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Stone Town
Stone Town
Stone Town
Stone Town
Stone Town
Stone Town
Stone Town
Stone Town
Stone Town

Stone Town was constructed during the 19th century...

...and hasn’t changed much since then.

You can enjoy beautiful views of the ocean...

...and discover what remained...

...from its rich history.

Stone Town is something of a labyrinth...

...with small alleys that offer places to shop and eat.

The atmosphere is unique and romantic...

...and you can watch some beautiful sunsets over the ocean.

Stone Town

Stone Town: in detail

Stone Town trips: the full story

The heart of Zanzibar's capital, Stone Town, was constructed during the 19th century and remains largely unchanged. Labyrinths of narrow alleys lead to palaces, mosques and old Arab houses; tiny shops sell dotted tinga-tinga paintings, Zanzibari clocks and heavily adorned chests. The early-morning market on Creek Road is fabulous, as determined Zanzibaris haggle over fragrant spices, exotic fruit and enormous fish.

Stone Town is an easy place to explore on foot. You never need to travel by vehicle and indeed it's virtually impossible to get around the alleys in any other way than on foot – though determined locals wobble through on bicycles, and more recklessly on the occasional motorbike.

You should be aware that Stone Town can be noisy and there is nowhere to stay where we can guarantee silence. Five-times-daily calls to prayer from the mosques (including at dawn, and two hours before dawn), along with the hustle and bustle of town, are part of everyday life here. It's a lively, vibrant atmosphere, but don't expect tranquility.

Of the many options for staying in Stone Town, we've chosen a few of the best for you to consider in the menu on the left of this page. Some standouts include:

  • For a good-value hotel of reasonable quality with local flavour, start by looking at sister-hotels the Tembo Hotel and Dhow Palace Hotel; both offer good standards and value for money.
  • For a little more style, and still bags of authenticity, several old merchant houses have been beautifully restored: sister hotels Emerson on Hurumzi and Emerson Spice are very popular, especially with honeymooners, while Beyt al Chai is a small but bright rising star and Jafferji House is another fine conversion, with enchanting décor.
  • The Zanzibar Coffee House and Zanzibar Palace Hotel are small guest houses full of character. The café linked with the Zanzibar Coffee House is worth a visit just to sample the delicious coffee.
  • For a larger hotel, with a more cosmopolitan mix of visitors, locals and the odd expat in the bar, try the Africa House Hotel. At the top of the scale, the Zanzibar Serena Inn has genuine sea front views, but it has recently been overtaken by the huge presence of the new Park Hyatt Zanzibar which now utterly dominates the seafront at the western-most part of town.
  • If you want to stay outside town, and perhaps just travel in for a day, then Mbweni Ruins Hotel is a possibility – a reasonable small hotel in extensive gardens by the beach.
We think a two-night stay in Stone Town is perfect, and if this is your last stop in Africa, then ask us about flights from Zanzibar airport to Dar, Nairobi or hubs in Europe or the Middle East.

Where to stay in Stone Town

Our suggestions for places to stay in Stone Town


Serena Inn

Serena Inn

Now trumped by the nearby Park Hyatt, the Serena Inn, in its historic building, was formerly Stone Town's only international-style hotel.


91% (63 reviews)
Zanzibar Coffee House

Zanzibar Coffee House

The Zanzibar Coffee House is a small quiet hotel tucked away in the back streets of Stone Town, with lovely, simple rooms.


83% (63 reviews)
Zanzibar Palace Hotel

Zanzibar Palace Hotel

The Zanzibar Palace Hotel is a highly regarded boutique hotel with very personal service and just nine rooms, all of them Zanzibari in style.


90% (48 reviews)
Beyt al Salaam

Beyt al Salaam

The Beyt al Salaam is a pleasant, boutique hotel with only six rooms and atmospheric and stylish Zanzibari décor.


82% (44 reviews)
Dhow Palace Hotel

Dhow Palace Hotel

The Dhow Palace is a very good-value, mid-range hotel, full of Swahili character, and the pool makes it appealing to families.


79% (39 reviews)
Emerson Spice

Emerson Spice

Emerson Spice is a beautiful small hotel in the heart of Stone Town with individually designed rooms adorned with gorgeous fabrics.


94% (23 reviews)
Kholle House

Kholle House

Kholle House offers an atmospheric Stone Town stay in a historic building, and is very good value for money.


82% (19 reviews)
Jafferji House

Jafferji House

Jafferji House is a converted old house that blends modern facilities with traditional style. The ten, unique rooms are show great attention to detail.


81% (19 reviews)
Swahili House

Swahili House

Swahili House is a traditionally styled boutique hotel furnished to a high standard with a convenient location in the centre of Stone Town.


82% (10 reviews)
Tembo Hotel

Tembo Hotel

The Tembo Hotel is a good-value, family-friendly hotel right on the seafront in Stone Town, with 36 rooms and a good-sized swimming pool.


63% (8 reviews)
Emerson on Hurumzi

Emerson on Hurumzi

Emerson on Hurumzi was Stone Town's first boutique hotel, featuring antique furniture, unique, stylish rooms and a superb rooftop restaurant.


80% (6 reviews)
Mbweni Ruins Hotel

Mbweni Ruins Hotel

Mbweni Ruins Hotel is very convenient if you want to stay on the beach, but very close to Stone Town, or visit Chumbe Island.


92% (5 reviews)
Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt

The Park Hyatt Zanzibar is a high-quality example of this group, with excellent facilities and service.


100% (2 reviews)
Maru Maru Hotel

Maru Maru Hotel

In the heart of Stone Town, Maru Maru combines contemporary style and creature comforts with a Zanzibari twist.


80% (2 reviews)
The Seyyida Hotel

Seyyida Hotel

The Seyyida is a characterful old hotel near the seafront in Stone Town, with the rare bonus of a swimming pool.


No reviews yet
Kisiwa House

Kisiwa House

Kisiwa's central location in the heart of Stone Town's Shangani area makes it a great base to explore this fascinating town.


No reviews yet

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