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“Great experience”

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Zanzibar Serena Hotel
Ranked #7 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Great experience”
Reviewed 5 October 2013

We stayed here for one night because we wanted to be in Stone Town. This is an awesome hotel. It is a member of the prestigious list of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and no doubt it is one. The ocean view from the rooms and the dining area was beautiful. The restaurants are nice. Truly an amazing experience.

Room Tip: There are no lifts in this hotel. So if you choose a room on the top level, you will have to walk u...
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank ajnathan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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682 reviews from our community

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Sunshine Coast
Level 6 Contributor
373 reviews
81 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 222 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 October 2013

Very "olde world", we felt like we had been transported back to a grand era of travel long gone, with beautiful decor, helpful polite staff and fresh sea breezes wafting through the open windows. The breakfast room overlooks a small beach and you are entertained with early morning exercise rituals of the locals and a passing array of water craft from traditional dhows and fishing outriggers to distant container ships. The kitchen will cook eggs to your specification, although there is an element of "surprise" when my eggs arrived not quite as described, but they were edible. The buffet meals were filling. The pool area is beautiful and the evening poolside entertainment pleasant. The location on the edge of the old Stone Town is very convenient. Do take a walking tour with a guide as the streets and laneways are very confusing and you will be harangued by vendors and peddlars, all the time. A sunset dhow cruise is a must.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Beetrootears
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 September 2013

The Serena Inn is a beautiful hotel located right in the old Stone Town of Zanzibar. If you are looking for a beach vacatiion, this is not it. They have a lovely pool and beautiful views overlooking the water but you cannot swim in the ocean there. They have a nice restaurant with water views and the upstairs seafood restaurant is a great experience. The food is delicious and you are outside with the stars. Staff goes the extra mile. Stone Town is a great place to see, all the Sultan's palace and the old streets and markets but you will be bothered with people constantly trying to sell you things or pickpockets. There is a lot of poverty in Zanzibar. You will notice at the Serena Inn, there are security guards all along the property. They do a nice job there, live music most nights and they will go out of their way to see that you are taken care of the. The Manager, Yusef (Big Joe) is very personable and will take care of anything you need. Be sure and get them to set up a sunset sail in a dhow for you. Great experience. If you want to do a beach vacation, go to the other side of the island. Also, the Serena Inn beach is not all that great. No swimming at low tide. The architecture is spectacular.

Room Tip: Room 36 has a great balcony with a hammock and a day bed.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank ljsmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 September 2013

We absolutely loved our visit at the Zanzibar Serena Inn. It is a perfect location right on the Indian Ocean, and next to historic Stone Town. We had an ocean front room that was absolutely beautiful. The Inn serves a wonderful complimentary breakfast each morning and also offers delicious complimentary tea and crepes at 4:00 poolside. The pool area is beautiful. Poolside service is available too. In addition, the Serena owns a private beach on the other side of Zanzibar that is fantastic. They offer a complimentary shuttle service over at 10am and back at 3pm. The private beach also offers cute tiki like lounge areas that provide plenty of shade if you want that, drink and food service at reasonable prices, even water shoes to protect your feet from the coral present in the ocean. The water temp. of the Indian Ocean was warm! In the evenings, they have a fantastic local group that performs traditional music. We made sure to allow enough time to have a drink before dinner where they were playing.

The staff is fantastic. The manager, Charles, went out of his way to check in with us each day to see if everything was going well. Loved the doorman too. Everyone on the staff was friendly and helpful. Mohammed gave us an excellent walking tour of Stone Tone. What a fascinating place.

We were there 3 nights and chose to try dinner at the Serena on their rooftop Terrace. The setting was magical under the stars, and right on the ocean, but the food was just OK, not terrible, but a disappointment considering the price of about $50 pp, excluding alcohol. Our other 2 meals in town were much better, and much cheaper too. We found this peculiar because all of the other food (breakfast, poolside crepes, and lunch ordered at their beach), was delicious.

Thank you to the entire staff for a wonderful stay.

Room Tip: Not all of the rooms are ocean front rooms, so specifically ask for this, if this is what you want...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank chjada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Axbridge
Level 6 Contributor
165 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 September 2013

We had 3 nights in this lovely old hotel. We arrived after an exciting but extremely dusty safari in Tanzania and although we must have looked somewhat grubby we were made very welcome. Our room wasn`t large but the wrap-around balcony with tables, chairs and hammock more than made up for that. It was spotlessly clean, the staff were all welcoming and helpful and the sunset views were amazing. Dinner on our first night was a BBQ round the pool with an accompanying band and on another night we ate on the seafood roof terrace. The food was very good as was the service. Also there are plenty of good restaurants within strolling distance.
We chose this hotel for it`s position, overlooking the sea but within walking distance of the old town and we were not disappointed.

Room Tip: Room 7 is a corner room on the ground floor away from the pool. Lovely balcony. Room and bathroom sm...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank LadyGAxbridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
569 reviews
119 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 278 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 September 2013

We almost didn't stay at this hotel – it being the most expensive in Stone Town, at close to $400 per night (supposed to be a good contract rate already) it's way more than what we'd normally consider reasonable. It was a splurge, no question about it. Was it worth it? Probably debatable (would I really rather get that larger wood carving of a giraffe instead with the savings?). But cost aside, its a really elegant boutique hotel, we enjoyed every minute of our stay there and had no complaints (almost). Beautiful seaside location, extremely friendly and accommodating staff, exquisitely furnished and decorated rooms with big private balconies (regular rooms are not that spacious but the high ceilings made up for it), an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of center of Stone Town. The only hotel there that felt like a secluded resort despite being only steps away from all the action (at least until the large international chain hotel under construction next door opens). The breakfast buffet (included in the room rate) was sumptuous with delicious local favorites (like rice cakes, sesame bread, fried bananas, and they vary the flavor of the potatoes everyday to keep the dish interesting), take you time sampling everything (you might have no choice as egg orders might take forever) and you won't be hungry until dinner. Wifi was good and fast. Pool was heated and just large enough for laps swimming – very pleasant to do early in the morning when no one else was around. If we had more time there, would also have liked to take the free shuttle and check out the hotel's Mangapwani beach (the public beach next to the hotel seemed fine too, there's just no direct access or service from the hotel as they don't encourage you to use it).

Room Tip: Rooms facing the pool and sea are very pleasant and probably more desirable - we had 14 (twin bedded...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank paxa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sarnen
Level 5 Contributor
95 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 September 2013

Luve smaller Hotels like this one in the heart of stonetown right by the sea. Nice and friendly staff. It is not a standart Hotel and all the rooms are different. At the Moment it is the best place in stonetown . .but competiion is on its way.... very nice Restaurant overlooking the sea.

Room Tip: all the rooms are different. This Hotel was not built as a Hotel. No Elevators.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank sarnentraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Zanzibar Serena Hotel

Property: Zanzibar Serena Hotel
Address: Kelele Square, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Stone Town
#2 Spa Hotel in Stone Town
#3 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#4 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
#4 Business Hotel in Stone Town
#5 Family Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Zanzibar Serena Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 51
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Zanzibar Serena Hotel Stone Town
Zanzibar Serena Stone Town
Zanzibar Serena Hotel Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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