Zanzibar Coffee House: Our full report
The small Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel sits above a coffee shop down one of Stone Town's narrow streets.All their coffee comes from the owner's plantation in southern Tanzania. The beans are roasted on site at the hotel, and as a result the entire hotel has a lovely aroma.
Zanzibar Coffee House has few of the usual facilities you might expect from a hotel; there are no phones; there's no television or radio (although there is Wi-fi); and there's no swimming pool. However, all of these are within easy reach if you need them – and we found that the lack of these commercial touches resulted in the hotel having a really calm and relaxed atmosphere.
The Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel has a wonderful little coffee shop on the ground floor as you first enter. The coffee shop attracts a mix of locals, tourists and expats, so the atmosphere is usually friendly and buzzing, if a little hectic at times. Delicious home-made fresh croissants, cakes, muffins, and cookies sit behind glass display cases whilst fresh coffee, smoothies and milkshakes are also on offer.
The café is decorated in a traditional Swahili style, with arched doorways, heavy wooden furniture and polished stone floors. Whilst a little table with hand-painted tiles displays ground coffee for sale. The coffee shop is a lovely quaint place, which is perfect for a drink and a snack. It is only open from 09:00 – 18:00, so there will never be any disturbance caused to the guests.
Behind the coffee shop, set to one side of a small courtyard is the roasting room. This cooled air-conditioned room is where all of the coffee is stored, roasted and then ground – coffee lovers will be in heaven!
From the coffee shop, a set of stairs leads up to the 8 guest rooms, and then up onto the roof-top restaurant. The restaurant is reached through an outdoor terrace and there are large French windows on all sides, which means that you can enjoy the view in all directions. This is a real feature: the views from here are fantastic – you can see for miles across the roofs of Stone Town.
The roof-top restaurant is furnished with very low (almost floor-level) chairs, all covered in comfortable cushions. Between pairs of these are little tables for two which face in to the centre of the room, in traditional Swahili style.
The rooms at the Zanzibar Coffee House are all of a reasonable size, though they do vary depending on the cost, and not all of the rooms have an en-suite bathroom. Though they are all beautifully furnished and spotlessly clean. Ask us – we can advise you on the best rooms.
This small hotel is not flashy and stylish, but is instead wonderfully low-key and atmospheric: quiet, charming and quaint. It is one of the friendliest places that we have visited in Stone Town and is excellent value. Given the quality of its rooms and service, we regard it as being a great alternative to Stone Town's better-known mid-range hotels.
- Stone Town, Zanzibar
- Ideal length of stay
- Give yourself one or two nights to explore this fascinating town full of culture.
- It takes around 35 minutes to fly to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, and then it is a further 10 minutes to Stone Town and the Zanzibar Coffee House. Sometimes it is not possible to drive up the narrow the streets, and so you driver may park a short walk away from the hotel and help you carry your luggage to your final destination.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- Breakfast is served as a buffet on the roof of the Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel, in a lovely partially open terrace, between 7.30 and 10am. Everyone sits on low cushions facing into the centre of the room, whilst they are served homemade muesli and fruit.
Lunch and an early dinner can be grabbed from the Zanzibar Coffee Shop downstairs (it closes at 6.00pm), which serves simple snacks such as burgers, baked potatoes, samosas and sandwiches. On our last visit here in September 2019 we didn't have time to eat, but on a previous stay we enjoyed a tasty mozzarella and basil sandwich with a fresh homemade lemonade with ginger and mint leaves.
Zanzibar Coffee House, is obviously a clear favourite amongst local Zanzibarians and expats. The place was full of people who had stopped to read the paper and have a coffee, or gossip over lunch. The atmosphere is relaxed and cozy, though at the same time buzzing with chatter.
The food is all homemade and very tasty and although the menu is quite simple, it is excellent value. It is also probably the best place in Stone Town for a first-rate coffee and a piece of home-made cake; we rate the fruit smoothies particularly highly! Even of you are not staying here, it is a delightful place to rest your feet for an hour or so whilst exploring Stone Town.
The roof-top area is for the use of hotel guests only so you can relax up here with a drink and enjoy the views. Guests can also enjoy a light lunch on the rooftop terrace.
The Zanzibar Coffee House does not serve evening meals, however staff can happily direct guests to a local restaurant. There are several fantastic dining options in Stone Town, give us a call to chat to one of our Zanzibar specialists and they can guide you through some options.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- There is no room service at the Zanzibar Coffee House
- Drinks included
- Drinks are not included
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome at the Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions at the Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel
- Special activities & services
- There are no special activities for children.
- Generally recommended for children
- Yes – when we were last there, the staff were particularly attentive to a few small children in the downstairs coffee shop.
- There are no special services or activities for children, however this is a very relaxed and friendly hotel which will happily welcome children to stay. There are steep stairs, so parents must keep an eye on their children.
- Power supply notes
- There is a backup generator.
- There is wireless internet at the Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel and plenty of internet cafés and telephone shops nearby. The staff will happily direct you, or even show you to a nearby place where you can email and make international calls.
- TV & radio
- There is no TV or Radio at the Zanzibar Coffee House
- Water supply notes
- Bottled water is supplied in the bedrooms.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Staff are trained and there is a first-aid kit onsite. The Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel in the heart of Stone Town, there are plenty of doctors nearby as well as a private hospital that they can contact for you.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- After 18.00 there is a night-guard on reception.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in the corridors
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is an extra charge and is organized through local women from outside the hotel. They will charge a small fee and return it to you within 24 hours, depending on the weather.
- The Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel cannot offer any currency exchange, though they can direct you to a nearby bureau. There are safes in all rooms for guests to store valuables.
- Accepted payment on location
- You can pay for any extras at the Zanzibar Coffee House, in US dollars or Tanzanian shillings cash. Zanzibar Coffee House does not accept cards.
Room types at Zanzibar Coffee House
There are four Standard Rooms at the Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel which are all of a reasonable size, bright and comfortable. Two of the Standard Rooms, the Espresso and the Excelsa, have a private bathroom, but you access it via the public corridor.
Both the en-suite, and separate bathrooms are quite small, yet thoughtfully designed. They have partially-tiled and partially-painted walls – all in neutral colours. Each bathroom has a beautiful carved mirror which has been painted to have an antique look, under which sits a stylish bowel-shaped sink. There is also a flush-toilet and a hot-and-cold shower.
However the Moccachino, which is a twin room and the Macciato which is a double, both have their own en-suite bathrooms. For privacy, we always recommend these en-suite rooms; the difference in price is negligible.
All of the rooms are furnished with a large, Zanzibari bed, its canopy draped with mosquito netting. You will also find a wardrobe with plenty of hanging space, a few wooden chairs and a lovely table all standing on a highly-polished stone floor.
All of the rooms have large windows which let in plenty of light, giving them a bright and airy feel. You can open the windows to let in the breeze and the chatter from the buzzing streets below, or close them and make the most of the air-conditioning.
The Coffee House's rooms are simply furnished and don't have the opulence of some hotel rooms. Yet it's perhaps their uncluttered simplicity which helps to make them feel so spacious and bright; they are undoubtedly excellent value.
There are three suites at the Zanzibar Coffee House Hotel. The Cappuccino Suite and the Arabica Suite are large double rooms, each with its own en-suite bathroom. The Bourbon Family Suite is also a large double with an en-suite bathroom, though it also has an extra single room attached – perfect for a family.
Each of the suites are similar in style to the Standard Rooms, in that they are furnished with carved Zanzibari furniture, have polished stone floors and walls painted in muted natural colours. All are spotlessly clean, spacious, and light, with large windows and bright soft furnishings.
However the suites are much larger than the Standard Rooms, and each has a small lounging area for relaxing. It's so relaxing to sit here and while away the hours reading a book – that you're tempted to ignore the winding, fascinating streets of Stone Town below.
The en-suite bathrooms in the suites are simple yet attractively decorated in neutral colours. The rooms come complete with a sink, flush-toilet and a hot-and-cold shower. Then small touches, like candles sitting in antique brass holders and a carved mirror above the sink, add to the character of the room.
Other lodges in Stone Town
Alternative places to stay in this same area.