“A stylish hotel, where warm minimalism combines with beautiful Zanzibari detailing and great service”
The rooms are consistently glorious. Each is different in terms of layout, but all have a coherent style. Decor is neutral - from cream to sand to charcoal - but there's enough detailing to avoid the tedium of minimalism-by-numbers.
When we visited we were lucky enough to see every room, and there genuinely isn’t a bad one - they all have great features and atmosphere. Some rooms have beautiful views, others are spilt-level spaces that feel like chic Swahili apartments.
The more expensive Forodhani rooms have the best sea views and are very spacious, with private balconies or seating areas. However, the Darajani rooms, with stunning traditional features, are still excellent.
Bed linen, towels and robes are all cool, crisp whites, then most rooms have decorative accents - from tables adorned with gold leaf, to stucco carvings and cushions in rich, vibrant textiles. Bathrooms have power showers, and you also get tea and coffee making facilities and a fridge, plus air con and atmospheric lighting.
There can be a bit of noise at night because the hotel is in a busy area of town, but it is just passing noise and the comfortable beds are a great aid to slumber. For those who can't switch off, there are writing desks and free WiFi.
Breakfast is served until 11am, with fresh pains aux chocolat, croissants, ciabatta and rolls. Guests can also have fresh juice, pancakes, cooked eggs, bacon and sausages, as well as yoghurt with fresh fruit such as mango, pineapple and papaya. If you get peckish later on, there's an in-house tea lounge called Aroma, where guests can relax and fill up on fresh pastries, coffee and tea throughout the day for free.
The hotel has a small kitchen and therefore no restaurant as such, but guests can pre-order dishes for either dinner or lunch. Dinner consists of a 3 course set menu which tends to have 3 choices per course (book in advance) and there is a light lunch menu too. The menu varies and can include local seafood (lobsters or giant prawns), skewered meats, curries or freshly made pasta. Since we visited an evening tapas menu has been added. The rooftop Kusi Bar, where meals are eaten, is perched above town with great vistas and a range of tempting sundowners; we loved the margaritas.
Most guests will want to explore the nearby restaurants - from fine dining at Beyt Al Chai, to affordable fresh fish at Archipelago or stylish Italian at House of Spice, to tasty Indian with a Swahili twist at Silk Route. The hotel is also a stone’s throw from Forodhani Gardens, where a bustling street food market offers local delicacies such as Zanzibar pizza (a pancake-omelette hybrid with a choice of fillings) and fresh sugar cane juice.
Children are welcome at the hotel, but the grown-up atmosphere might not suit all families. Hazards include lots of stairs, although older children would enjoy the great location. A babysitting service is available and baby cots and rollaway beds are available on request.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available