Maru Maru Hotel: Our full report
Opened in 2012 following six years of renovation and refurbishment, the Maru Maru Hotel is set in the heart ...... of Zanzibar’s bustling Stone Town, right next to the Old Fort. It makes a good base from which to explore the surrounding area.
Maru Maru has two separate but connected wings: the 'classic wing', a restored town house with marble floors; and a larger new wing, which gives the hotel a clean and smart feel. The hotel’s staff are both polite and welcoming, and overall the designers have succeeded in combining modern comforts with classic Zanzibari style.
Spread across three floors, the hotel’s 51 air-conditioned rooms can be reached either by lift (quite unusual for Stone Town properties) or up a flight of stairs. The rooms – differentiated by bed size rather than room size – are made up of 16 King rooms, 24 Queen rooms, 10 Twin rooms and a family room. All are simple, stylish and elegant and kitted out with a fridge, safe, TV, mosquito nets and an en-suite bathroom. Rooms in the older building are far more traditional in feel and design than the others, each with high ceilings with wooden beams and an old hammam bath. Rooms in the newer building are similarly sized, but each of these has a modern bathroom with a walk-in shower. The newer rooms are also bright as they benefit from lots of natural light, which helps to make the place feel spacious.
The best part of Maru Maru has to be the roof terrace. From here you can enjoy 360-degree views of Stone Town, from the Old Fort to the Indian Ocean. If you want a drink whilst the sun goes down the staff at the lounge bar can make a vast selection of cocktails to enjoy up here, and the terrace restaurant serves a blend of northern and southern Indian cuisine.
Up next to the terrace restaurant, the recently built swimming pool is the only rooftop swimming pool in Stone Town, and is a lovely addition to the hotel. It is surrounded by a number of shaded loungers, and shares the restaurant’s excellent views over the old town and seafront.
A second restaurant is set in a lovely courtyard whose centrepiece is a star-shaped fountain. A buffet breakfast is served here each morning, and it’s also a great place for a coffee or a cool drink in the middle of the day.
On our last visit Maru Maru told us that they were in the process of building a small ground-floor gym. The hotel is also planting tropical gardens next to the gym, providing a peaceful spot to relax with a good book.
Activities from Maru Maru include tours of Stone Town, diving and other watersports, and visits to neighbouring islands. Please speak to one of our Tanzania specialists for more information about excursions around Stone Town and Zanzibar, and we can happily book these for you.
Maru Maru is a smart hotel with polite staff and a friendly welcome. It has a great central location, and is also one of the few properties in Stone Town with a swimming pool – and on the rooftop at that! Maru Maru is one of the more affordable properties in Stone Town, and represents good value for money. The hotel is, however, quite large, which tends to detract somewhat from its character.
- Stone Town, Zanzibar
- Ideal length of stay
- 2 nights
- Maru Maru is about a 15-minute drive from Zanzibar Airport.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- Although Maru Maru is booked on a B&B basis, its rooftop restaurant is well worth a try at at least once during your stay. The food takes its influence from India, with a variety of curries, flatbreads and rice dishes on the menu, and ingredients sourced locally where possible. We did not eat here on our most recent visit, in September 2019, but on a previous visit we tucked into a delicious (and spicy) fish curry.
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome at Maru Maru.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no restrictions on age but there is only one family room.
- Special activities & services
- A children’s menu is available.
- The hotel can provide cots and high-chairs.
- Generally recommended for children
- Maru Maru is a good central Stone Town option for families, and children will enjoy playing in the rooftop pool.
- As with many old Stone Town hotels, Maru Maru has steep stairs. We would recommend that children are supervised whilst using the swimming pool.
- Power supply notes
- There is a back-up generator.
- There is Wi-Fi and telephones in all the rooms.
- TV & radio
- There is a TV in each room.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- All the rooms are plumbed and have hot running water.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There is a small first-aid kit at the hotel and several members of the staff are first-aid trained. For more serious problems there is also a hospital in Stone Town.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- There are security guards outside the hotel 24 hours a day.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers dotted around the hotel.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Full laundry service. This is at an extra cost of around US$4 per item.
- There are electric safes in all of the rooms.
- Accepted payment on location
- All major credit and debit cards, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express, are accepted with a 4% surcharge. Cash payments may be made in Tanzanian shillings and US dollars.
Other lodges in Stone Town
Alternative places to stay in this same area.