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“decent hotel for solo traveller”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of The Swahili House

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The Swahili House
Ranked #5 of 30 Stone Town B&B and Inns
Chisinau, Moldova
Level Contributor
35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“decent hotel for solo traveller”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 April 2014

Great staff were very helpful during my stay. Hotel is located 5 min walk to ferry station, but it-s worth to pay 2000 tsh for someone to guide you there! Rooms are spacious, clean, with good zanzibari style furniture. Single issue is (if you are a couple, and haven't been married for 30 years) shower and toilet area offer no privacy, they are separated from the room by a carved wooden screen.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lillu2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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184 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
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Southern Highlands
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2014

I stayed at the Swahili House for one night and on a business trip.
Unfortunately the house is under massive renovation and this was not mentioned during my reservation, which was disappointing (and very noisy!).
The bathroom setting was pleasant, but the two of the window glasses were broken and patched up with duct tape which made the whole room look neglected.
The roof top has a stunning view, and breakfast was fine. I felt a bit annoyed when the staff did not feel the need to help me to carry a heavy bag down the very steep stairs, unusual. I cannot say I will warmly recommend the Swahili House, but it is an ok low budget traveller's place, unless you have any form of physical disability. The staircases are very steep and not 100% safe.
Other than that, the location is very interesting, more fun than other more popular areas of Stone Town.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SLC2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Stone Town hotels

Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2014

Gorgeous hotel - Room two was beautifully decorated. Would have benefitted from better linen and mattress as well as more powerful shower but still a very pleasant environment. Room is cleaned twice a day, reception is helpful.

Gorgeous terrace with restaurant - food is good but could be better. However the vista makes up for it!

A warning for those with limited mobility or elderly people - the stairs are VERY steep and it is quite exhausting to go up and down the stairs. Not recommended for those unable or unwilling to do physical exercice, especially in the heat. Also credit card payment not working - you need cash.

For the others, they will appreciate the beauty of the place and its location!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mari C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Berkshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 March 2014

I didn't have the best experience at this hotel, sadly. I was really looking forward to it but it was not great.
When I arrived I checked in and was shown to "my" room, which had other people's stuff in it! Turned out my room had been double booked so I was taken to another room which had not been cleaned properly (maybe it was just an emergency room). The bin had not been emptied from the previous guests.
One of the reasons I booked this hotel was because I had been volunteering for 4 weeks and had not had the luxury of hot water. I thought it would be nice before my 24 hour flight to have a hot shower like the website had promised but the hot water never got hot! It stayed cold! So I had a cold shower.
I had no towels given to me so had to rummage through my bag for my towel. At about 11 o clock (an hour after my shower) a porter knocked on my door and delivered some towels...A bit late!
I awoke the next morning to get to the airport on time. To cut an incredibly annoying long story short, the card machine didn't work, so they took my credit card details on a scrap piece of paper and put it in the cupboard - goodness knows who has those details now, I was not happy about it but it was the only way I could pay - I had checked I could pay on a card prior to arriving and they had said that I could.
After this I waited...and waited...and waited....AND WAITED for my airport transfer to arrive. By this time I was starting to panic as he was over an hour late. I thought I would miss my flight home.
Not a great stay for such a large price. I will never be staying here again.
(I actually

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Hannah C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CUMBRIA ENGLAND
Level Contributor
27 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2014

The Swahili House is an attractively presented traditional hotel. Rooms are all different, with comfortable 'Zanzibar-style' box-netted beds. In most rooms the 'Tadelakt- style' bathroom is integral to the bedroom, with varying heights of screening for privacy.The room did feel hot as the a/c was not very strong, so it was necessary to use the fan all the time. Yes, the hotel does have a lot of very steep stairs,....and necessary to negotiate them all for breakfast on the roof terrace. Breakfast was quite satisfactory, nothing special. I paid $54 a night (for single) on internet in advance. The hotel is a fifteen minute walk from the 'main' area of Stone Town and Forodhani Gardens, but it is an interesting walk through the little alleyways, and can be varied by getting lost!

Room Tip: I am a light sleeper so I asked for and got a 'dark' room, because as one of the other revi...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank susansusanr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
77 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 January 2014 via mobile

We stayed here for one night. (An expedia special offer which stated: full board. Too bad it was not full board after all...not the fault of Swahili house however, and they helped out in a great way). Rooms are mostly clean(we saw 3), but rather worn out. Airco was broken (room 9) and wifi is only available at the reception. The roof terras is nice, but the restaurant is overpriced. Staff is very nice.

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Harm v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Greece
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2014

It's a rather typical hotel style for Stone Town, though not the most premium choice; there are at least 5-6 other hotels around the town, which are closer to Western standards.
Besides the fact that the hotel does not fully meet the expectations of someone used to Western hotels, it felt relatively clean and the location is not bad.

The main weaknesses: the bathroom is (in many rooms) not separated from the bedroom. In our room it was separate, but not that private (the separating wall does not go up to the very tall ceiling). The breakfast is very basic, but they do make nice eggs and decent coffee. There is no elevator and the steps are quite steep (but this is part of the character of the building, and it's more or less the same in other - more premium - hotels as well). The windows (in our room... I cannot really tell about the others) did not all have shutters, which means that you could be waking up from the sunlight as early as 7 am. The air-conditioning (again I can only be certain about our room), was installed but not really working. The wifi is only available in the lobby area (but it's free of charge). Check-out is at 10 am!

The staff is trying to be polite and helpful, but I could not describe the service as anything above standard.

On the positive side, the building is very interesting, dating back from the 19th century - and the rooms have an impressively high ceiling.
There is also a fan above the bed, which makes a real difference in 30+ degrees. It would be great if it would operate in a slower speed (less noise, more pleasant...), but even at a high speed, it was really necessary to be able to sleep.

The location is OK: close to a food market, next door to a nice restaurant, walking distance from the central street (to take a taxi, etc.). The streets of Stone Town are anyway a challenge when you first visit, but after a couple of days you get used to the crowd and you can manage to find your way around the town. It's not as impressive as the hotels located near the sea, but the rooftop terrace has a really nice view of the city.

Overall, Swahili House was not exceptional, and it may take you some time to get used to it if... a. you are only used to Western hotels, b. you have spend time in luxury safari or beach lodges in Tanzania. It may be a fitting options for those who are looking for a more "authentic" experience in Stone Town, and can live without conventional Western standards. It would not be my first choice/ or recommendation to someone visiting Zanzibar (Stone Town), but I wouldn't object staying there again.

Room Tip: Room Nr. 9 (Sultan Suite, on the 2nd floor) has a separate bathroom (with decent privacy) from the b...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank traveller_Athens_K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Swahili House

Property: The Swahili House
Address: Mchambawima Street, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 30 B&Bs / Inns in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Swahili House 2.5*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the bustling heart of Stone Town the building was originally set up and used as an Indian Merchant House in the 19th century. In the 125 years that were to come the building was home to one of the many Sultan families and then became a hotel some years ago. After purchasing the hotel, renovations started in May 2008. Most of the hotel has been restored into its original state, but we have been making some changes as well. The result is The Swahili House - a sparkling hotel with traditional influences and modern day facilities in combination with authentic Swahili hospitality. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Swahili House Hotel Stone Town
The Swahili House Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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