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“A gem of a find”
Review of Emerson Spice

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Emerson Spice
Ranked #1 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Kuala Lumpur
Level Contributor
219 reviews
131 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
“A gem of a find”
Reviewed 19 October 2011

The Emerson Spice hotel is an incredible find - a small boutique hotel in the heart of historic Stone Town. And the way it's been done - like stepping into a fairy tale of flying carpets and magic lamps. This seems like you're more of a private privileged guest than a paying hotel guest.

There are 6 rooms, all individually themed. My room was the Belle – high ceiling, antique furniture, an open bathroom with a concrete bathtub, diaphanous curtains and a colour scheme of sky-blue walls in a feathery finish, peach curtains and yellow floors. There’s a wooden balcony outside from which to watch street life below or to have breakfast at. All very exotic.

The room had modern bathroom fittings and air-conditioning and there’s wifi in the lobby as well, but overall it's the way the room decor so convincingly carries off the period theme that makes it so charming and outright exotic. There's a small fountain, Arabic style, at the bottom of an airwell, to cool off the building.

The building is old and majestic, with a long history, massively thick coralstone walls, teak floorboards and ornate carved wooden doors.

The hotel also serves a degustation-menu dinner on its rooftop pavilion. This is an experience not to be missed. You can watch sunset over Stone Town, while each course is prepared by a group of chefs. Our dinner featured fresh seafood and spices - things Zanzibar is best known for.

Staying at the Emerson Spice was the highlight of our visit to Zanzibar - just stepping outside puts you smack in the warren of alleys and streets of Stone Town - it's a great place from which to explore Stone Town. Stay here - you won't regret it.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Leeyuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (153)
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English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 October 2011

My friend and I were traveling through Zanzibar and booked into Emerson Spice (9/24/11) based on a recommendation. It was the best decision of our entire trip; our only regret is that we didn't get to spend more than one night in this gorgeous hotel. Our room (Violetta) was beautifully appointed and we had a gigantic wrap around terrace -- it was stunning. The service was 5 star and the dinner on the roof was probably one of the best meals of my life. I do not have one complaint about this fabulous hotel. I travel quite a bit for work and for fun and have stayed at some of the "finest" hotels in the world -- they have nothing on Emerson Spice.

Room Tip: we loved "violetta"
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jimmy A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hermanus, South Africa
Level Contributor
25 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2011

Brilliant and 100%. Thanks Gray and Mbwana. We loved your jewel in Stone Town and felt very special for 3 nights. Try breakfast up or down and take a City Tour to experience the history, the fish and meat markets, Indian and Arab doors and dhows - not to mention the bikes in the narrow streets! Our sunset Dinner was memorable-especially the homemade ink pasta and black pepper banana. WE JUST LOVED EMERSON SPICE. Thank you and well done to the whole team.

  • Stayed October 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank EJC0551
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leipzig, Deutschland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 17 October 2011

We stayed one night in the hotel and loved the nice large rooms. The rooftop dinner was the best food we had in one week on Zanzibar. Delicious fish, superb spiced, good atmosphere above the city...
Unfortunately a muezzin megaphone directly infront the window of our room. But this is nothing, the hotel management could influence.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Martin G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 16 October 2011

Emerson Spice hotel is one of the best hotels I've had the pleasure of staying in. The rooms are absolutely incredible, each one beautifully and uniquely decorated and named accordingly. The service was amazing and the luxury of having breakfast served on the balcony each morning was not lost on me! The rooftop restaurant (overlooking Stone Town) served the best food in Zanzibar, with great cocktails to match. Emerson himself is the perfect host and an inspiring individual. I couldn't recommend this place highly enough.

Room Tip: I stayed in the room called "Belle" - absolutely exquisite!
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank JenniferJ437
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zanzibar Island, Tanzania
Level Contributor
64 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
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
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank turkbalikadam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, Ab
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
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...
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Mime57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Emerson Spice

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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