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“Overstated. Unequal service. Noisy”
Review of Maru Maru Hotel

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Maru Maru Hotel
Ranked #9 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Bruxelles
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Overstated. Unequal service. Noisy”
Reviewed 18 August 2013

We stayed one night in this hotel, with family of 5 spread in 2 rooms - reservation via booking.com. The receptionist, a cold local lady not speaking much but handling your reservation mechanically without any sympathy, was a first sign of the poor communication skills at this place. They placed us on the third floor, new section of the hotel, in a noisy corridor just below the restaurant - room 309 and 310. AVOID THOSE ROOMS and any of them at this floor. Those are in high passage area, but also just below the noisy restaurant were noise came till quite late in the evening, and from 6 am in the morning. Also, the higher part of the room doors are a window, with not curtain, so making the room pretty much light from very early in the morning. The room themselves are far from the "design" stamp this hotel is advertising in their communication. They actually much looked to us as "cheap" Asian type of room, just functional with no charm,and very white light. far from being a charming place. Dinner on the roof top was another experience, with an early reservation not respected (they finally put us on the terrace side of the restaurant, with limited light: we ordered 4 pizza's, to hear 10 minutes later that only 2 pizza' were still available (go and understand this!). It took over 40 minutes to deliver those, plus a soup and some naam, for a poor eating experience. When we came back the the room, the staff had emptied so much anti mustiko's spray in our kids room that it took us 1 hour to have this unpleasant toxic smell disappear from the room, with open doors and windows (by the way,there were no mustiko's in the city at that time of the year)
The good thing about the place is its location, very close to the old StoneTown attractions. Check out is at 11.00- as our flight was later in the afternoon, we negotiated upfront to leave the rooms at 12.00. We want to the city on our last day morning and came back on the hotel at 11.45, with anotehr lady receptionist shouting at me from the desk that our room had to be left at 11.00, and that we're needed to hurry out.... Another good sign of communication amongst staff members. WIFI is free, but with very poor signal on the third floor. all in all, and experience we would not recommend.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Barabar007
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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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (107)
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English first
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 August 2013

I stayed one night at this hotel which I selected on the basis of its very good reviews. When I arrived a bit earlier than checkin time, they kept me waiting in the hotel and serving others in the same position. Communication overall is poor - they really should have told me to drop my bags and come back in a couple of hours which would have been totally fine by me. they did find me a room but despite the fact that I asked for a quiet room, I was on the 3rd floor in a noisy hallway. it turned out to be even noisier at night because the sound from the band playing on the roof terrace restaurant echoed through the open hallways (I was on the floor below the roof). The food in the restaurant is average and the service at times is slow and bizarre (one of the servers at breakfast asked me to leave my table so she could set it for lunch ?! and asked another woman at the table next to me to change seats (but stay at the same table) so she could also set the table for lunch ??!). On the plus side, it is in a great location, it is very clean and modern, the roof terrace has a great view and is a fantastic spot for sunset cocktails. The complimentary breakfast is served until 10, got there around 9.30, they were out of some items at that time - fruit, potatoes, even coffee cups! Took a little while to resolve these shortages! When I was checking out, i asked to leave my bags because my flight was a few hours later. no problem except they didn't give you any receipt for holding your bags, I have no idea how they know whose bags are whose... also a routine checkout took about 30 minutes with 2 people at the front desk checking out one person. If there was a hotel system problem, it would have been more appropriate to let me know what the delay was instead of having me stand at the front desk while they worked through their check out protocol! Overall, I rated this hotel as average... if i stayed there again, probably would not eat at the restaurant.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Alice H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maputo, Mozambique
Level Contributor
31 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 August 2013

My stay at the Maru Maru back in May was perfect! The staff were always helpful and pleasant; they arranged an amazing tour of Stone Town; and were flexible when I couldn't make up my mind about arranging times for spa treatments. The food in the restaurant was so good that I stayed in for dinner. I am looking forward to returning next year.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank MEDMaputo_Mozambique
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 August 2013

The hotel is centrally located , very convenient for exploring the various sights of Stone Town. We were welcomed with a refreshing drink of the Bongo juice and then shown to our rooms. The rooms are all set around a courtyard giving a traditional touch to the hotel. The first room we were shown was much smaller than what we had seen on the website but when I mentioned this, we were immediately put into a larger beautifully fragranced room with a four poster bed and a spacious bathroom. We were also shown the famous waterfall bath room. We were out for most of the day but when we returned, the fragrance in our room had worn off to give a hint of sewage like smell. We immediately reported this to the reception but the hotel was full and they could not get us 2 rooms next to each other ( travelling with 2 children). Since we were only there for a night, we decided to put up with it. The bed was very comfortable and the staff were helpful. The roof terrace is lovely with wonderful views. We were also impressed by the breakfast which although not vast, was delicious, and we got to sample the local spiced coffee, bread fruit, cassava and other exotic fruits. Overall a good clean hotel ideally located to explore Stone Town.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank nimi-m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
55 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2013

The Maru Maru is in a lovely location right in the centre of Stone Town. The rooms are tranquil and comfortable with good air conditioning and a spacious bathroom. The staff are very helpful and friendly. Although we arrived really early we were greeted with a cooling drink and were given our room straight away. The rooftop restaurant and bar has beautiful views across Stone Town and is really lovely at sunset. Breakfast was really good...although there wasn't a vast selection, everything was freshly served and included both international and local choices to try; it was the best we had on Zanzibar. We ate at the restaurant one evening and the food was very good. I think the only negative, which was very minor, was the time it took to get served with drinks.
All in all, we would not hesitate to return.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank CarolandRog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
126 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2013

Maru Maru Hotel is perfectly located in Stone Town, everything is within reach in a few minutes’ walk, including water front, Old Port, House of Wonderers, Palace Museum, information office, old castle, bank/ATM (not many available in Stone Town).

The hotel room is far smaller than the impression we got from the professional photos shown on their website, but it’s immaculately kept. The deco is modern yet in a traditional style, very pleasant.
The best feature of the hotel is its roof top bar and restaurant. The food in restaurant wasn’t that great. The breakfast hasn’t got much to write home about either. But the Happy Hour between 4:00 to 7:00pm is an experience one shouldn’t miss. The view from there is fantastic, roof tops of the whole city painted orange colour by the Sunset were truly beautiful.

Few points I feel worth mentioning for other travellers:

If you travel to other parts of Zanzibar after Stone Town, please be aware there isn’t any ATM in some of the islands and credit cards are not very popular at Zanzibar

Wifi is free, but NOT reliable, we stayed there for 4 nights, the wifi only worked for a little while for the first day, the rest of times, even when computer indicated it’s connected, but it couldn’t open any webpage nor receive/send emails; you need to get different user names and passwords for different devices and they only good the 24 hours, you need to ask new ones every day.

We stayed on 3rd floor, it was very noisy as it’s right under the rooftop restaurant.

Gave yourselves some time to settle the bills, sometimes, it could take lot longer than you anticipated

For ladies, there is no hair conditioner nor shower caps provided; if you need a hair dryer, you need to ask the reception

Room Tip: 3rd floor is directly under the rooftop restaurant & Bar, can be very noisy, try to avoid it if...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Petitewave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hereford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 August 2013

Bill Clinton and an entourage of 50 joined us while we were at this hotel, so clearly a decent choice in Stone Town.

A seasoned visitor to Stone Town, this is the third hotel I have chosen to stay at, and I have visited several others.

Marumaru offers a superior stay in several respects:

1. The staff are outstanding with their welcome, and work hard and attentively to make your visit most relaxing and enjoyable. Front of house are excellent; charming, good humoured and energetic. Cleaners always a have bright welcome and do a good job around the place.
2. Bedrooms are excellent. The beds are large, soft and offer opportunity for a deep sleep.
3. Bathrooms a beautifully furnished with an expansive shower space.
4. The rooftop is a pleasant place to be.
5. If you want to step straight on to the bustle of the ancient narrow streets with small local shops, it is the place to be.
6. It is also right next to the faded glory of the Sultan's Palace and the fish market that fronts the Indian Ocean.

But this is Africa, so there are also areas where you have to compromise and make a choice:
1. Although Bill and Co. enjoyed a magnificent evening meal there, breakfast is indifferent. Do not book for breakfast, try to find Stone Town Cafe, an apparently modest place with local food and coffee to start the day.
2. Contrary to comments below, it is not the BEST place for a sundowner. Unsurpassable in Stone Town is the bar/restaurant set in the former nineteenth century British Embassy that offers great food and very special bar.
3. The hotel can have intrusive noise from outside. Local boys would tour drumming from sometime around midnight. This would not be for everyone, but we enjoyed the " local colour"
4. Local rubbish is collected in the corner of the wall of the Old Fort, right to one side of the front of the hotel. It is slowly moved on a daily basis. Whilst it does not intrude into the immaculate hotel, it is unsightly and odorous when arriving and departing.

Whilst Marumaru does not have the ancient style or setting of Tembo Hotel, or the expensive traditional quality of Zanzibar Spice Hotel( for which you have to book months in advance), it does offer exemplary service and attention, very good rooms with great beds, and a feel of "Old Town Stone Town" - just ask Bill Clinton!

Room Tip: Avoid top floor, go for first or second floor overlooking street.
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mark L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Maru Maru Hotel

Property: Maru Maru Hotel
Address: 397 - 400 Gizenga Street | Shangani, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Stone Town
#6 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
#10 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#10 Family Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Maru Maru Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 44
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the heart of the UNESCO world heritage site of StoneTown, Maru Maru Hotel is just a few steps from the city’s historical wonders, colourful markets and labyrinth of shops. Once a town house famous for its marble floors and tiles, it has now been lovingly restored to offer 44 bright rooms blending classic Zanzibar style with iconic design and modern luxuries. Its roof terrace offers one of the best views in the city with a 360° panorama and is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail as the sun melts into the Indian Ocean. The relaxed ambiance at Maru Maru continues long into the night as people come to enjoy a vast variety of Continental, Chinese Indian and Swahili cuisine, view art in Maru Maru’s gallery and enjoy the captivating sound of Tahareb music as it floats into the night. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Maru Maru Hotel Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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