Zanzibar Hotels

The Africa House Hotel

The Africa House Hotel is located in the heart of Stone Town on the coast. There is easy access to the very public city beach, where you can bathe. However, being busy it is not the most idyllic of Zanzibar’s beaches. The hotel is housed in an historic palace turned colonial clubhouse with stunning ocean views and an incredible history.

Accommodation at Africa House Hotel

It boasts 15 rooms which range from the Royal Deluxe Room (a grand suite with sitting area and enormous bed) to Ocean View rooms (wonderful views but can get noisy as they overlook the coastal road also) and Deluxe twin and double suites. The hotel also hosts the Sunset Bar, Majali Shisha Lounge, Tradeswinds Restaurant and Colonial Style Library (not always open to guests) and a family of resident monkeys (friendly). The hotel advertises itself as providing a taste of history laced with modern luxuries and amenities.

However, by Western standards this is neither a modern nor a luxury hotel. The décor is grand (there is a marble staircase dating from the mid-nineteenth century) and the hotel is spacious and clean, there is good AC and hot water, telephones and a free WIFI connection but travellers to Zanzibar must always remember that they are in Africa; hot water and electricity are unreliable and the locals do their utmost to ‘make things last’. Expecting pristine polish from the Africa House Hotel would be a mistake. It is the very absence of newness that is a large part of the hotel’s charm. Having said which, the hotel is currently undergoing work on its bathrooms and bedrooms, hoping to have them refurbished and in perfect working order by the end of February 2011.

Food and Drink at Africa House Hotel

The Sunset Bar is very popular and comes highly recommended. One of the very few places in Stone Town that makes good cocktails, it has a warm and friendly atmosphere. The views of the ocean are not to be missed. The Sunset Bar is so called as it is a favourite spot for watching the sun go down among locals and tourists alike. As day draws to a close it gets very busy. Do not expect a quiet secluded sunset view.

The Hotel’s restaurant offers a more exclusive service, including a silver service dinner. There is table service meaning one does not have to sit on low-cushions or the floor as in many restaurants in the area. The restaurant also has panoramic sea-views. Food is good quality but not cheap. Breakfast is served in the restaurant and normally consists of fruit and a traditional English breakfast.

Service at Africa House Hotel

Hotel staff are generally friendly, polite and knowledgeable. They are quick to respond to emails with any further information you might require. The hotel is well loved and looked after.

With its renowned bar and historical appeal, the Hotel is a hub for locals and residents and guests and has an energetic nightlife. This does mean that while the hotel welcomes children and will provide cots this may not be the ideal place for younger children, especially as the hotel building is a maze of antiques, winding stair cases and labyrinth corridors.

How to get to Africa House Hotel

The Africa House Hotel benefits from its coastal roadside location. It is also central to Stone Town and most tourist attractions are within walking distance. Though this increases the chance of traffic noise, it does mean that arrival at the hotel and subsequently locating it is not difficult. Taxi/transfer will take you to the door of the hotel from the airport or port of arrival (this is not so with hotels which are more hidden away in pedestrian areas).

Stone Town itself lies approximately 7 km from Zanzibar airport. The taxi takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the town. Ferry routes link Stone Town with Dar es Salaam daily and with Pemba less frequently. Passengers are warned to beware ticket touts when buying ferry tickets and advised to take the faster, more expensive ferry as travellers have raised safety concerns with the older slower stock of boats.

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