Dhow Palace Hotel

Dhow Palace Hotel: Our full report

30 rooms
Traveller's rating
Good (79%) From 39 reviews
All year

The Dhow Palace Hotel in Stone Town is a beautiful old building full of Swahili character. Originally, the building belonged to a wealthy Arab from the Omani royal family. It then remained as a private house until nineteen years ago, when it was fully renovated and became a hotel. The original structure is 150 years old (an extension was added several years ago) and the Dhow Palace still houses many antiques from the era of Arabian rule.

The Dhow Palace Hotel sits amongst the streets of Shangani, in the heart of Stone Town. It isn't by the sea, but from the rooftop restaurant there are some wonderful views across the multi-coloured iron roofs of Stone Town. It is an Islamic hotel, owned by the same people that own the Tembo Hotel and is alcohol free. Though there are plenty or nearby bars and restaurants where you can stop for a drink.

Built around two central courtyards, the Dhow Palace Hotel is relatively small, though it does have a central swimming pool, a pool table, and a table-football table. The pool is of a reasonable size and always has a few people lounging around it to cool off. Surrounding it is a red-tiled floor and lovely stone seats, one of which was occupied by the resident cat on our last visit. It is a great hotel for families and when we were last there, there were a number of families staying so the atmosphere was quite bustling and fun. To the side of the pool is a small games area with a pool table and a table-football table. This seems to be where most of the children hang out to compete against each other for championship titles! The adults can then relax to the side of this, where there is a lovely lounge area furnished with Zanzibari antiques.

The rooms tower up on either side of these two courtyards, and are reached by two sets of stairs. Along the wide corridors are some fascinating pieces of furniture, including an antique gramophone, and even an old upright piano!

There is also a lovely rooftop restaurant which serves a variety of fairly good international cuisine – though the main reason for dining here would be to enjoy the view - the open-sided terrace is wonderful on a bright day as you can see right across Stone Town and over roofs to the ocean.

The hotel has 29 Standard Suites and one slightly larger and grander Presidential Suite. All of the rooms are furnished with a mixture of locally crafted Zanzibari furniture, and items imported from India. The rooms are not spectacular or particularly large, but they are very comfortable and full of character and charm.

Our view

The Dhow Palace Hotel is one of the more charming hotels that we saw in Stone Town. It is very atmospheric, friendly and welcoming. For the quality of service, standard of room and general feel of this excellent mid-range hotel – it is great value.


Location: Stone Town, Zanzibar

Ideal length of stay: 1 or 2 nights to give you time to explore Stone Town.

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 Dhow Palace Hotel.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Bed & Breakfast

Food quality: Breakfast is served between 7.00am until 9.30am. It is a buffet style breakfast consisting of fruit, cereal, tea & coffee and eggs of your choice. For the adventurous there are also a few 'mandazis' to nibble on – these are essentially a Tanzanian version of the doughnut!

Lunch is served from 12 until 3pm, and is a simple snack menu with a variety of sandwiches, salads, chips etc to choose from. Dinner is then a more extensive 3-course a la carte menu which is available between 7pm and 9.30pm in the evening.

The menu consists of fairly standard international cuisine, with a few traditional Swahili options. Everyone should find some thing to their taste.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £15-20

Drinks included: Drinks are not included.

Further dining info: Room service is available at the Dhow Palace Hotel free of charge.

Special interests

Family holidays: The charming, great-value Dhow Palace Hotel in Stone Town offers a stay full of Swahili character during your Zanzibar family holidays. Expect a pool, a table-football table, cots and high chairs and friendly service! Under-fives stay free.

See more ideas for Family holidays in Zanzibar


Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at the Dhow Palace

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions at the Dhow Palace Hotel - though children under 5 years can stay for free.

Special activities & services: There are no special services or activities for children.

Equipment: Cots and highchairs are available on request.

Notes: This is a great hotel for children, as there are plenty of things to keep them occupied during their stay. Though parents should be aware, that their children are their own responsibility for the duration of their stay.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Communications: The Dhow Palace Hotel has phones in all of the rooms which can be used to order room service. There is free Wifi throughout the hotel and there is also a computer that can be used in the reception.

TV & radio: There is a TV in all of the rooms with local and international channels.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The Dhow Palace Hotel is in Stone Town where there are plenty of doctors as well as a private hospital nearby.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: There are guards by the hotel doors around the clock.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all of the passages.


Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: The laundry is an extra charge – when we were last there it was between $1 -2 per item.

Money: At the Dhow Palace Hotel you can exchange dollars, pounds and euros. The Dhow Palace cannot exchange travellers' cheques.

Accepted payment on location: You can pay for any extras in pounds, euros, dollars and shillings cash. Visa and Mastercard is also accepted and there is no surcharge for this.

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