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“Simply the finest hotel in East Africa”
Review of Emerson Spice

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Emerson Spice
Ranked #1 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 September 2011

Readers of my other posts will see that I've been around. I love small and clean, and hotels with atmosphere. I've travelled from Micronesia to the USA, across Russia into Asia and to the tips of Africa. I generally try and make my reviews helpful, rather than slamming places, or worst still building up expectations.

But this hotel is beyond me. Someone has gone to town to make this. The beds are comfortable with modern sprung matresses and soft clean white sheets, but the bed.... huge, Zanzibari wooden affair that could easily be 100 years old. (but it's not, do it does not creak). The bedrooms remind me of my Grandmother's sitting room in India. (She decorated in the 1940's and never changed her taste). The chairs, the shutters, the colour of the walls, staying in this hotel is like stepping back in time, but with all the creature comforts (modern showers, fridges, wifi, air con, service) of the 21st century.

best of all, the price is perfect at around $150 a room. This place would cost $500 in Singapore, and be chinzty.

But that is more down to the owner, Mr Emerson than anything else. This guy started off life as a sculptor in NY, now he is a raconteur extraordinaire with 25 years of experience in Zanzibar.

The rooftop restaurant is a little bit too "degustation" for my taste, but after a couple of chilled beers, or a stiff Gin, I got into the scene of many plates and small items.

The spice inn, is not for everyone, sure, but it's pretty close. Great service, excellent food esp lunch, and if you are in doubt or bored, ask Mr E for a short history of his host island.

Room Tip: Ask Emerson for his take on Zanzibar. He is the new Livingstone
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank turkbalikadam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 September 2011

We had booked one night at Emerson Spice and promptly booked another for our return to StoneTown. This hotel is exquisite. Rooms are spacious and interestingly decorated. The rooftop restaurant served unique and exquisite meals. Edna the cook prepared us a lunch and two breakfasts as well that were delightful. We had the breakfasts on our huge balcony that overlooked a tiny square from which we watched residents and tourists go by. I have to say that every tourist we observed from that vantage point stopped to take a picture.
In addition to the accommodation and the food - the service was top rated and with a smile. We can't say enough.

Room Tip: Can't remember the name of the room but i loved being on the third floor, facing the tiny square...
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mime57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 September 2011

I happened on this hotel by accident, and as I was exhausted and fed up of looking for a room I went in. Staff charming and always extremely helpfuland they managed to rustle up a room for me for 2 nights at least. The room was excellent, obviously decorated with personal passion (and all rooms are different), a fabulous shower and enormous bath, etc. a lovely terrace with hammocks, chairs, etc. The owner Emerson is an artist and it shows throughout his creation - he is so passionate about what he does and this comes through in all its aspects from when you walk in until you have finished your dinner. When I had dinner he was even looking after all his guests, ensuring that all were enjoying themselves. Thank you Emerson for showing that it is still possible to love your job! Breakfast (delicious) either downstairs or brought to you on your terrace. And yes, the dinner on the rooftop is a necessary experience that compliments the rest of the day. A fabulous location in the heart of Stone Town, surrounded by the shops and local buzz of normal life and a stone's throw from everything.

Room Tip: Camille was fabulous overlooking the small square
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled solo
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1  Thank BaghdadSuzanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2011

Amazing hotel, its like stepping into an Arabian palace. Really spectacular and great service I couldn't recommend it more. The food on the rooftop is also nothing short of fantastic. For $20 we enjoyed a 7 course meal and I would recommend trying this even if you are not staying in the hotel as its beautiful. Would not stay anywhere else if I went back to Stone Town.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank coco55555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2011

Based on prior reviews, I stayed here one night on a quick trip to Zanzibar while on a business trip to Dar. Wonderful, relaxing, exotic. I ate dinner on the roof as well and found the service, food and fellow guests great too. Service all around is great. Breakfast too. I was in Camille, a very nice room. Call to prayer at 5am was melodic and short. I did have very little water pressure but that was probably due to being in Stone Town, not the hotel's fault.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled solo
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1  Thank Trekandmore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2011

Mysterious, hidden alleyways scented with spice and the sea, lilting Swahili coming from latticed verandas, black draped women floating from carved doorways to disappear into the maze of narrow streets.
Emerson Spice is the perfect retreat deep in the heart of Stonetown.
Here, Emerson himself may greet you, as a dear friend to be entertained and cared for. He has filled his hotel with beautiful antiques from his private collection. Each room has a mood which captures your mind and pulls you into the fantasy.
Intricately carved staircases take you steeply up and up through the center of the hotel, opening onto landings with massive doors to each private guestroom. Looking over the balustrade, far below, you will see an ancient well, central in the courtyard, and know for certain you have gone back in time.
Follow the stairs all the way up to the roof and enter the tea house at the very top of the world. The sun sets over the Indian Ocean, dhows on a sea of glass, while you have your many courses and wines and flavors and stories.
In the deep, cool guestrooms, light filters through stained glass, satin drapes billow softly in a gentle breeze bringing fragrance of incense and memories of days long ago, when there was time to dream, unrushed, serene.
Emerson Spice will have you believing in ancestors, ghosts and exotic possibilities.
Thank you Emerson- you have created something very special.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank GLMArusha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2011

We went to Emerson Spice to have dinner at their roof terrace. There was a set meny consisting of seafood and dessert. It is probably the best and most delicious prepared seafood I have ever been served. It is totally recommendable, both the food itself and the incredible atmosphere. And all of this for a great price.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank bst83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Emerson Spice

Address: Tharia Street, Kiponda, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#1 Family Hotel in Stone Town
#5 Business Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range: £129 - £166 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An inspired and lovingly restored Merchant’s House, this multi-storied small Boutique hotel has an inner courtyard, eleven unique antiques-filled rooms, and two of Zanzibar’s best restaurants. All rooms are equipped with a small fridge, air conditioner, fan, and high ceiling mosquito net. The rooftop ‘Tea House’ hosts one of Stonetown’s most renowned restaurants offering a stylish ambiance amidst the sound of the calls to prayer from the town’s many mosques. The five course ‘Taste Safari’, prepared daily by our Zanzibari chefs, is seafood based and celebrates the freshest and best the market has to offer each morning. The sunset hour is an integral and pleasurable part of the experience so diners are encouraged to arrive at around 6pm to enjoy a ‘Sundowner’ before dinner. On the Ground floor The Secret Garden, set amidst lushly landscaped hidden ‘Ruins’, open to the skies, has a Zanzibari inspired A La Carte Menu. Look out for live music performed by The Dhow Countries Music Academy. Open for Lunch and Dinner. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Emerson Spice Hotel Stone Town
Emerson Spice Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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