Beyt al Salaam: Our full report
Beyt al Salaam, previously Beyt al Chai, changed owners in 2014 and was completely refurbished at the time.
The Beyt al Salaam is a small boutique hotel which is relaxed and peaceful, and a favourite amongst our travellers. The building itself is beautiful, with thick stone walls, large shuttered windows and a grand staircase winding up through the middle. Originally built by an Arab merchant, the Beyt al Salaam was a popular meeting place, where people would gather together to drink spiced tea. Its name, meaning 'house of peace', is reminiscent of these times, when the ritual of tea drinking and relaxation was a significant part of the Zanzibari culture.
The hotel only has six en-suite rooms – these are spread over three floors, each with a different name and style. The rooms are large and full of character with high ceilings, authentic Zanzibari furniture and vibrant silk fabrics covering the windows and beds. One feature of Zanzibari beds is that they are slightly higher off the ground than other beds you might be used to.
There is a large lounge on the first floor of Beyt al Salaam, which has two sofas covered with lots of cushions. They look so comfortable, it is impossible to resist relaxing on them with a book for a little bit! Enjoy a drink here from the honesty bar (local and imported alcohol) or across the small square from Beyt al Salaam is the Serena Inn: convenient to stroll across the road for afternoon tea or a sundowner.
There's also a new, highly-regarded restaurant on the ground floor which is always popular. The décor is traditional with white walls and alcoves filled with beautiful local ornaments. Across the ceiling, is an elaborately-carved beam and the stone floors and shuttered windows enhance the authentic atmosphere. The food lives up to the setting, with a mix of local delicacies combined with other African and world influences. You can sit and watch Stone Town pass you by as enjoy the varied and tasty menu. Though it's strongly advised to book for dinner.
However, there are also an array of restaurants and bars nearby, where you can get fresh fish, Italian food, Zanzibari food or standard international cuisine – and the Serena Inn is right opposite. (See both on a clear satellite map of Stone Town here.)
This hotel has a lovely atmosphere and we found staying here a real pleasure many years ago. The team then were friendly and welcoming, and because the hotel is so small it felt really homely. We have not been back to the hotel since it changed hands but we have high expectations.
- Stone Town, Zanzibar
- Ideal length of stay
- Two nights if you really want to explore Stone Town.
- 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 Beyt al Chai.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- All meals are served in the main restaurant which is open to the public for lunch and dinner.
Breakfast is served between 8 – 10 am and consists of fresh fruit juice, a plate of fruit, cereal, toast and a cooked breakfast. Lunch is served from 12:00 to 15:30 and dinner is served from 18:00 to 22:00 and is a fine-dining experience, with a mixture of European and Swahili dishes.
Seafood features strongly, along with local specialities such as creamy banana soup!
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome at Beyt al Salaam.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions at the Beyt al Salaam.
- Special activities & services
- There are no special activities for children at the Beyt al Salaam.
- Cots are available on request.
- Generally recommended for children
- The Beyt al Salaam is a small welcoming hotel, which is lovely for families with older children.
- There are no communication facilities for guests staying at the Beyt al Salaam. Though there are plenty of internet and phone places nearby – all of which are relatively cheap.
- TV & radio
- There is no TV or radio at the Beyt al Salaam.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The Beyt al Salaam can call a nearby doctor in case of a medical situation.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- There are always two askaris (watch-men) on the front door of the Beyt al Salaam.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in all of the corridors.
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is an extra charge – when we were there last it was $1-2 per item.
- There are no exchange facilities at the Beyt al Salaam itself, however the team will happily direct you to a nearby bureau which is reliable and has a good rate.
- Accepted payment on location
- You can pay for any extras using US dollars, Tanzanian shillings, GB pounds and euros cash, as well as Visa & Mastercard.
Room types at Beyt al Salaam
There are three Prince Rooms at the Beyt al Salaam, all of which are of a decent size and extremely comfortable. They each have views out across the square, a spacious en-suite bathroom and air-conditioning.
When we were last there the room Beyt el Sahel was decorated in natural green colours, with a large Zanzibari bed, a small sofa and writing desk.
The Beyt al Hukum is also a relatively large room which is beautiful and bright. It has highly polished wooden floors, a large Zanzibari bed and is decorated in soft blue colours.
Beyt al Ras is the only room at Beyt al Chai which has twin beds. It is decorated with green walls and soft furnishings, with stone floors and dark Zanzibari furniture.
The en-suite bathrooms all have a hot-and-cold shower, a flush toilet and a sink.
The Princess Room also known as the Beyt al Dal, is beautifully decorated, with highly polished floors, Zanzibari furniture and bright soft furnishings.
It is styled with high quality soft furnishings and has air-conditioning; though unfortunately it is set at the back of the hotel so doesn't have a view. It is also very small; we don't recommend it to our travellers.
The Princess Room has a small en-suite bathroom which is nicely painted and spotlessly clean. The hot-and-cold shower is molded out of stone and there is a flush toilet and a sink.
There are two Sultan rooms at Beyt al Salaam and these are the largest and most spectacular of all the rooms. Both have air-conditioning and mosquito nets as well as plenty of space, dark Zanzibari furniture and colourful silk soft furnishings. They also share lovely views across the square in front of the hotel, through large glass windows.
The Beyt al Ajaib is beautifully styled with highly polished stone floors, deep red curtains and a matching throw spread across the double bed. There is a pair of comfortable lounge chairs and a table in the room, as well as a Zanzibari wardrobe for hanging your clothes. The en-suite bathroom is in the corner of the room, with a fantastic stone corner bath, a toilet and a sink.
The second Sultan Room, the Beyt al Chai, is also a beautiful room. It is decorated in blue colours, with Zanzibari furniture, including a huge double bed. The large en-suite bathroom has a flush toilet, a sink and a huge hot-and-cold shower.
Other lodges in Stone Town
Alternative places to stay in this same area.