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“An oasis of calm in a very busy town”

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Zanzibar Serena Hotel
Ranked #7 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Knutsford, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“An oasis of calm in a very busy town”
Reviewed 28 January 2014

Stone Town is dusty and noisy, busy and rather "in your face" with people trying to extract money from you at every turn - so to be able to retreat to the complete calm of this gorgeous hotel was a daily pleasure.

We enjoyed the restaurants; good food if a little expensive - the pool; shade from the blazing sun and companionship from other guests - and our room; comfortable with an enormous balcony facing the setting sun - glorious!

The thing that struck us the most about our stay here was the help that we received when I became ill (don't ask - I must have eaten something strange somewhere!!). The gentleman who fronts the house for the hotel, Yussuf, went to every length to help me to get to a doctor (he drove me and accompanied me in person) and to get the medicines I needed to make a full recovery. He is an absolute star; I cannot thank you enough, Yussuf.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

682 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (183)
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Cape Town, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 January 2014 via mobile

The entrance to the hotel and patio area are lovely. Best for sundowners.
More than that don't waste your time and a significant amount of money here. I can positively recommend Emerson Spice or even The Dhow Palace. Both of these offer better value and a truer Zanabari experience.

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
philadelphia area
Level 6 Contributor
90 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 January 2014

What to say about this charming hotel right on the ocean? It's a wonderful choice right in StoneTown. It's walking distance from the shopping areas, it is situated on a beach, but it's a public beach, so you wouldn't really go on from the hotel. The hotel does have their own beach, which is a ride they transport you to, up to the northern part of the island. The pool area, however, is special. It's a beautiful pool surrounded by tropical plants and a beautiful sundeck. You look out over the Indian Ocean, and can see Changuu Island from the deck. There is a lovely little bar, with waiter service to the lounge chairs. There is a sitting area outside of the bar. The Terrace restaurant is good. Our dinner and breakfast were included in our price. The service is a bit slow, but they serve you well and are polite. The tables are set up inside, but there are abundant open windows with louvres that look out over the beach and ocean. Sunset was magnificent! Our room was large, as we had a suite. There was 1 full bathroom with separate tub and shower, with great shower amenities. There was a powder room off the living area. Mini bar/fridge (for charge), and some complimentary bottled water. There was an in room safe. The big windows looking out over the terrace also have louvres on them that locked down for the night, and there is a large stained glass window from the master bedroom onto the balcony. The balcony had a little sitting area, and overlooked the courtyard with a partial view of the ocean. The rooms were air conditioned (!) which is key in the Zanzabari summer. Yussuf at the front entrance is great! He is THE person to ask for everything. The front desk staff were fine, but Yussuf knew everything. He helped us with our bags, with directions, where to go, with towels for the pool and for our trip the next morning out to Changuu Island. He was funny, personable, and charming, and most of all, helpful. Make sure to tip him well!

Room Tip: ask for a room on the first or second floor. there is no elevator. ask for one facing the water...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 January 2014

My fiancé and I went to Serena after visiting a five star camp in the Mara and it was a real come down. The hotel is well located and it was lovely to wake up to the sound of the waves. The decor is lovely but the rooms are incredibly tiny and cramped. The food is average and the service is unbelievably slow, most of the time they got our drinks order wrong.

Our experience at the hotel was marred by a problem we had with the air con in our room on day one. We arrived to find that the AC was not working at all in our room. We complained. Hours later no one had come to fix it yet. I had to call reception and room service a total of FIVE TIMES over two hours before I got a call-back explaining that they would try fix our AC from the main external unit. We went down to the reception to complain. The receptionist was very very disrespectful and rude. She made it seem like it was a favour she was doing calling someone to fix our AC. After much complaint I demanded they put us in a new room. She rudely told us to go up and really make sure the AC was not working before she would move us. We had to walk back up 3 flights of stairs to check.
(I wonder if Serena would treat someone who was disabled or unwell in such a manner?)

You can get the drift of this little saga.

The Hyatt is being built right next door to Serena so I can tell you this will be the last time we stay at Serena. Management better perk up or lose out.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the third floor, any other room is likely to be noisy, especially if it faces the...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 January 2014

After searching the options I decided to stay in Stone Town instead of heading to a secluded spot. I was not disappointed at all/ We were greeted by Yousef a wonderful man who welcomed us and made us feel at home. We climbed the 4 flights to the top floor, by the 4th day we were in good shape with no huffing and puffing. We were with our adult children and decided to splurge with a deluxe room with huge balcony, great air conditioning (a must) and a beautiful room with a full view of the Indian ocean. Our children got the adjacent room and we opened their balcony so we could all be together. It has great furniture and a hammock. The beds were comfortable and we just loved being there. The hotel arranged all of our touring. We toured Stone Town, The Spice Farm, and the Jozani Forrest in the mornings and sat by the pool in the afternoon. We also met Suleman, who sent us to the Silk Route and had a great meal, in fact we went their twice. I highly recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: Ask for the upper floor on the right side looking out to the beach. The chicken burgers were great...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canada
Level 6 Contributor
113 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2014

I stayed here for 4 nights on a business trip to Zanzibar, Tanzania. This is an upmarket luxury Regional Chain hotel in a great central Stone-town district location. This Hotel is great for both business and leisure travelers. This hotel sits right on a white sandy beaches with local dhows continuously sailing by. This is a very safe location. The pool and bar and main restaurants were breath-taking. The staff was very friendly and always willing and able to assist. The rooms were very small as this Hotel is based on old-world styles however, the larger balcony with the views made up for the room size, I had a King-size bed which took up the majority of the room. The Room was trimmed with exotic local woods which added to the charm of the Hotel. For your own protection the entire bed is encased in an elaborate bug net system. If you have to get up in the dark in the middle of the night, to find your way out of the netting this will definitely wake you up! Overall this was a great stay and I would recommend to all. This Hotel is rather pricy, so shop around on all typical search engines as a bit of effort will pay off !!

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a balcony view of the pool / ocean
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kelso, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 January 2014

Unfortunately we only had the one night here. It has a great location only 10-15 minutes from the airport. Less from the port. Excellent check in and although we had a side room it was first class. Suleiman (a real character) settled us in and on our request recommended a restaurant which was really good (Silk route; Indian food) Although there is a really nice restaurant in the hotel, where we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast. Huge selection and perched right by the Indian ocean.
It is worth it to simply sit and watch the sun go down as the Dows sail by add to this the heat, noises and smell's (Not unpleasant) it conjures the archetypal picture you see in magazines and on TV. There is a Hyatt being built nearby however it will not match the authentic boutique feel of this hotel. If I return to Stone town I would be more than happy to stay at this hotel again.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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 Business Hotel in Stone Town
#4 Luxury 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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