We spent 3 nights at this hotel and really enjoyed our stay. We chose this hotel because it offered the opportunity to stay in a traditional house in the heart of stone town and it didn't disappoint, though it is quite a pricey experience.
The building has been beautifully renovated, on the ground floor there is the reception room and restaurant, then on the first floor are 2 bedrooms and a guest lounge stocked with coffee books and an honesty bar, whilst on the top floor are the remaining four bedrooms. We actually booked the princess room (the cheapest and only small room), but were upgraded to one of the prince rooms on arrival as the hotel wasn't full, much to our advantage. All the rooms are decorated differently, but all offer zanzibar style beds (similar to a four poster but structured to support the mosquito net), and in addition to the usual bedroom furniture, our room also had a sofa. The rooms all have air conditioning and a ceiling fan, though the fan wasn't that effective through the mosquito net and we had to resort to using the a/c every evening. The bathroom in our room was large, though the shower wasn't always hot, and in some rooms the toilet and shower/bath are screened off with a curtain rather than separated by a wall/door from the main part of the room, which may not be to everyone's liking.
The hotel is on the north western edge of Stone Town, close to the sea and in a good area, there are a number of restaurants that you can safely walk to from the hotel and the night market in Forodhani gardens is also within walking distance. The main disadvantage of the location is it's proximity to a mosque, you can't really fail to hear the call to prayer at sunrise, though for me it added atmosphere and it was easy enough to go back to sleep.
Service at Breakfast was a bit hit and miss, breakfast consisted of fruit, bread and cookies and eggs that were cooked to order. The food was fine, but on 2 occasions we waited for more than 10 minutes before anyone came to serve us (and we had made an effort to find someone in that time). Service otherwise was excellent, the rooms were very clean, the staff very friendly and helpful,and every evening when you go out for dinner they come in, turn down the bed, spray mosquito repellent in the room and put the mosquito net surrounding the bed down. We checked out in the middle of a torrential downpour, in an effort to keep us dry on the way to our transfer, the masai guard lent us each an umbrella and then followed us round in the pouring rain to collect them, a nice touch.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- For those who want to experience the charm of a classic Zanzibar setting with a touch of ancient Arabian mystique, the place is Beyt Al Salaam, formerly known as Beyt Al Chai. This is an exquisite 10-room boutique hotel within a traditional Zanzibar house, built on 3 floors in what was once a tea house. Sitting only a few paces from the sea, the house is cool and breezy. On a typical day, guests relax in our beautifully appointed lounge and rooms overlooking a square filled with hibiscus and ancient tamarind trees - simultaneously feeling the pull of the mysterious Indian Ocean that lies just beyond the trees and soaking up the ambiance of this World Heritage Site only steps away from the shops, restaurants and attractions of contemporary Zanzibar. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Beyt Al Chai Hotel Stone Town
- Beyt Al Salaam Zanzibar Island/Stone Town