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“Exquisite and best for heavy sleepers”
Review of Kholle House

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Kholle House
Ranked #16 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
NYC
Level Contributor
42 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Exquisite and best for heavy sleepers”
Reviewed 20 July 2012

Kholle House sits at the intersection of several narrow Stone Town alleys. As manager Abeid will tell you on arrival, the beautiful building dates from 1836 and belonged to Princess Kholle, sister of Princess Salme who eloped to Germany. It's been rehabilitated exquisitely, and is an aesthetic treat. Some original furnishings remain, and the new ones are mostly stylistically right.

The comfortable lounging area three flights up looks out over the rooftops and the container port, as well as the beautiful Old Dispensary building. There's also a pleasant lounging area by the small pool, where wi-fi works (it doesn't generally work in the rooms). The staff were uniformly friendly.

Our deluxe room was long, narrow and rather dark. The windows are fly-screened and the comfortable Zanzibari beds are mosquito-netted. We found excellent hot water and good water pressure in the deluxe room bath and shower.

Breakfast came with many choices: between us, we had a cheese omelette, a sweet crepe, and avocado. The hotel offers dinner, and the menu is displayed daily at the reception - it must be booked by 10 a.m. and costs $20 per head, another $20 with wine; I regret that we didn't try it, but I was indulging an obsession with the crab and coconut soup at Beyt al Chai.

There were minor frustrations, including the lack of wi-fi in the room, the hotel phone being out of order and lackadaisical correspondence with the travel agent. But what just about undid all the loveliness of Kholle House was the noise. Every sound from those narrow alleys carried straight to the ear, even with the windows shut. Children shrieked and kicked a can just below our window for over an hour one afternoon, a motorcycle started up, and the loudspeakered muezzin called to prayer from the mosque next door. But in fairness, and to explain the "very good" rating, let me add that my travelling companion slept through all of this.

Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank MsQuince
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, 22 September 2012
Dear Guests,

Many thanks for your comments and kind appreciations.

Kholle House is located in the middle of the old medina of Stone Town. It is a fact that the neighborood can be lively but it's not that often noisy. As for the muezzin, I believe we all have to admit that calls for prayers are part of the charms of a traditional muslim city.

All the very best,

Francis
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
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English first
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 May 2012 via mobile

We stayed here for two nights and really couldn't fault it. The staff, from the owners to the waiters, all went out of there way to make our stay special. The house itself is beautifully restored and presented, with interesting decoration throughout. Our room was long, thin and very comfortable. We had fantastic nights sleep and awoke to huge breakfasts served by a very sweet waiter called Ali. The juices changed each morning and were some of the best we've ever had. We also had lunch on our arrival which was very well done. As it was low season there was a little bit of restoration work going on, but this in no way impacted on our stay, in fact it was a great time to visit as we felt like we had the place to ourselves! If we're in Stone Town again we won't stay anywhere else. Ps take the stone town walking tour that they can arrange with local historian/celebrity Farid - interesting, informative and a little bit mad!

Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank MrMcAndMsC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, 11 September 2012
Asante Sana dear Guests!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Luxembourg
Level Contributor
64 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 May 2012

Kholle house is an absolute gem of a place.
The house has been lovingly restored, the service was impecable and the staff was incredibly friendly and took particular pride in explaining the renovation process of the house as well as the history of Kholle. When that happens, you just know you landed somewhere special.
The photos on their website are no exageration. It really is that beautiful.
The rooms are pretty unique as well. Ours, a deluxe on the first floor, was long and narrow with several windows.
As it was located right across from a small mosque, one does get to hear the early prayers very clearly and that may disturb those who have travel sleeping, but for us that was just part of the charm of staying in Stone Town.
The variety on offer at breakfast was suprisingly wide for a property of this type and everything was really fresh. The huevos rancheros - a mexican specialty as far as I'm aware, not often found in hotels in Africa - were a personal favorite.
Our three night stay was absolutely wonderful and we'd go back to Kholle House in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SG71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, 7 September 2012
Asante Sana dear Guest!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bratislava
Level Contributor
32 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2012

This is nicely restored, centrally located hotel. Few meters from the port or from Mercury´s restaurant. If you are looking for an contemporary accomodation in an original, historical building, I believe that this is no more than one of five options available at Stone Town.

Pros:
- Communication with the hotel was quick and efficient. Alejandra, the manageress of the hotel was really quick and helpful. She did not require any in-advance payment, which we really appreciated and gave us small discount for the Prestige room (the best one) because there was no other room left except the Deluxe room which was also occupied by us...
- Alejandra arranged for us transporation from the "airport" to the hotel for a 15 USD for a whole car, which was definitely good price. Our driver was also great, he showed us all the historical buildings during our way to the hotel. We have also used his services to get us to the Nungwi !!!
- Hotel owner his is OK too. Although he acted a bit self-importand to us, he was outgoing, attentive. When we asked him to give us advise for a dinner, he led us out of the hotel to show us the way to the restaurant. By the way, the restaurant he advised was really great, I will post separated review about it...
- I do not not know woh the standard room are, but our Prestige room was quite spacious, situated at the highest floor. Room was equipped with nice historical furniture, was clean (not absolutely), but it might be hard to clean up all the dust from historical building that is constructed to be not islolated form the exterior. On the other hand, despite its openness, room was very quiet. Bathroom was just amazing, huge, earthen-styled one. The whole property seemed to me very similiar to the Morrocan Riads that are amazing either !!!
- Hotel has great pool, that can be opened for you even after official opening times, if you ask the staff. We had great times there after our late return form the dinner.
- At the highest point of the hotel, there is nice verandah with great views of the Stone Town and especially of the Port...

Cons:
- Brekakfast. Let me be hobnest, I have travelled all around the world, but this were the longest lasting ones! We have waited for 45 minutes to get some juce, eggs and bacon... Breakfast was tasty, but watching the hotel owner coming 30 minutes after us for the breakfast and being served sooner than us, would make everyone angry aspeciall,y when you are hungry !!!

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TrickyX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, 22 September 2012
Dear Guests,

Many thanks for your appreciation.

Francis,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Haifa, Israel
Level Contributor
28 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2012

we arrived to stone town on April 6th, 2 families with children. The hotel, running by Mr. Ubeid, was more than friendly. with a lot of atmosphere, it is located in the hart of the old town next to the port.
our first day was our holiday. the staff let us use the hotel kitchen to cook our holiday meal, the chef went with us to the market helping us buy the products, and gave us the dinning room for our dinner!
Rooms are very good and clean (go for the deluxe), with quiet air condition and a fan in each one of them. breakfast was very generous and testy (also to our children...), and the excellent clean pool was very refreshing afternoon. with the friendly staff, no request was turn down. It was our best hotel in our Tanzania and Zanzibar trip, suits romantic couples as well as families!

Room Tip: the deluxe rooms are better value
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bettesh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, 11 September 2012
Asante Sana dear Guests!

Francis
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
traveling cat
Level Contributor
311 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2012

spent a week in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania and chose the Kholle House for our base. We arrived on a Sunday evening, were picked up at the airport by our pre-arranged transfer. He took us to a side street in Stone Town and stopped the car and said we had to walk the rest of the way. He took us down a few disreputable looking streets and around corners and we finally came to the hotel. As the power was out for the entire town (something they tell us happens every Sunday), it took them a couple of minutes to find our reservation but they gave us a cool drink while we waited. We got room 22 which is on the rooftop. It's a climb up two flights of stairs that were built a long time ago before people were able to measure stair heights and make them uniform. Sometimes the top step was a bit of a challenge to my poor arthritic knees and hips but still, the room was lovely and we found out it was quite a simple walk to the main street and not the complex route our driver had brought us into the area.
We were in Zanzibar for a diving vacation. After our first day of diving, I developed an ear problem. The hotel found a doctor for me, a driver to take me there and helped me in every way they could. As we then had to stay out of the water for two days, they helped us find things to do and arrange for drivers to get us there and got us good prices (we compared with the people offering us the same things on the streets). They even managed to send out our laundry for the cheapest price and good laundry service that we've ever had from a hotel.
Breakfast was good every morning. there was a wide variety of things to choose and while it was a bit slow on the mornings where the room was full, it was always tasty.
The hotel is next to a mosque so we heard the call around 4:30 every morning but it wasn't a problem to fall back asleep. While the power seems to go off every night for a 1/2 hour or so, our room stayed cool at night. It never was uncomfortable. Everyone we spoke to at Kholle House spoke excellent English albeit sometimes we had to ask a couple of times due to accents and vice versa for them with our accents. They were working on installing a generator so future power outages shouldn't be a problem but were just having a problem with getting it installed properly. We enjoyed our stay very, very much and would definitely return.

Room Tip: We did see some of the other rooms and they looked smaller than the room we had. We really liked ou...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank carpefeline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, 22 September 2012
Dear Guests,

Many thanks for your appreciation.

Francis
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
vancouver
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed 9 April 2012

The Kholle House is an absolute gem in Stone Town. We stayed at this hotel for 5 nights in March and loved everything about it. If you want an a beautiful, clean, charmingly unique hotel with friendly staff then this is the place for you. We originally booked a classic room which we stayed in for one night. We were upgraded to a deluxe room since we were staying 5 nights and it was shoulder season. (Thank you so much!) The room had a beautiful, comfortable canopy bed. The room was very spacious and nicely decorated. The bathroom had an unique concrete tub with lovely soaps, shampoo and oils. There was a balcony with a rocking chair to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere. We were very thankful for the quiet air conditioner. The deluxe room was very spacious and I would recommend this over the smaller classic room. On the top floor there is a roof top terrace which is lovely. We would have a drink and enjoy the sea breeze. The terrace has strips of sheer fabric which would blow in the wind as we sat on piles of pillows. In the distance we could hear children play, the call to pray . . .. . It was absolutely magical. The hotel is full of charm and character. There is a beautiful garden beside the pool. The pool is very clean and cool for a nice dip in the heat. Before you can turn around there is a staff member with a towel for you. I found the service to be outstanding. My emails were answered quickly and with great detail. Bagaya at the reception desk is a lovely young lady who is quick to help you with a smile. She was so friendly and helpful that when I left I could not help but give her a hug!! Ali is a quiet young man who serviced us breakfast everyday with a smile. The breakfast menu was excellent. There was a variety of food and drinks to choice from. I would highly recommend this hotel. It was my favorite hotel of our entire Tanzania trip!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank nanaimo_bar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, 7 September 2012
Asante Sana dear Guest !
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kholle House

Property: Kholle House
Address: Malindi 607 / 608, Stone Town, Zanzibar City 642, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#7 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Kholle House 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kholle House fact sheet:Services & Facilities:• Wi-Fi available• Outdoor swimming pool• Transport to/from airport if required at an additional charge. Zanzibar airport and Dar es Salaam airport – ferry dock• Island tours and sea activities assistance. Kholle House in the heart of Stone Town is an historical and authentic house build in 1860 which belonged to Princess Kholle. Sister of Sayyid Sultan bin Bargash and Princess Salme. The house has probably been there as a showcase from their crystal collection and porcelain.After the revolution in 1964 the house was confiscated and occupied by several families, this period caused severe damages in the house. Three years of restoration has brought us the pleasure to present our town beloved house, the work done in connection with historical monuments and in full respect with the construction methods in the time (coral rubble, lime, mangrove beams, marble…). With a noble and austere facade the building is typically Omani Arabic style while the garden has more Indo-Victorian fantasy rhythms. This style is featured on the covers of the old dispensary which faces Kholle House, that was restored by the Aga Khan Foundation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kholle House Hotel Stone Town
Kholle House Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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