Shooting Star is a great little owner-run hotel set in a tropical garden a few metres above a beautiful white beach, just north of Kiwengwa, on Zanzibar’s East coast. Shooting Star is a friendly place in a great setting. Standards are pretty high and there is a nicely private feel.
Guests at Shooting Star are of the sort who just want to hang out and have a good time, rather than succumb to glamour pressure. The hospitality is personal without being in your face, and the service natural. Eli, the Tanzanian owner is often wandering about chatting, making you feel at home, and the manageress Charley, a white Kenyan, is a charming and friendly hostess.
Food is simple and tasty - with a limited menu choice, but always including fresh fish or seafood.
At Shooting Star, the whole place has been well thought out and cosily designed. It's the lovely pool that takes a prize, though: not that big, but perfectly formed: curling around, and over, the edge of the bluff, genuinely infinity with the colours of the cooling waters blending into the outrageously turquoise blues of the ocean below. One could (and did) loll there for hours, watching the sea dhows sail out beyond the breakers, and fishermen combing the reef.
Shooting Star has a stylish whitewashed bar that serves great fresh juice and cocktails, joined to a sociable lounge area, which is thatch-roofed, but open on all sides, allowing the tropical sea breeze to waft through. Right next this is an open dining platform, with simple tables and chairs, and garden on two sides. These areas do lack a bit of space and privacy, and there's nowhere to have a really peaceful bask, but luckily you have your private verandahs for that, or you can head to their nicely rickety driftwood bar on the beach below.
Kiwengwa beach, which Shooting Star basks above, is one of the nicest on the island: long flat and expansive. Though it is popular- a few large hotels have, for good reason, chosen to site themselves along this stretch also - it is plenty of beach and doesn't feel the slightest bit crowded. Turtles still lay their eggs in its sand and local life - fishing and seaweed farming - still continues to set the pace - a very gentle one.