The Swahili House is a restored, fine 19th century Indian merchant’s house, which had become a rather run-down hotel in the late 20th century.

The new hotel opened in January 2009 and it's right in the centre of old Stone Town, close to the market. Its big plus is the huge rooftop area with a bar, restaurant and plenty of room to lounge.

Where else can you enjoy breakfast on a sunny morning with the sights and sounds of Stone Town wafting up from below?

In late afternoon, enjoy a cocktail at the bar and see the sun set over the Stone Town rooftops.

At night, the restaurant serves a wide range of food, including fresh fish and seafood, Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, all flavoured with Zanzibar spices, and accompanied by a bottle from their extensive wine cellar. The hotel has five floors, and a rickety Zanzibari staircase, but - wonder of wonders - the owners got permission to install a lift!

Normally, the planning authorities do not countenance such modern additions. So it does not have to be a trudge up to the roof terrace.


There are 22 rooms, decorated in traditional antique Swahili style, although the curtained beds have European-size mattresses, and all rooms have air-conditioning as well as fans. Many rooms have open bathrooms with a large stone bath in which you can relax and recover after your foray into Stone Town. There are three room categories.

The Sultan Suites are large (45 sqm) and have balconies; the suites are smaller, at 33 sqm, and some have balconies; the deluxe rooms are about 20 sqm without balconies.

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Craig Kaufman

Travel Specialist

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