Kholle House: Our full report
After three years of restoration work, Kholle House opened its doors in 2011 as one of Stone Town’s boutique hotels.Situated right in the heart of the town, it manages to retain a lot of character with very reasonable prices.
Kholle House is named after Princess Kholle, the daughter of the first Sultan of Zanzibar, who built it in 1860 as a place to keep her prized collection of treasures and to entertain friends and visitors to the island. It was originally two separate houses, but these have now been knocked together, although some original features, doors and furniture remain. Kholle House has been tastefully restored using traditional materials, and local Zanzibari artists and craftsmen have created bespoke pieces that compliment the antique furniture.
Each of the ten bedrooms at Kholle House has been individually decorated, using dark wood antique furniture and traditional fabrics which help to maintain a sense of history. Warm yellows, pinks and reds have been used on the walls and in the soft furnishings, adding plenty of colour and interest.
Kholle House has three different bedroom types. The four Prestige and three Deluxe rooms both have a queen-size bed with mosquito net, en-suite bathroom with a hammam bath, air conditioning and ceiling fan, and WiFi. In addition, the Prestige Rooms have a seating area and private balcony.
Smaller than the other room types are the two Classic Rooms, which have a double bed and en-suite bathroom, plus air conditioning; one even comes with a balcony. These rooms feel considerably smaller than either the Prestige or Deluxe Rooms; given that Kholle House is one of the more affordable Stone Town hotels we would recommend spending a little extra for a larger room.
Kholle House has a small rooftop Swahili-style lounge, offering panoramic views of Stone Town and the Indian Ocean from the traditional floor-level cushions. In the evenings this space becomes a rooftop restaurant where they serve a tasty three course Zanzibari meal.
Downstairs is a bright and airy breakfast room where light snacks, tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks are also available. Outside is pretty walled garden with a small swimming pool. Pools are something of a rarity in Stone Town, especially in the smaller hotels, so this is a real bonus, especially on hotter days. Next to the pool you can also find a small lounge area with a baraza bench and colourful cushions.
Kholle House is a delightful addition to Stone Town's collection of small hotels. For budget-conscious travellers who wish to experience traditional Zanzibari hospitality and Swahili design, it's a great choice.
Country manager: Zanzibar
- Stone Town, Zanzibar
- Ideal length of stay
- Two nights is ideal in order to have a full day to explore the narrow streets, museums and shops of Stone Town.
- Kholle House is located right in the heart of Stone Town – a five -minute walk from most of the sites and a ten-minute drive from the airport.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- A full cooked breakfast is offered including eggs prepared to order. For the less hungry there's toast, jam, bread, fruit, tea, coffee and fruit juices.
In the evenings the rooftop teahouse serves a three-course Swahili meal, which we hear is excellent. We are told that diners are accompanied by local musicians who will perform traditional Taarab music throughout the evening. As the rooftop is fairly small we would recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Free room service is provided.
- Drinks included
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome
- Property’s age restrictions
- Cots are available for babies
- Generally recommended for children
- The pool should keep children entertained in the heat of the afternoon, so yes, we would recommend Kholle House to families with children over the age of eight.
- Children must be supervised at all times, especially at the pool.
- Power supply notes
- Back-up generator
- There is cellphone reception in the building and free WiFi is also available.
- TV & radio
- None except for the radio in the lounge.
- Water supply notes
- Bottled water is supplied in all of the rooms.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Kholle House has a first aid kit, and several members of staff have first aid training. For more serious incidents there are many doctors and a hospital in Stone Town.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- There is a 24-hour security guard at Kholle House and staff are willing to accompany guests walking to local restaurants if they need directions or feel nervous.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are placed in the communal areas.
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- A laundry service is available for an extra charge.
- An exchange service is provided for GB pounds, US dollars and Euros but the rates are not very favourable.
- Accepted payment on location
- Cash payments may be made in US dollars and Tanzanian shillings. Credit cards are not accepted.
Other lodges in Stone Town
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Now trumped by the nearby Park Hyatt, the Serena Inn, in its historic building, was formerly Stone Town's only international-style hotel.
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.
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.
Beyt al Salaam
The Beyt al Salaam is a pleasant, boutique hotel with only six rooms and atmospheric and stylish Zanzibari décor.
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.
Emerson Spice is a beautiful small hotel in the heart of Stone Town with individually designed rooms adorned with gorgeous fabrics.
Jafferji House is a converted old house that blends modern facilities with traditional style. The ten, unique rooms are show great attention to detail.
Swahili House is a traditionally styled boutique hotel furnished to a high standard with a convenient location in the centre of Stone Town.
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.
Emerson on Hurumzi
Emerson on Hurumzi was Stone Town's first boutique hotel, featuring antique furniture, unique, stylish rooms and a superb rooftop restaurant.
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.
The Park Hyatt Zanzibar is a high-quality example of this group, with excellent facilities and service.
Maru Maru Hotel
In the heart of Stone Town, Maru Maru combines contemporary style and creature comforts with a Zanzibari twist.
The Seyyida is a characterful old hotel near the seafront in Stone Town, with the rare bonus of a swimming pool.
Kisiwa's central location in the heart of Stone Town's Shangani area makes it a great base to explore this fascinating town.