Reviews of Swahili House
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Swahili House review
Good location, nicely refurbished building with great rooftop restaurant and bar.
However, our spposedly superior room didn't have any furniture apart from a bed and bedside tables. It would have been useful to have had a wardrobe in the room or a chest of drawers for clothes and a couple of chairs.
The electricity shortcircuited twice and the first time it took them a whole day to sort it out, despite various reminders and assurances that it was going to / had been done. We saw a rat in the restaurant and although the hotel was supposed to have credit card facilities we were sent out to get cash.
Overall, the service was disappointing.
Swahili House review
Generally disappointed with this hotel. The room they gave us had no chairs in it as only the Sultan suites have chairs, tables, terrace and a view! Also the toilet did not work properly.
In a coffee producing country, nescafe was served at breakfast.
If I had been made aware I would have booked Emerson Spice, a lovely new hotel.
Swahili house provides excellent views
Swahili house was a good place to stay since we were not in Stone town long enough to have a tour. It provided a memorable evening on its terrace overlooking the whole town and surrounds, with the evening muezzin and sunset views.
The food was good as was the service.
Our room was small compared to ones we had been staying in, but it was adequately equipped with mosquito net and a fan inside the netting should the night be too oppressive.
Fisherman's tours arranged a good prompt pick-up in the morning
Expert Africa comments
As part of their feedback, these travellers noted that:
"The ratings choice on [our feedback] form did create difficulty in that there was nothing between Good and Excellent."
Not there yet
On the plus side, Swahili House is beautiful and very sympathathetically renovated and the staff are friendly and helpful. The food in the cafe and restaurant was very good, although we were disappointed that the menu didn't change daily in the restaurant - if it had we would have eaten there again. The views from the restaurant must be among the best in Stonetown.
Now the bad points. Our room was called a suite, but it was an ordinary double room. We had asked for twin beds but were given a king sized bed with a put-up bed next to it. The main bed was uncomfortable with big dips in the mattress. The mosquito nets had huge holes in them. The bathroom was a section of the room with only a half wall screening it off - so no privacy, and actually quite unpleasant.
We had no hot water for the whole of our stay and there was something wrong with the water in our room for most of it, so no cold water for long periods also. This was all such a shame, as we really wanted to like Swahili House.
Beautiful building in real Zanzibar
Great situation, very pleasant staff, great roof bar and restaurant.........beautiful roomRead more about the whole trip
Swahili House review
The hotel is centrally located and set in an old Sultan house. There are quite a lot of stairs but the inside of the hotel has been refurbished to a high standard incorporating traditional decoration into a more modern setting.
We only stayed there one night but the staff were very friendly and helpful and we had dinner on the roof top terrace which which gave a fantastic view over the town.
There are many 5 star establishments around but it was enjoyable and more cost effective to stay in a slightly more simplistic/boutique place than the much more expensive colonial style hotels.
Exploring Stone Town from Swahili House
What a hotel! An amazing conversion of an old trading house with lots of original details.
For us long evenings spent on the roof terrace watching and listening to all the activity of the Town around us was amazing (accompanied with tasty cocktails and delicious food).
Great location to explore Stone Town from.
Elegant Special Swahili House
Only here for a night but upgraded to suite as few people here. Stunning room with balcony and large bathroom. Huge very comfy bed
Staff. Receptionist was excellent and arranged for our very early start efficiently ordering friut and cakes for breakfast.
Manager was from Fumba standing in for a week had nothing to tell us about the hotel and sent us off in completely the wrong directionfor our wander thr' Stonetown. pity. The assistant manager at dinner appeared to be on his phone all night by the bar. The dinner staff were so laidback you feared they would forget what was happening. However the setting up on the roof was stunning, the drinks delicious and dinner superb. We were very happy with our choice just very aware how spoilt we had been on safari and I suppose it began to ease us back into real world. We were so relaxed by then that we found it all quite funny, maybe if we had been there longer they would have lightened up and been more friendly.Wake up was on time and very helpful and friendly.
Swahili House - good for a one night stay
We spent our last night at Swahili house. The location is good, however the cars cannot get to close, so there is a short walk through busy streets. The front desk and welcome briefing was excellent and the roof top terrace fantastic. We went out into the town and got lost (of course) but a helpful local aided our return. Rooms were tall and airy, but be warned that there are a lot of stairs!
We ate at the hotel and our pre-dinner drinks service was very poor. The hotel blenders had broken and the cocktails took about 25 mins to arrive, one of these was undrinkable. The quality of the food was excellent although there were a number of items on the menu which were not available (they also had an odd mixture of old and new menus, which was confusing. We discovered that dinner was pretty expensive when we settled the bill and the promised alarm call and breakfast didn't materialise at 5:15. Luckily the call to prayer at 5am woke us. The lack of staff meant that I had to carry all the bags down two steep flights of stairs to the front of the hotel. However we made our flight in time thanks to the excellent transfer service that Expert Africa had arranged.
swahili house, wonderful terrace at top
swahili house was another interesting experience. we again arrived and found we had this time a double bed and it had been pushed up to one side of the room and antoehr push up bed put in as the twin. we immediately said could we have twin beds and the manager chris (normally the chef but the manager was in europe somewhere) said no problem, the hotel is not full, so i got my own from for 2 of the 3 nights. the last night i had to spend on the extra bed, again feeling like i was in student accomodation
chris was really helpful but because he was being manager one night we ordered soup for supper (before going to the music festival) and after 45 minutes it had not arrived and we had to go to the festival without supper. soup should not take over 45 minutes
the rooftop terrace/bar/restaurant is lovely at swahili house, it has a breeze a plunge pool some sun loungers (3 of the 4 with broken slats) and very nice dining tables. the food was international, with some local dishes that were excellent. i think after 2 nights you would want a wider menu but for us it was ideal. we went to the coffee house one day, beyt al chai one lunch and the evening that dinner didn't arrive we had soemthing at the festival so all was ok
chris organised taxis to and from the festival and they all worked like clockwork. he also organised a spice tour and a city tour, both very good, although the local guides do tend to start veyr enthusiastic adn after an hour noticably get fed up of you and trail off. chris also asked on our return for our comments nad was genuinely interested and wanted us to have a great time. he also let us use his office comptuer to reconfirm our BA tickets home, he went out of hsi way to be excellent
they also turned on the generators the morning we left as we had to get up at 5, so there was electricity to see to pack etc.