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“Incompetence...”

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The Africa House Hotel
Ranked #27 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Reviewed 9 August 2013

This review is for the Zanzibar Hotel which is the sister hotel to The Africa House. We were directed from the Zanzibar Hotel to use the services at The Africa House...so the following review consists of both experiences:

I reserved a triple-room with a credit card via e-mail. At check-out,I was asked how I wanted to pay for the room. I indicated I preferred to pay cash since we were close to being done with our trip and we wanted to unload local currency. At check-out, there was no mention of my credit card having already been charged. Either they knew that and intentionally charged me again (fraud) or the staff person did not know that and at the very least demonstrates incompetence. Upon return home and getting my credit card bill, I sent two e-mails explaining the problem. I did finally get a response from someone who said she was new to the hotel and would look into this. A follow-up e-mail and a week later, still no response.

Zanzibar Hotel has a nice video on YouTube. But certainly it fails to live up to it's billing (pun intended). The fountains (which they claim adds serenity to the hotel) were inoperable. We were told to go to the sister hotel (The Africa House) for breakfast which was fine...a short walk and a great view. But the first morning they did not have any coffee and the second morning no flour. The bathroom (as many can be) was its own adventure. With a bizarre step up you had to crouch down so as to not hit your head on the top of the door frame. During the day this is not so much of a problem, but in the fog of night, expletives abound. The usual things don't work such as faucet handles, drain plugs, shower head assembly...and this can be a source of amusement depending on one's mood. But I'm not laughing as the billing fiasco continues...or not as indicative of the hotel's silence.

At check-out, a manager told us that the triple room usual sells for $180 (ridiculous considering the state of the hotel). When I showed her my e-mail that I was quoted $115.00 per night the manager stated that the person who reserved this was no longer working for the hotel. It occurs to me that there is no wonder that we were the only persons in the hotel for the two nights we stayed there...dysfunctional bathrooms, restaurant and billing errors all add up.

Perhaps more disturbing is that my e-mail inquiry has gone unanswered with the exception of one, "I'm looking into it" response that has since gone by the wayside. Any hotel that treats a customer this way serves as an example of poor management...and ultimately a constant "Vacancy" sign.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Service
5  Thank Kevin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 16 February 2017

Dear Guest,

We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to you at Africa House Hotel , We urge you to try our recently revamped services and give us another chance to showcase our hospitality & services.

Your Host,
Team Africa House Hotel.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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101 - 107 of 271 reviews

Reviewed 26 July 2013

The previous review called Denise, the English wife of the owner, a racist. I can't comment on that but on the last day of our stay, as we were coming up the main stairway, my wife and I saw her having a fistfight with a female member of staff, screaming 'I'll have you!' to the woman who had quite clearly had enough and was trying to quit. This was in a public area of the hotel. It was shameful but sadly, just another incident in a stay that was like Fawlty Towers without the laughs.
We also heard her abusing and ranting at staff like they were sub-human.
It is furthermore astonishing that the hotel charges the equivalent of £100 a night for rooms that are coming apart at the seams. We were due to stay nine nights during the Zanzibar film festival in early July but arrived a night late after missing our ferry and were told the room wasn't ready as their renovations had over-run (the owner blamed 'Africa').
We were instead 'upgraded' to a suite located on the first floor. The furnishings flattered to deceive: plush in a photograph but tired in the extreme. The bathroom fittings were old and the showers were salt water - the least refreshing solution to the humidity.
Our first night we struggled to sleep because of incredibly noisy air conditioning units that turned on and off. So we asked to move rooms, but were told that would be difficult. Eventually, they moved us to a room on the floor up with exactly the same air-conditioning vents audible.
After we suggested we wanted our money back to move elsewhere, they moved us to their nearby sister hotel, the Zanzibar Hotel, though 'it wasn't supposed to be ready yet for visitors'.
Our new room was spacious and pleasing to the eye, but the air-con didn't work and had to be fixed, the toliet cistern broke, the sheets weren't clean, and birds were roosting in the roof, making an almighty noise in the early morning.
At Africa House, the drinks were over-priced, the breakfast disappointing, and there was no chef at the hotel restaurant for the majority of our stay. We would have moved after the first night but had paid upfront (which the hotel had insisted upon, more fool us).
The owner Denise shrugged off our comments/complaints with the hide of a rhino.
Otherwise, the staff were keen to please but they were fighting a losing a battle in a hotel that clearly struggles to keep its staff. From our experience, the main reason is not hard to see.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Rcat871
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 16 February 2017

Dear Guest,

We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to you at Africa House Hotel , We urge you to try our recently revamped services and give us another chance to showcase our hospitality & services.

Your Host,
Team Africa House Hotel.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2013

African American couple who were supposed to stay for 3 nights, ended up leaving after just one night....the owner by the name of Denise is a Racist. She treats her staff like dirt , she insults them infront of guests which was really depressing. The meal was really horrible. We paid for breakfast but never got it and she refused to refund our money.
It is such a shame that the beautiful rooms smell like garbage and the roofs of the two bathrooms we were shown before we checked in were all leaking. Salty water to have a shower in. How does the government allow her to have such a business with such low standards of hygiene.
Went to the restaurant floor and it was closed , the kitchen door was open and a foul smell was coming out from there.
The hotel has lost its luster because of the wrong management Very disappointing.

Room Tip: Do not eat any meals from this hotel...you might end up getting dysentery or cholera or even Hepatit...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Vivica_Chao
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 16 February 2017

Dear Guest,

We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to you at Africa House Hotel , We urge you to try our recently revamped services and give us another chance to showcase our hospitality & services.

Your Host,
Team Africa House Hotel.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2013

We stopped in for a cocktail on the balcony at sunset during a day in Stone Town but our evening was spoiled by the over-loud foul language by a group of snotty English girls clearly looking for attention, yah. The staff ignored them but customers all around were clearly becoming agitated by the noise and use of truly awful words, and there were a couple of young teenagers with parents nearby. Would have preferred a bit of staff involvement to quieten them down but the coconut cocktails were delicious, and the view spectacular. Couldn't comment on accommodation but the overall feel of the place was nice.

Worth a visit for a quick drink, not too expensive either.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Bumblebeeluv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 16 February 2017

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review, We are glade you enjoyed our hospitality & services.

We look forward to hosting you again soon.

Your Host,
Team Africa House Hotel

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2013

I called the Africa House to book a night and when I arrived at the hotel I was told that I would have stayed in the sister property called Zanzibar House. Beside the fact that I was not aware they had a sister property as it is not advertize it on the web site, the fact that nobody told me at the moment of the reservation was absurd and very unprofessional. However, i accepted to see the room and decide what to do. The room was located in a separate building, few minutes walk from the main building with restaurant and bars. The building was under renovation and seems more like a ghost house. The room was spacious but not very clean: the bed sheets had big stains and there was dust more or less everywhere. The in suite bathroom was big but in bad conditions: the wall needed to be painted, rust stains from the metal barrier of the shower curtain, and so on.. The room was hot and the AC was extremely noisy at the point that I spent the night waking up to switch it on and off trying to get some sleep. Only pleasant aspect of the room was the bed, quiet comfortable.
We went for a drink in the main bar around 1.30 and we were told they did not served the food as the chef was late to work. We ordered 2 drinks: they had only one juice that seemed to be mixed with water. The coca cola had no gas and when we asked to change it with something else we find out the choice was very small as they did not have the most of the soft drinks in the menu. Of course to be on the safe side we had dinner somewhere else.
The day after we went for breakfast at 7.30: breakfast is served on a lovely terrace with sea view and it would have been a good last memory for us if we would have not waited 45 minutes for tea, coffee, a very small plate of fruit, 2 omelets with 2 sausages and 2 slices of bread...and we were the only guests having breakfast.
However, the hotel has a great potential: the rooms are very spacious, the restaurant and the bars are located on a terrace with a superb sea view. The problem seems to be the management.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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3  Thank Poletti V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 16 February 2017

Dear Guest,

We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to you at Africa House Hotel , We urge you to try our recently revamped services and give us another chance to showcase our hospitality & services.

Your Host,
Team Africa House Hotel.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2013

We slept at this place for three days to be honest the only good thing was sunset but every thing else NOT, water was salt and sometimes no water at all we paid too much for the terrible service, it was very bad situation, rude reception unfriendly staff, i can't recommend this place to any one who want to visit in zanzibar town better to sleep on the road.

Room Tip: The third room on the top
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled on business
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6  Thank Joe J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 16 February 2017

Dear Guest,

We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to you at Africa House Hotel , We urge you to try our recently revamped services and give us another chance to showcase our hospitality & services.

Your Host,
Team Africa House Hotel.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2013

I haven't been there for a couple of years, but this hotel delivers gorgeous sunsets! We did not stay there, but had sun-downers there each evening because we'd been told it had more stable WiFi compared to where we were staying in Stone town. It's also close to the daily evening food market, across the road. In fact the food market is just below the hotel balcony. The food at the hotel was expensive and not very interesting, so we always opted for the fresh finds at the food market below. The building is great and marginally avoids the colonial aesthetic most places of accommodation seem to prefer in Stone town. It was a nice place to socialize and relax before and after the Sauti Za Busara music festival.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Aria E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 16 February 2017

Dear Guest,

We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to you at Africa House Hotel , We urge you to try our recently revamped services and give us another chance to showcase our hospitality & services.

Your Host,
Team Africa House Hotel.

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 The Africa House Hotel

Address: Shangani Street, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#15 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range: £84 - £125 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Africa House Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The African House hotel is located within the prime and historic Stone Town overlooking the open sea and gardens and minutes from the beach and vibrant Shangani square featuring some of the best night life on the Island. The accommodation includes 15 air-conditioned rooms, the Sunset Bar, The Sunset Lounge, a Turkish restaurant (yet to Open), Trade winds Restaurant (For Indian / Chinese / Continental / Italian and local dishes). A historical Library, a large conference hall, Hotel shop outlets and sea facing Shisha decks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Africa Hotel Stone Town
The Africa Hotel
The Africa House Hotel Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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