The Zanzibar Coffee House is set in the heart of Stone Town.
Zanzibar Coffee House: Our full report
The small Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel sits above a coffee shop down one of Stone Town's narrow streets. All their coffee comes from the owner's plantation in southern Tanzania. The beans are roasted on site at the hotel, and as a result the entire hotel has a lovely aroma.
Zanzibar Coffee House has few of the usual facilities you might expect from a hotel; there are no phones or internet connections; there's no television or radio; and there's no swimming pool. However, all of these are within easy reach if you need them – and we found that the lack of these commercial touches resulted in the hotel having a really calm and relaxed atmosphere.
The Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel has a wonderful little coffee shop on the ground floor as you first enter. The coffee shop attracts a mix of locals, tourists and expats, so the atmosphere is usually friendly and buzzing. Delicious home-made fresh croissants, cakes, muffins, and cookies sit behind glass display cases whilst fresh coffee, smoothies and milkshakes are also on offer.
The café is decorated in a traditional Swahili style, with arched doorways, heavy wooden furniture and polished stone floors. Whilst a little table with hand-painted tiles displays ground coffee for sale. The coffee shop is a lovely quaint place, which is perfect for a drink and a snack. It isn't open past 5.30 in the evening, so there will never be any disturbance caused to the guests.
Behind the coffee shop, set to one side of a small courtyard is the roasting room. This cooled air-conditioned room is where all of the coffee is stored, roasted and then ground – coffee lovers will be in heaven!
From the coffee shop, a set of stairs leads up to the 8 guest rooms, and then up onto the roof-top restaurant. The restaurant is reached through an outdoor terrace and there are large French windows on all sides, which means that you can enjoy the view in all directions. This is a real feature: the views from here are fantastic – you can see for miles across the roofs of Stone Town.
The roof-top restaurant is furnished with very low (almost floor-level) chairs, all covered in comfortable cushions. Between pairs of these are little tables for two which face in to the centre of the room, in traditional Swahili style.
The rooms at the Zanzibar Coffee House are all of a reasonable size, though they do vary depending on the cost, and not all of the rooms have an en-suite bathroom. Though they are all beautifully furnished and spotlessly clean. Ask us – we can advise you on the best rooms.
Our viewThis small hotel is not flashy and stylish, but is instead wonderfully low-key and atmospheric: quiet, charming and quaint. It is one of the friendliest places that we have visited in Stone Town and is excellent value. Given the quality of its rooms and service, we regard it as being a great alternative to Stone Town's better-known mid-range hotels.
Ideal length of stay: Give yourself one or two nights to explore this fascinating town full of culture.
Directions: It takes around 35 minutes to fly to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, and then it is a further 10 minutes to Stone Town and the Zanzibar Coffee House.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Breakfast is served on the roof of the Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel, in a lovely partially open terrace, between 7.30 and 10am. Everyone sits on low cushions facing into the centre of the room, whilst they are served homemade muesli, fruit, bacon and eggs.
Lunch and an early dinner can be grabbed from the Zanzibar Coffee Shop downstairs (it closes at 5.30pm), which serves simple snacks such as burgers, baked potatoes, samosas and sandwiches.
When we visited the Zanzibar Coffee House, it was obviously a clear favourite amongst local Zanzibarians and expats. The place was full of people who had stopped to read the paper and have a coffee, or gossip over lunch. The atmosphere is relaxed and cozy, though at the same time buzzing with chatter.
The food is all homemade and very tasty and although the menu is quite simple, it is excellent value. It is also probably the best place in Stone Town for a first-rate coffee and a piece of home-made cake; we rate the fruit smoothies particularly highly! Even of you are not staying here, it is a delightful place to rest your feet for an hour or so whilst exploring Stone Town.
The roof-top area is for the use of hotel guests only so you can relax up here with a drink and enjoy the views.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at the Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel
Generally recommended for children: Yes – when we were last there, the staff were particularly attentive to a few small children in the downstairs coffee shop.
Notes: There are no special services or activities for children, however this is a very relaxed and friendly hotel which will happily welcome children to stay. There are steep stairs, so parents must keep an eye on their children.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There are no phones or internet access at the Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel, however there are plenty of internet cafés and telephone shops nearby. The staff will happily direct you, or even show you to a nearby place where you can email and make international calls.
TV & radio: There is no TV or Radio at the Zanzibar Coffee House
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: The Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel in the heart of Stone Town, there are plenty of doctors nearby as well as a private hospital that they can contact for you.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: After 5.30pm there is a night-guard on reception.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the corridors
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is an extra charge and is organized through local women from outside the hotel. They will charge a small fee and return it to you within 24 hours, depending on the weather.
Money: The Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel cannot offer any currency exchange, though they can direct you to a nearby bureau.