Fairmont Zimbali: Luxury Resort

All Photography by Al Nicoll Photography

The Arrival: 

Arriving at a destination resort like the Fairmont Zimbali, is like arriving in a foreign land. The last bit of the world left behind, once you enter through the boom gate. Driving along red bricked lanes, which are sheltered by thick green bush on either side, it’s almost as though, you’ve taken a turn into a nature reserve.

A little drive further down and you’re suddenly out in the open again, faced with a simply stunning, grand but simple entrance to the Fairmont Zimbali Resort.  When I say luxury is simplicity, I mean it. While we were immediately attended too by a bell boy, and our luggage effectively packed and ticketed. I didn’t feel harassed or rushed or even the need to move away from the grand entrance. With water features on each side of the entrance, a BMW bicycle rack and hot spa towel, samples at the entrance, why would I?

Eventually we did need to go inside. Al parked the car and off we ventured for what promised to be a weekend of relaxation and luxury dining. We were not left disappointed. It was all that and more. We had been to the Fairmont Zimbali before actually, almost a year to the date. To capture an amazing cocktail launch. Although I hadn’t explored the rest of the property on that occasion.

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With a 10 year hospitality career under my own sleeves, I always tend to notice the small things, I guess someone who hasn’t been in the industry wouldn’t usually? My eyes immediately set upon the concierge. Hello, Tall, Dark and Immaculately Handsome. Giggle, ladies, and gents I am not going to lie here. I don’t know where they found this fine gentlemen, but they did and he works at the Fairmont.

Now you know, it’s a pleasure. After I had stopped starring like a teenage girl, I actually managed to ask the gentleman a question and was helped immediately. I must mention that all the staff at the Fairmont Zimbali were amazing through out our stay. There was that one incident where I wasn’t too impressed, but that was quickly sorted out.

I’d lost Al at this point of course, turns out he was busy taking Instagram stories of our arrival. You cant take a photographer or a writer and social media lover anywhere, can you? I think half of our trip was spent telling each other to relax. Ha ha ha ha. I guess when you’re also passionate about something, it falls into your life, whether you’re in studio, at the office or home on the couch.

The Accommodation:

With our room ready, we went to see just exactly what all the fuss was about, people are always talking about the “views from the rooms”. It took me all of five minutes to find the sliding doors on the balcony, open them wide and stand in awe and amazement. I think that’s the moment my holiday started. Ocean views as far as my eyes could see.

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The beautiful orange Tuscan style roofs of the villa’s, pool bars, and activity areas below, complimented by gardens and lush greenery in every corner. All I could hear were the waves crashing against each other, and birds were swooping down from above us, to settle on the grass below. People could be seen although very far away, lazying on pool lounges, sipping cocktails, jogging on the pathways, and that was about it. No cars, no hustling and bustling city goers. Just this quiet, separated world of serene and tranquility. 

My bed, large as it was, was so comfortable. It was a tussle between never getting out of bed, and also spending forever exploring or sitting on our balcony. Those were literally the hardest choices I had to make all weekend. That and do I want the green smoothie or the red one? Yeah, I took the term “weekend away” quite literally.

Our Deluxe Suite, was well equipped with a lovely large bath, big shower and all the amenities,including some gorgeous rose bath salts, which I used the one evening.

My Tip: Run a hot bath, use the rose salts, pour yourself a glass of red wine and order the strawberry cheesecake from the main lobby. Then soak for 2 hours. Believe me its THE BEST! Especially if you open your sliding doors and close the blinds, the sound of the ocean. 

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Lunch Time:

Eventually after settling in, and unpacking my much loved American Tourister cases,  which I’v recently fallen in love with. We changed into our swim attire and headed down to the first of many pool bar excursions. By this time lunch was on our minds. I had heard that the Ayoba! restaurant was a must try for lunch. A culinary fusion of African meets Mexican cuisine was on the table and we were there too try it all.

We were joined for lunch by Angela and Candice from the Fairmont team, which made the experience all that more enjoyable, between laughing up a storm, talking about the property, the amazing conservation efforts that the brand takes to protect the environment it’s in and doing amazing cocktail balancing tricks, we had a great time.

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I seemed to be on a Mediterranean mission the entire weekend, opting for anything and everything with prawns or salmon in it at almost every meal. What? Its amazing and it goes with so much. My Marinated Prawn Salad for example at Ayoba, paired with avocado, papaya, blistered tomatoes, feta and lime yogurt dressing. What else would you want while laying poolside and catching a tan?

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And then there were also a few other flavors and amazing dishes we had to try!

My advice? Eat EVERYTHING!

Speaking of poolside lounging, after lunch and ordering our champagne picnic items for the following Sunday, we headed off to the main pool area.

Cee and water are a great combination, unless of course you want Cee to do anything else for the rest of the day? I have always been a water baby and its not something that’s going to go away any time soon. So when we hit the pool Al and I had very different agenda’s. Al, got comfortable on his lounger, ready to tan, head phones on. I on the other hand couldn’t get in the water fast enough.

Wadding through the water, exploring the incredibly large pool and eventually wounding up under the fountains. Where I then proceeded to let all inhibitions go and play under them like a 6 year old.

I was there…..forever.

Eventually the sun did start setting and it was time to head back to the room. When we walked in there was a cheese board and a bottle of Pandora’s Box red wine on our desk. It’s as though Fairmont had been handed a list of all Cee’s favorite things. 

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Sitting out on our balcony watching the sun set, the clouds turned to crimson red and burnt orange, as the waves lapped at the shore. I didn’t want to be anywhere else, other than right where I was at the moment in time.

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And then it was time for dinner….

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Dinners: 

Dinner’s are always a chance to dress up, wear the red lipstick and feel like a queen. At least at the Fairmont Zimbali Resort they are. Slipping into a LBD and some heels, we made our way down to the OSA restaurant, where we were treated to an amazing variety of flavors and textures. Kevin encouraged us to try various dishes, and sauces from their kitchen to which, we jumped in with both feet or maybe I should say hands.

Paired with a lovely red wine, our evening was spent enjoying the decor and design of the restaurant. A lovely KOI pond feature is on the deck just outside the main doors and you can hear the waves clapping together,while enjoying desert. It really doesn’t get any better than that. My tip: Try the signature butter chicken, its delicious. 

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With full bellies, we retired for the evening.

The following day I spent, pretty much doing nothing. Yes, that’s right. Okay, not entirely nothing, but I did sleep in. Something that has been foreign to my schedule for the last 4 years.

Once I had, had a lovely shower I then spent some time in the amazing GYM facilities, which over look both garden and pool features.

After freshening up I took myself to breakfast and the proceeded to lay by the pool for the rest of the day. In my books, the perfect me time.

Check out day: 

When check out day comes rolling around, no one wants to acknowledge it. On one hand, you’ve had this amazing adventure in a new place, with new people and become family, on the other hand, you know its time to go home and to preserve your special place, as special.

So that’s exactly what we did. Packing our bags in the morning, besides of course our swimwear, we checked out of the room and then headed off to breakfast.

Breakfast was such a treat every morning. I loved sitting out on the deck, looking over the main pool and watching the waves crash in the ocean. Fresh fruit, and perfectly done omelettes were my weakness.

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My Tip: Do not leave the Fairmont Resort without having one of their juice or smoothies from the breakfast bar! Seriously. 

After breakfast and a quick walk to work off our overly indulgent selves, we headed back to the concierge to collect our picnic basket.

The sun was shining, the weather was perfect. The amazing staff arranged our blankets and pillows, and set us up on a lounger near the pool. It was beautiful and the dappled light made me feel like we were in another part of the world, mainly Italy. 

Our picnic basket was well stocked, a beautiful Champagne paired with all sorts of treats, from cheeses, to stuffed olives, sautes tomatoes, pecan nut desert and many other treats. When I say we lay by the pool under the sun, eating like Kings and Queens, I mean it. It was the perfect closing to our time at the Fairmont hotel. It could not have ended in a better way. And it is by far my favorite memory of our adventure.

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And then, it really was time to say goodbye. Not for long, and the memories will last forever, besides. One has to experience the resort in Winter too right? #CeeWinterLoves17 keep your eyes peeled……

Thank you so much Fairmont Zimbali Resort for your amazing hospitality! I can’t wait to share the next 2 days of our adventures with you and all my readers!

In the mean time you can keep up to date with my latest travels on twitter at @CeecesTravel and you can follow Al at @AlNicoll.

And As Always….

#LoveAndTravelHugs

Cee

 

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