Reviews of Sultan Palace
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Utterly Divine Sultan Palace
We adored the Sultan Palace, it was everything that we had looked and hoped for. My husband and I went for a period of 7 nights over the Christmas period. We wanted a quiet, secluded, exclusive place with very little to do except to enjoy being by the ocean, excellent accommodation, and excellent food. Paola, Paolo, their team and the Sultan Palace delivered all of this and more. It was quite exceptional.
We stayed in an Imperial Suite which was absolutely gigantic -s ee the Expert Africa website for pictures. An entrance foyer, a huge curving bedroom, a separate large dressing room with plenty of hanging and storage space (which is so often not thought of or provided), and an enormous bathroom and (similarly enormous) separate room containing the loo. The whole suite was bright thanks to the many windows which nonetheless could be easily shuttered against the sunshine, and at night. The suite was exquisitely and very tastefully furnished in lovely materials and antique furniture.
Breakfast is on the top floor of the main thatched building, outside on the covered terrace, overlooking the sea. Lunch is held down at the beach bar, at separate tables set under a covered roof, and dinner is again at tables outside on the upstairs terrace under the thatched roof of the main building. The service is very good, although at times it is obvious that some of the younger waiters don't understand everything (when we were there, quite a spread of nationalities were represented, so it is not just English that the staff have to understand). However, they beetle off and ask one of the other waiters who come in their place. Nothing is ever a problem. The food was very good. Bountiful fresh fish at both lunch and dinner, but with other choices too, including a vegetarian option (usually Italian pasta or rice dishes) which was equally delicious.
There is a good choice of good wines, and the cocktail bar is similarly well stocked (prices are not cheap, but the wines and spirits sold are of good quality and the stuff does have to be brought a long way). The fresh fruit juices were simply to die for.
Without exception, all of the staff were quietly and unobtrusively friendly, smiling and welcoming even wishing us "Merry Christmas" on Christmas Day (this is a country with 95% Muslim population), and writing "Happy Christmas" in large letters in the sand on the beach.
All in all, we can't think of a single thing that disappointed us. Paola and Paolo have simply thought of everything, and everything is executed in the very best of taste, style, understated elegance and sophistication.
A small hotel with a personalized service
This hotel would probable not have been my first choice, mainly because of the decoration of the lobby and the rooms. We also felt it was too quiet. However, we were upgraded to an imperial Suite and the attention of Paola made us change our mind. Paola and her staff were extremely nice and went out of their way to make us feel comfortable all the time. The food was excellent!!!
If I had to plan my trip again, i would probably have chosen to stay here a few days and then go to a hotel in the north area, which we visited and felt were more lively.
Sultan Palace review
This is a stunningly beautiful hotel overlooking an almost deserted piece of beach. The main hotel building is gorgeous and our ocean suite was lovely, sitting in attractive, well maintained grounds and with a fantastic view of the sea. We had a huge balcony with loungers which overlooked the ocean and spent a large part of every day relaxing on it.
In fact you are almost spoilt for choice as to where to relax. Do you hang out by the infinity pool, overlooking the ocean, or stroll down to the beach area which was so deserted as to feel private or do you just hang out on your balcony? We did a bit of each every day! The hotel only has 15 rooms so with an average of 30 guests and very large grounds, you never felt cramped or overrun.
Paola was an incredibly attentive host, taking time to talk to every guest at breakfast and dinner, to make sure they were happy and enjoying their stay. I don't think I have ever seen a hotel manager take so much time with their guests. This approach seemed to rub off on the staff, all of whom were friendly, helpful and eager to please.
There was good attention to detail with fresh flowers having been placed in our suite on arrival and fresh flowers on the tables each evening. You could also eat your breakfast and dinner outside on the high level restaurant veranda which significantly improved the ambiance and romance of each meal.
There were only a few small issues, neither of which detracted from our stay. The first was that the credit card machine was not working and had not been repaired by the time we left (6 nights later). Thanks to Expert Africa's advice we had taken significantly more cash on holiday than normal as we had not expected to be able to pay by card in Rwanda - but we hadn't expected any problems at our Tanzanian resort. This meant a little juggling of finances as our extras bill at the hotel alone was over 300 USD (we had drinks at the bar before dinner as well a bottle of wine with dinner each evening). Added to that, John's diving at the local dive centre also had to be paid for in cash, so at one point we were worried about running out of cash. We had enough in the end but it wasn't an ideal situation and if we had been told in advance about the problem we could have tried to get more cash before leaving Stone Town.
The other issue was the food. Firstly let me put this into context by saying that it was consistently delicious and very plentiful. The chef was very good and we enjoyed every meal we had - but there was only one day where we had a choice of main course at dinner. The rest of the time there was no choice so if you felt like eating something other than what was on the menu, you were stuck. We are aware of the challenges of catering for a small operation such as this but wondered if you could offer more choice and ask guests to pick from two or three main courses at breakfast so you can avoid any wastage.
But despite those little points it is by far the most beautiful hotel on that stretch of beach and we really enjoyed our time there. We would happily recommend it to friends and family.