Jafferji House

Jafferji House: Our full report

10 rooms and suites
Traveller's rating
Good (86%) From 16 reviews
Adult atmosphere, but accepts children.
All year

Opened in 2012, Jafferji House is a boutique hotel located in the heart of Stone Town. This building was the childhood home of locally renowned photographer, publisher and tour operator, Javed Jafferji. He wanted to transform his home into a hotel without losing its historic charm and style.

Entering the reception lobby from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Stone Town, you'll feel instantly relaxed. The blend of deep reds and yellows, gold furnishings and wooden floors works really well, and the outcome is warm and homely, luxurious without being too over the top. Intriguing ornaments such as a lamp base made from a twisted tree trunk and intricate carvings add further interest.

Jafferji House has been finished with the same pride and attention to detail with which Javed Jafferji applies to his masterful photography and the overall effect is both interesting and artistic. Indeed, his pictures adorn the walls throughout the hotel, and you can happily spend some time just wandering around looking at them. They include many regognisable local scenes and images, as well as journalistic and celebrity portraits.

The two restaurants at Jafferji House are on the ground floor and roof terrace, and Swahili styled, with silk fabric covering the ceiling, and beautifully carved chairs. The ground floor 'Mistress of Spices' restaurant, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the rooftop serves breakfast and is then open from 12 noon to 10pm.

Each of the hotel's ten suites is unique – named after iconic people in Zanzibar's history, or island themes.

There are five Signature or Standard Suites, three Superior Suites and two Superior Deluxe Suites.

On the first floor:

  • Spices House Suite (Signature Suite)
  • Zanzibar Kabisa Suite (Signature Suite)
  • Stanley Suite (Signature Suite)
  • Out of Africa Suite (Superior Suite)
  • Adnan's Suite (Superior Suite)

On the second floor:
  • Livingstone suite (Signature Suite)
  • Princess Salme's Suite (Superior Suite)
  • Mercury Suite (Signature Suite)
  • Kama Sutra Superior Suite (Superior Suite)
  • Jafferji's Sultan suite (Superior Deluxe Suite)

The bright and bold colours in the Freddie Mercury Suite reflect his personality, and Queen posters hang on the wall. The Princess Salme suite is lavishly decorated, much like the houses she would have lived in as a child: light and airy, with steps up to the bathroom and a large sunken bath, stained-glass windows and a large four-poster bed. Out of Africa is safari-themed, with wildlife photos and appropriate print fabrics. The Kama Sutra Suite features a beautifully lit and rather flamboyant décor and erotic wall carvings around the outdoor bath (beware: you're somewhat overlooked). And Jafferji's Sultan Suite is perhaps the piece de résistance of Jafferji House, the highlights being a large, brass, stand-alone bath in the lounge, an outdoor rooftop shower and sweeping views of Stone Town's rooftops from the windows and extensive balcony.

No matter which room you stay in, they're all very spacious, and well designed to a high standard. The furniture is sourced from around the world, meaning each piece is distinctive, and individual. Some rooms are designed as a twin, whilst others have queen sized or double Zanzibari beds; the larger suites can easily accommodate up to three people. Each room has a flat-screen satellite TV, air-conditioning and fans, WiFi and an electronic safe, but it's the small touches such as coffee-table books, and Zanzibari chests dotted around which really make this place stand out.

Directly opposite Jafferji House is the Cinnamon Spa; here they offer a range of treatments which include massages, scrubs and facials. Beauty products are produced using natural and local ingredients to leave you feeling totally relaxed. It has two pedicure chairs, a roll-top bath and a breezy massage room. Treatments are reasonably priced – with a Swedish massage costing around $65, an hour-long body scrub around US$75, and a scented bath about US$30.

Our view

Jafferji House is an excellent recent addition to Stone Town's boutique hotels. With a good location, great design, friendly staff and comprehensive facilities, we think that it offers great value for money. For a relatively luxurious option with a real sense of character, then this is a good choice.


Location: Stone Town, Zanzibar

Ideal length of stay: Many people stop in Stone Town just for one night, but you could easily spend 2 to 3 nights here exploring Stone Town.

Directions: Stone Town is about a ten-minute drive from Zanzibar Airport, which in turn is about 20 minutes’ flight from Dar es Salaam.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Javed Jafferji

Staff: Front of house manager, Mwamabaraka Muhamed.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: B&B

Food quality: On our last trip in 2017 we sampled the food at Jafferji House several times, both on the ground floor Mistress of Spices restaurant next to the lobby, and also the rooftop restaurant for dinner. Both restaurants serve an al à carte menu which feature a range of international and locally influenced dishes.

On our most recent visit breakfast consisted of a platter of fresh fruit and pastries, this was followed by a cooked breakfast with eggs cooked to your preference.

We ate dinner at the rooftop restaurant which has some of Stone Town’s best views, overlooking the House of Wonders and the sea beyond. We enjoyed a tasty Swahili style curry that included fresh vegetables and cooked green bananas; this was served with chapatti. The food was well spiced and very tasty. Also on the menu were several western dishes such burgers and fish goujons.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15

Drinks included: Drinks are not included.

Further dining info: The staff will happily set up a table so you can dine in your own room in private.

Special interests

Honeymoons: A night or two in one of the very romantic suites at Jafferji House, with a private dinner in your room, and a massage in the rooftop spa, would be a superb way to finish a honeymoon in Zanzibar. Enjoy the historic Arab charm of the boutique house, and expect friendly service!

See more ideas for Honeymoons in Zanzibar

Cultural experiences: Jafferji House is, in itself, somewhat of a cultural experience. Owned by the renowned photographer, publisher and gallery-owner Javed Jafferji, the hotel was his childhood home and is full of traditional character and historic charm.

See more ideas for Cultural experiences in Zanzibar


Attitude towards children: Jafferji House does not actively encourage children, although there are no specific age restrictions.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no specific age restrictions.

Special activities & services: There are no special services.

Equipment: There is no special equipment.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There is a backup generator.

Communications: There is free WiFi throughout the hotel and cellphone signal available on the rooftop, or out in the street.

TV & radio: Each room has a DSTV TV.

Water supply: Mains

Water supply notes: Bottled drinking water is supplied to each room.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: Jafferji House has a first aid kit on site and staff stated that some of them are first-aid-trained.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Fire safety: Jafferji House has fire extinguishers in all the main areas.


Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge of about $2.50 per item.

Money: There are safes in each of the rooms.

Accepted payment on location: Jafferji House accepts both cash and card payments. You can pay with Tanzanian shillings, US dollars, euros or pounds. It is also possible to pay with either Visa or Master Card, although there is a 5% surcharge for card payments.

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