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Zanzibar Serena Hotel
Ranked #7 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Top of the line”
Reviewed 15 April 2014

If youre willing to pay for it, its an amazing experience. The whole complex is completely relaxing and has an amazing view along the beach. The rooms are picture perfect and the historic buildings beautiful. Breakfast buffet also amazing.

Stayed May 2013, travelled on business
Helpful?
1 Thank jason k
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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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (183)
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English first
Los Angeles, California
Level 6 Contributor
151 reviews
85 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2014

Really liked the buildings, the architecutre, history and the ambiance. Stayed 3 nights, end of a 5-week, 6 country trip to Africa. Food was good to very good and the staff was helpful and accommodating. The travel company had not booked any tours and I was told to make arrangements with the hotel. The travel coordinator in the hotel lobby quoted prices that were high and to places I did not want to see. I asked what other options and he introduced me to a local guide; local guides hang out across the stree from the front of the Inn. Did a walking tour one day, very good guide, cannot remember his name, But he is the brother of a guide that took me by car around the island the following day--This guide goes by the name of Spiderman and was very knowledgable and well known to all of the locals. By all means take a walking tour of Stone Town including the central market. Tip: Negotiate with the guides, they have to make some money, but it did not take too long to reach an agreement fair to both sides. Cannot assess the value for the $ since I have no idea what I paid. There are also other hotels in Stone Town that would be very satisfactory, and also with signficant history. Tip: Make sure you kinow what is included in your you hotel package; when I checked in they said I had not paid for Dinner, but it was included. So.....not sure an oversight on their part or trying to charge me twice. Also pass on the roof top restaurant, expensive and not worth the difference between the dinner package in the dining room on the first floor. Take the thotel shuttle to Mangwapani, price is right (complimentary) and you see some of the coutryside going and coming back.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Dionges1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 March 2014

Spent the last night on Zanzibar at the Serena Inn. The hotel is nice enough, but not quit a give star resort. Nothing wrong about the place but a bit expensive compered to other hotels in Stone Town.
The location is very good, just on the beach on the outskirts of the old town of Stone Town. There is unfortunatley a mismatch between check out time on booking and what the hotel operates with, this ment we had to vacant our room an hour earlier then planned. (I had expected the staff to show more flexibility here at $400 a night)

All inn all a nice hotel, but no fire star......

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tutdelafrut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
262 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 March 2014

This Oceanside property which is 10 minutes (15,000tz shillings) away from the airport, is in the heart of Stone Town on a beach which gets a lot of local traffic before dusk. It is a very nice hotel, especially by Tanzanian standards and its location on the beach is excellent. We booked the hotel through an agent because the web sites were not showing availability. The price turned out to be very expensive on a half-board basis, over eight hundred dollars for the night. Others who booked in advance did much better.
The hotel itself is an amalgamation between a former company office and the past residence of a Chinese doctor. It is joined in the middle by an Arabic designed elegant reception. The reception is done jointly by a security guard and a porter in an exotic uniform. At our arrival, both men were tall and sizeable inspiring the feeling that not just anyone gets in to this hotel. The nature of the hotel is that it has many entry points and the hotel seems to make a point to have plenty of security staff on hand at all times.
The reception was efficient enough although they were expecting a child instead of a young adult travelling with us and had to put in a bigger bed on arrival. The netting had to be finalized later.
We had a two bedroom suite with an antechamber between them. The suite was equipped with a half bathroom and a fully appointed bathroom off the master suite which featured attractive tiling and a separate shower with plenty of hot water and good water pressure. The toiletries supplied were elegant and high quality and even included bug repellent from ... France!
The bedding was comfortable and elegant. The netting over the second bed was low and a little bit obtrusive but it worked. The suite was equipped with one TV with a handful of channels including news and sports in English. A safe was available in the room. The suite itself was a cross between the ever present Arabic and Indian influence. The balcony gave onto the gardens with a partial view on the ocean.
The porter service was prompt and efficient. Ally, our porter, went out of his way to give us a little explanation on the history of the house when we came back from lunch. We lounged around the pool a little in the in the afternoon and the sound of the waves and the presence of several security guards made the afternoon very peaceful. The pool is very nice but is often closed between 6 and 8pm for chlorination.
We had the buffet supper by the pool, an occasional occurrence at the hotel. The buffet was varied and good with very good roasted calamari. The wine list was competent but not extensive. You pay for everything here, including water at the table, a common occurrence.
It would have been a very pleasant experience sitting by the ocean with the warm sea breeze blowing gently over us but a very good, but very loud orchestra drowned out any conversation. Yes, we are a little older and like our peace and quiet. A younger couple may have enjoyed the good, loud music more than we did.
Laundry was an issue. We checked on the logistics of the laundry and were assured we would get our laundry would be ready in the morning. On the point of leaving, we had still not received our laundry. The helpful fellow at the reception did manage to retrieve it but it was still all humid and a few pieces of men's underwear had not been washed. I am told there is a reticence to wash underwear in Tanzania; this may be part of the issue. The receptionist did say the dryer was having difficulties and offered to take off the price of the underwear. This was a token gesture which simply did not cover the issue or make us happy.
We had lunch in the dining room. The food and service was very good. The servers understood English very well, a rarity in Tanzania. The food itself was fresh and tasty. The Indian food served was very respectable. The café latte was also very good, reflecting the frequency of visit by Italian guests.
There were a few children around and the pool and the beach would have kept them busy. I did not notice the presence of elevators on the property but could be wrong. Otherwise, the staff, service and food were very good and we will be better shoppers if we ever decide to go to the Serena Zanzibar and we will bring plenty of clean clothes.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank 432JamesD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bicester, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
198 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 March 2014 via mobile

We stayed here for 3 nights and were really glad that we had booked this place. It was so nice to be able to go back to a lovely hotel with a really nice pool overlooking the ocean after the hustle and bustle of Stone Town.
The restaurant does a really good breakfast and good (though quite expensive) dinner but the real benefit is that you dine with a view of the ocean: the windows are low so that you feel as though you are sitting right by the beach.
Free afternoon tea with pancakes is served by the pool every afternoon.
All the staff we came across were really helpful and friendly and we were greeted every time we arrived back at the hotel by Suleman who treated us like long lost friends.
Rooms have everything you need and are nicely furnished: a bit on the small side but absolutely fine and with nice balcony.

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank katejcarr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2014

Situated right by the beach and ideal for watching the sunset. Our room was on the small side but comfortable and with a wrap around balcony with sea and swimming pool views. The food was very good.
Booked for us by 'Real Africa'

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Belinda N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Benahavis, Spain
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 February 2014

This is a pretty good hotel, efficiently run and very well situated close to the old (dilapidated) Stone Town. The hotel also provides a shuttle to go to the Mangwapani Beach, about 25 minutes away in the north-western part of the island.

This was the last stop in our "Serena Royal Safari" and it turned out to be a major disappointment. Most rooms are rather small and the staff is sometime rude. The General Manager was very helpful to try and make our stay as pleasant as possible, but the contrast with the superb Serena lodges and camps in the bush could not be greater. On the first day the hotel was crowded and many a passer-by on the nearby beach were rowdy. This was a far cry from the "haven of tranquility and opulence" promised on Serena's website (indeed, this hotel does not deserve its labeling as one of the "Small Luxury Hotels of the World" -- it is neither small nor that luxurious; it surely cannot be on par with the Kirawira Camp in the Serengeti)!

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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Phil0009
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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