Reviews of Serena Inn
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Serena Inn review
The Serena in Stone was a really good choice. It may be a bigger hotel but is still steeped in history with great service and restful rooms.
Also the best sunsets we saw in Tanzania. Relatively expensive to eat in the hotel but this is a great way to combine the madness of Stone Town with some peace and quiet. Loads of good quality restaurants are nearby - we had lunch in the Monsoon and would have liked to have gone back for an evening meal as it was so good.
The hotel also have a private beach which is by a free 20 min shuttle so you also get to see some of Zanzibars countryside. The only thing to we aware of is that immediately next door is a HUGE Hyatt hotel currently being built around the clock. This is making the local neighbourhood less than pretty as its currently wrapped in scaffolding and tarpaulin. We also expect this when complete to ruin the views from the Serena terrace restaurant as this will tower over the top.
If you want to go, go very quickly! Hairdryer and good quality toiletries again supplied so no need to overload packing.
Best hotel in Stonetown!
We had a great last two days of our holiday in this hotel. After a rural retreat it was good to be in a lively city hotel. Colonial style hotel with an amazing large pool right on the beach edge. Lovely private balconies to our rooms and excellent air conditioning (when needed). Even though the Serena is a fairly large hotel the staff made an effort to talk to us and made sure all our needs were met. It was nice to be so centrally located and we loved our guided walk around old Stonetown.
We really enjoyed our stay at the Serena.
Serena Inn review
Perfect location for walking into local town area and shops. Staff were very very good particularly in the restaurants.
Excellent place to relax before flight home.
Serena Inn review
Good hotel, but not excellent. Service good, facilities average.
Food generally good apart from one meal where I was served raw chicken.
Best location for a stay in Zanzibar Town
Excellent hotel. Could do with a lift as stairs tiring if you are on the top floor. Pleasant room with excellent bathroom and sitting area. Rooms are too dark with no reading light. I had to use a head torch in bed! We couldn't see very much in the bedroom.
Fisherman's Tours charged much more for trips to the Spice Farm than we organised ourselves using Big Joe, the doorman. Our taxi also gave us a tour of the city and waited for us outside the cathedral and market while we explored for just over half the price Fisherman's Tours were going to charge. Fisherman's Tours would have been picking other people up on the way and leaving very early in the morning. Would therefore recommend organising one's own tour contrary to advice we were given.
The tea in the afternoon was very pleasant and we enjoyed watching the sunset from the terrace.
Serena Inn - charming
We loved the Serena Inn. At a fantastic location, a beautifully restored colonial building which reminded us of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore - only much smaller. A haven to return to after adventures out in Stone Town in the heat.
Our room was lovely, but disappointing. I had booked a Prime Room on the basis of the Serena's own description of its Prime Rooms being "exceptionally spacious". Our room (no 23) was anything but spacious. Whilst lovely, and beautifully appointed and decorated, it was exceptionally small. It had a huge king sized bed, and a wonderfully large L shaped balcony overlooking the sea with a huge hammock. But with two people and two (not very large) bags, inside the room it was a squeeze. The bathroom, again beautifully done, was so small that only one person at a time could fit in it. There was next to no storage or hanging space and nowhere to put toiletries other than on the floor under the basin in the bathroom. However, we were there only for two nights, so it wasn't too much of a problem other than my being cross because I did believe that the room would be larger than it was - a point I was particularly interested in.
We had a lovely meal at the Serena's open air roof top terrace, which overlooks the sea. The food was extremely good. However, be aware that it is a fixed price 5 course menu, something that we were not told about by reception when they offered to make a booking for us for the evening of the day we arrived. We were not the only people not to realise (to be told), that it was not a la carte. I cannot eat 5 courses, and I was not alone in that. Nowhere in the Hotel's literature was it mentioned that this was a fixed menu restaurant.
We had a very nice second evening meal in the restaurant/bar which has a varied menu and is very prettily done out.
Breakfast is in the main restaurant and is very good and generous indeed. This restaurant also looks over the sea, and has lovely wide open windows to catch the sea breeze.
Service is brisk and efficient (most of the time!), but not unfriendly.
Serena Inn showed it is the best in Stonetown
Having had a few problems at the Serena Inn in the past we were apprehensive on arrival.
However everything was great with an upgrade to a suite, great location good swimming pool and a memorable dinner over looking the sea (and Dhows) in the Terrace restaurant
A great end to our holiday
Serena Inn review
Had asked specifically for a bed with no footboard (tall husband) and this was not arranged. Hotel were very helpful and managed to change us to a room with a wider bed so it wasn't so much of a problem.
Facilities very good - lovely pool in a great setting. Food in the seafood restaurant was excellent.
Had a guided tour of Zanzibar - guide OK - again his English was difficult to understand and he did spend a portion of the excursion on his mobile phone!
Perfect Stone Town base
Before arriving at Serena we had heard what a great hotel it was. Luckily we were not disapointed.
The Serena is a beautifully restored hotel. From the lobby to the swimming pool, there is a real touch of class about the hotel.
We were upgraded for free to a prime room which had wonderful views over the pool to the Indian Ocean. The rooms are extremely comfortable and a great place to get some rest after a long day around Stone Town.
The staff all around the hotel are helpful and couldn't be more welcoming.
The food at the Serena is wonderful. The breakfasts had so much food on offer we didn't know where to start.
We also had lunch at the pool bar which was really tasty and not as expensive as we thought it would be. On our last night we booked a table at the terrance restuarant. Set overlooking the Indian Ocean, this is a beautiful place to have your last dinner on Zanzibar. The 4 course seafood dinner was cooked to perfection and I will never forget the dessert!
Overall I would definatley say the Serena is the place to saty in Stone Town and would definately return.
Good base for short stay in Stone Town
We only stayed one night here - so that we could see Stone Town and also so that we would not have so far to travel in the early morning to get the flight back to Dar (to connect with the BA flight to Heathrow). Even so, we had to be collected at 5am! But do be aware if you have to do the same thing that our wake-up call did not materialise. Fortunately we had ordered room service breakfast which DID arrive so we had just enough time to get ready before our lift arrived.
The hotel was fine although a bit 'sanitised' and full of well-heeled tourists. We had a standard room but had requested a large double bed which we got. It was right off the main lobby which was a bit noisy but was comfortable though, with good air-conditioning. We had lunch in the hotel when we arrived which was pretty standard fare, so decided to go out for dinner and had just about the best meal of the holiday in the Beyt al Chai Hotel which was opposite the Serena Inn - it was wonderful with the most amazing crab and coconut soup and red snapper with spiced mango!