Zanzibar Palace Hotel: Our full report
Opened in July 2006, the Zanzibar Palace has quickly gained a reputation as one of the best boutique hotels ...... in Stone Town. Zanzibar Palace Hotel is independently owned and the Italian management team pride themselves on great service and personal attention to guests. The hotel has been renovated with a lot of care and attention to detail. The result is a lovely friendly boutique hotel, which is highly original and has bags of character.
The entire hotel has a strong Zanzibarian flavour and handcrafted furniture is used throughout. All of the furniture has been sourced locally, and years were spent finding the perfect pieces for each little nook and cranny. The furniture is of a very high quality, and each piece is unique - giving the Zanzibar Palace Hotel a wonderfully traditional feel.
Each of the bedrooms is Zanzibari in style, though all have their own unique interior décor. There are nine rooms altogether, two of which are relatively small Luxury Rooms, and the remaning seven are the larger and more opulent Suites.
There are two particularly amazing suites at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel – the Palace Suite Sherali and Palace Suite Dunia ; both are on the top floor of the hotel, with fantastic views – and both are amongst the best and most original rooms in Stone Town!
The style continues in the communal areas. You enter the hotel through grand Zanzibari doors, where the small reception (with beautiful carved desk), lounge and dining area are all in one open-plan room. A second lounge area, set up on a step, is an inviting place to play a board game or two, while adjacent is a long, thin dining area.
Zanzibar Palace Hotel has a small in-house spa, a wonderful way to unwind after a busy day out exploring Stone Town. There are two massage tables and a pedicure chair as well as showers and a bathroom. There are a variety of treatments available including couples massages, so please enquire at reception if this is something that interests you.
The Zanzibar Palace Hotel tries hard to make a good impression – the rooms are beautiful and the service is excellent. One thing that sticks in our minds is the quality of the furniture in the rooms; it definitely made a good impression on us!
However the hotel has already become a very popular choice. With only nine rooms, it might be difficult to get space here during the peak months of July and August unless you book quite far in advance.
- Stone Town, Zanzibar
- Ideal length of stay
- 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 Palace Hotel.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- On our last visit we didn't eat here. However the food at the Zanzibar Palace on previous visits has been of high quality. The breakfast reflects the owners European heritage, so there are plenty of cheeses, meats, breads and cakes on offer. This is certainly different from the more cursory fruit and bacon & eggs which most other hotels provide. It’s a very welcome change.
For dinner we had an enjoyable and tasty meal, combining local herbs, spices and produce. For starters, there was a choice of shrimp platter or leek and potato soup with warm spices. The main course was pork chops with a selection of side vegetables, or fragrant grilled sea bream fillet. The dessert was pancakes filled with ice-cream covered with chocolate sauce.
As the kitchen normally caters for low numbers, and is not open to outside guests, the hotel requests that you indicate you will be taking dinner by 4pm on the day. There will always be a choice of meat or fish for the main course, and a vegetarian option if requested.
- This is a fantastic hotel for your honeymoon to Zanzibar. It is luxurious, small and personal, and the suites are spectacular. The service is excellent and you’ll be made to feel very special! It’s a romantic hotel with a central Stone Town location.
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- Cultural experiences
- Zanzibar Palace Hotel is a characterful property with beautiful rooms and antique furniture. It is located in the heart of Sone Town from where you can easily go on a guided tour to explore the old town and discover Zanzibar's history and culture.
- See ideas for Cultural experiences
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel.
- Property’s age restrictions
- When we were last there, there were no age restrictions at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel.
- Special activities & services
- There is one cot available on request. There is also a games corner in reception, where children will find a few board games to play with.
- Generally recommended for children
- Though this hotel is not particularly geared towards children, they are welcome at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel and the Shaba Suite can easily be made into a triple or a quadruple.
- Power supply notes
- There is 24 hour electricity.
- There is free access to WiFi throughout the hotel, and people are also welcome to use the hotels’ own laptop in the lounge.
- TV & radio
- There is a TV with satellite channels and a DVD player in all of the rooms, as well as a large flat-screen television in a lounge area on the second floor.
- Water supply notes
- Water is filtered 3 times before it comes out of the taps but we would still recommend drinking the bottled water that is provided.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There is a private clinic next door to the Zanzibar Palace Hotel, where guests can see a doctor.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- There are security guards at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel and a night receptionist and a well locked door.
- Fire safety
- There are fire-extinguishers, smoke detectors and fire escapes in every room.
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- The laundry is an extra charge, though when we were last there it was only $1.00 per item.
- The Zanzibar Palace Hotel are not able to offer any currency exchange, though there are lots of nearby bureaus and the staff will be happy to show you where.
- Accepted payment on location
- You can pay for any extras at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel in cash only. They accept US dollars, euro, and Tanzanian shillings. Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Diners and Amex) are accepted with a 5% surcharge.
Room types at Zanzibar Palace Hotel
All of the rooms at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel, are individually named – the two Luxury Rooms are known as the Nadia and the Rosewood.
Both of the Luxury Rooms are quite small, and because of this the Zanzibar Palace generally refers to them as single rooms. However, with 5ft Zanzibari beds, they can easily take two people.
Each room is beautifully furnished with a locally-carved bed, a built-in hanging wardrobe and high-quality sheets and throws on the beds. In addition, both rooms also have two comfortable lounge chairs and a small coffee table.
The two Luxury Rooms at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel also have a fan and air-conditioning, mosquito nets, digital safe, TV and DVD player.
The en-suite bathrooms are small, though they are also stylish and have a hot-and-cold shower, sink and a toilet.
Palace Suite Dunia
Like the Zanzibar Palace Hotel's other suite (the Palace Suite Dunia) the Palace Suite Dunia stands on the top floor of the hotel, with fantastic views. However, both rooms are very different.
The Palace Suite Dunia is a very a large room, full of Zanzibari character and very beautifully furnished. Against one wall stands a wardrobe that's wonderfully decorated with brass detail and intricate carvings; on the other side of the room is a dark and amazingly solid, carved dressing table.
Another part of the room is set aside as a lounge area, with chairs and a table. However the best feature of the bedroom itself is the (king-size) bed! It is really unusual because it is incredibly high: you sleep about 4'6" (1.4m) off the ground, and actually need to stand on a Zanzibar chest to get into it.
From this main room, a set of private stairs leads up and onto the roof of the hotel, which towers above most other buildings around it. Here you'll find your en-suite bathroom, as well as a private sun-deck.
The bathroom has a large bath (with a shower head attached), a flush-toilet and a sink. There is also a separate shower which looks out over Stone Town and the sea beyond. It is covered with a roof and has walls around it which are high enough to mean total privacy (no one can see in), whilst at the same time low enough to offer spectacular views. This bathroom isn't huge, but it is a fantastic feature and plays a large part in making it this suite of the Stone Town's most unique rooms.
On the small, adjacent sun-deck you'll find two loungers and a small table. This is a great place to enjoy a quiet breakfast or a sun-downer cocktail in total privacy.
Palace Suite Sherali
Like the Zanzibar Palace Hotel's other suite (the Palace Suite Dunia) the Palace Suite Sherali stands on the top floor of the hotel, with fantastic views. However, the similarity ends there.
The Palace Suite Sherali is very different from any other room that we know of in Stone Town. It's a vast room that feels wonderfully bright and airy.
The suite is wonderfully furnished, with a huge four-poster Zanzibari bed and a Moroccan-style lounge area. The lounge area is incredibly inviting, with a layer of soft foam under a Persian rug and a scattering of cushions, all facing a TV and DVD player. Little touches such as tropical green plants are lovely touches and make the atmosphere all the more natural.
Adjacent to this lounge area, between the two doorways into the en-suite bathroom, is a ceramic, free-standing bath – which is probably the first thing you notice when you enter the room. Inside the bathroom there is also a hot-and-cold shower, a flush toilet and his-and-hers sinks.
The Suites are the Zanzibar Palace Hotel's mid-range room, though they are quite a step up from the Luxury Rooms. Each of the rooms is quite unique in style, though a few do share the same shape and size.
Two of the suites, the Kinjani and the Shaba have a large lounge/vestibule as you first enter. This is furnished with a beautifully hand-crafted Zanzibari sofa bed and a small table. From here there are two doors, one leads through to the en-suite bathroom, whilst the other leads through to the spacious and comfortable bedroom.
In the bedrooms there is a large comfortable Zanzibari bed with mosquito netting hanging from the canopy above. In the corner of the rooms there is a TV with an array of satellite channels and an inviting sofa which can be made into an extra bed.
The large en-suite bathrooms are reached through the lounge/vestibule, and are absolutely fantastic. They are beautifully tiled and spotlessly clean with a huge 'Sultan bath' – this is a massive stone bath with a shower attachment. There is also a flush toilet and stylish bowl-shaped sink set in an intricately tiled surface.
The Farizah and Sultana Suites at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel are slightly different. They are large open-plan rooms, with the bedroom, bathroom and lounge area all together. In the bedroom area, beautiful Persian rugs partially cover a highly polished stone floor whilst huge four-poster beds stand in the centre. There are also some comfortable chairs to lounge in by the big windows at the front of the room.
The bath, toilet and sink all sit at the far end of the room. They are slightly separated by being situated up on a slight step - though effectively they are still part of the same room. Both rooms also have a grand 'Sultan bath' like the previous suites, as well as a sink, and a flush-toilet.
Then the Baina is unlike all of the other Suites at the Zanzibar Palace Hotel - it is a twin room instead of a double, and has a large balcony. This is a great spot for sitting out and enjoying the sights and sounds of Stone Town passing by beneath you. Inside there are a further two lounge chairs and a small Zanzibari table.
The Bania has a spacious en-suite bathroom with twin sinks, a hot-and-cold shower and a flush-toilet. There is also a fantastic free standing wardrobe in the bathroom – with a full length mirror on the front.
All of the Suites are spacious and beautifully furnished with some of the best quality carved beds and wardrobes we have seen on Zanzibar. Each has its own colour scheme and unique character; all are lovely.
Other lodges in Stone Town
Alternative places to stay in this same area.