe, Prakash, and the other crew made sure the next day, we got more than what we signed up for - they doubled our excursion time, loaded the boats with goodies and drinks, and made sure we were well taken care of. We had the pleasure then of spending the day with Hajji, one of the captains. What an incredible guy! He is 27 now but started working at Aiyana when he was 16. A true man of the sea, he dove in and out of the rough water with ease to bring out sea creatures in bad snorkeling conditions. He was entertaining on board and went above and beyond to provide good service. It was clear he was doing this because of pride for Aiyana. You rarely see people working at a place with such pride for a place. It makes sense - they built it - it’s their resort! There’s no wifi in the rooms (unless you pay extra) and no cell signal so it’s a perfect way to unplug from the world. Again - that may not be what you want but that is what we wanted. I am sad we live so far away in LA because if we lived in Europe or in the Middle East, we would visit Aiyana every single year! Thank you Aiyana and thank you Pemba! Your beautiful people and culture really made us happy. We are grateful.
Complete perfection in an amazing location
This is the most perfect resort located on the most beautiful island with the friendliest people. It takes an extra couple hours to get there from Zanzibar but I could not recommend making the trip more. It is so much more low key and beautiful than Zanzibar with no one hassling you on the beach. The architecture and level of finishes in the whole resort is impeccable and the best I’ve seen. They make the excursions so easy and affordable and I cannot recommend this place more. This is pure luxury in the middle of paradise. The food was incredible every single time too. We had a fantastic 3 week honeymoon and our stay here was the highlight of it.
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