andBeyond’s private island paradise to get a fresh new look
Conservation-led luxury travel company andBeyond has announced a comprehensive refurbishment for andBeyond Mnemba Island, an island paradise situated off the north-eastern coast of Zanzibar. The lodge will be temporarily closed from 11 January and will reopen on 01 October 2024.
Renowned for its natural sense of exclusivity, Mnemba’s trademark brand of barefoot luxury is set to be fully re-imagined, ensuring its intimate and relaxed island charm undergoes a few exciting improvements. Undertaken by long-time andBeyond collaborators Fox Browne Creative and Nicholas Plewman Architects, the refurbishment will retain the casual and sophisticated feel of the island while adding a touch of additional elegance. Drawing inspiration from nature, the design will reflect the form of the nautilus shell, while the interiors will maintain the lodge’s current natural colour palette, punctuated by vibrant coral accents. The lodge structure will continue to incorporate coral stone, with the addition of traditional Lamu plaster. Rooted in the vibrant culture and essence of Zanzibar, the design will breathe new life into the property with its contemporary touches and gracious antiques.
Changes to the lodge’s main areas will result in a space that is even more warm and welcoming, providing the opportunity for guests to either enjoy additional areas to socialise or to seek out the privacy of secluded corners. The expansion of the existing bar area into a coffee and juice bar by day and cocktail area by night will provide even more opportunities for friendly chatter before activities and meals. The addition of a mezzanine level to the dining area will not only provide an added area for private dining but also optimise the views over the azure Indian Ocean. New design elements will allow for dining spaces to be enclosed in the event of inclement weather, while guests will still be able to enjoy the island’s well-loved experience of dining with feet in the sand. An inner courtyard will be utilised for torch-lit dinners with a distinct Swahili influence.
Inspired in shape by the nautilus shell, twelve new beach bandas will offer additional space for comfort, with a new design that retains the feeling of being open to nature while still offering the ultimate in privacy. Each banda will boast two entrances, one directly from the beach and the other from the island’s interior forest. Floor-to-ceiling louvred blinds will provide the options for bedrooms to either be closed off or remain open to the cooling sea breezes. A brand-new interior design will combine the much loved shells and beads of the current bandas with sleek and sophisticate new touches. A new Family Banda, comprising a full suite with an interleading smaller room and bathroom, will cater for those travelling with younger children.
In line with an increasing focus on wellness, the Wellness Banda will offer two treatment rooms and an outdoor yoga deck with daily classes now included in the offering. Mnemba’s popular menu of Healing Earth wellness treatments will be supplemented with a range of ever-changing alternative therapies that will include reiki, reflexology, singing bowls, sound bath, meditation and more.
A brand-new Dive Centre will be expanded to offer the opportunity for even more island activities, some of which will include all-day dhow cruises, hydrofoil bikes, catch-and-release fishing, kayaking, a selection of beach games and more. A dive propulsion vehicle will enable scuba diving guests to explore even more of the coral reefs surrounding the island, while GoPro cameras will be available to anyone wanting to capture underwater memories.
Adjacent to the Dive Centre will be an interpretive centre showcasing the conservation and community programmes run by Oceans Without Borders, a collaboration between andBeyond and Africa Foundation that is dedicated to marine conservation and community development. Guided by andBeyond’s focus on conservation, many of the activities on the island, especially those aimed at children, will promote awareness of Zanzibar’s exceptional marine environment and the need to protect it. For example, young guests will be invited to join the island’s turtle monitors on morning walks to check for evidence of turtle nests being dug and eggs laid. They can also accompany the island’s chefs as they inspect the daily catch ad educate local fishermen to ensure that no rare or endangered species are caught. Older children can even assist with land-based activities carried out by the team responsible for Mnemba’s coral reef restoration project. Guests of all ages will also be able to take part in community visits on mainland Zanzibar or join in conservation lessons taught at local schools.
andBeyond Mnemba Island will reopen to guests from 01 October 2024.