“Lovingly restored boutique hotel in the heart of Stone Town, with excellent craftsmanship and personal service”
The 2 top-floor suites, Honeymoon Suite (Dunia) and Palace Suite (Sherali), are the ones to go for if you can afford it. Dunia is vast and has a majestic kingsize Sultan's bed, plus a living area furnished with Zanzibari antiques. But it's the open-air bathroom which is the main attraction: its huge bath and adjacent decked balcony are well screened and perfect for enjoying sunset cocktails, amazing views, a massage, or all 3 at once. Sherali has large wooden sliding windows surrounding the room, so you not only get a view of the ocean but Stone Town as well. Décor is faintly Victorian and rather romantic, with a kingsize bed, a cushioned lounge with a divan, and a claw-footed bathtub in the middle of the room. The ensuite bathroom has double sinks, a shower and a dressing area.
The Signature Suite, Arabica, is also on the top floor and has an antique four-poster bed, a balcony and 5 big windows overlooking Stone Town's rooftops. Its semi-separate bathroom has a shower and a dressing area with a beautifully crafted Zanzibari dresser. The Grand Suites, Shaba, and Kijani, are on the floors below, and have an apartment feel, with a double bed and baraza (low sofa) in the bedroom, while the separate bathrooms boast an exquisite Sultan's bath and very large dressing area. Romantic Suites Farizah and Sultana have open bathrooms and huge balconies.
The Luxury Rooms, Nadia and Rosewood, are the smallest - and good value if you don't mind the lack of bathtub and narrower (5-foot wide) beds. Rosewood comes in soft greens; Nadia in warm gold and pale blue. Both are decorated beautifully and have a mix of patterned linens and dark wood features.
All the linen is of the highest quality; cushions and curtains are silk or organza. As the building is tall and wraps around a courtyard, with only 3 rooms on each floor, there's little room-to-room noise.
Meals are usually taken in the Palace Restaurant, although you can choose where you would like to eat. The dinner menu changes seasonally and consists of French inspired food with a Zanzibari twist. There is a real focus on serving fresh, local seafood, as well as high quality meat and a small number of vegetarian dishes. Start with char-grilled stuffed calamari followed by grilled lobster or pan-seared kingfish fillet with bacon, served with Zanzibari rice, guacamole and chilli sauce. The chef frequently offers a Swahili Experience menu, which allows guests to sample authentic Swahili cuisine. Alongside the food is a comprehensive list of specially selected wines.
Breakfasts are generous and made to order. You can expect real coffee, French toast, pancakes and eggs any way you like, or a continental buffet that includes spicy sausages. Tea and coffee can be brought to your room to ease you into the day more gently.
The cosy and welcoming Arabic Lounge and Bar serves snacks, drinks, beautifully decorated cocktails and coffees all day - perfect to come back to after a hard day's sightseeing.
Children are welcome. Children under 3 stay for free when in a baby cot.
The Grand Suites can fit an additional bed as well as a baby cot, while the Suite, the Romantic Suites and the Palace Suite are all able to accommodate an additional bed or baby cot. Luxury Rooms can fit a baby cot.