8 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"After our terrific trip through Tanzania and Sansibar we stayed two nights in Swahili House. We enjoyed the rest of our holidays in this old, very well restored house with unique rooms and friendly staff in the middle of the old town. From the roof restaurant we had a fantastic view over the town and an exellent ,very delicious dinner. We find it is really a good place to stay."
- Travel date: Tue 27th of October 2009
Exotic last night of 3Â½ weeks' safari to Tanzania
"Located in the heart of Stonetown's narrow streets Swahili House offers an oasis of spacious air conditioned rooms and a delightful roof top restaurant. The eclectic management team comprising a Belgian boss, Dutch deputy, Scouse chef and local waiters made us extremely welcome. We wish we'd stayed there longer. The steep stairs have their own charm but are not for the faint hearted."
- Travel date: Mon 26th of October 2009
Glad we were only there for one night
"When we arrived we were given a very warm welcome, escorted up flights of stairs (not for the faint hearted) to the roof top terrace for a chat and a welcome drink. We discussed our needs for the following morning early start (5.45a.m. pick up) and agreed that we would like a wake up call at 5.15 and breakfast would be brought to our room at the same time, most importanly a cup of tea!! This did not happen, luckily I had set the alarm on my phone so at least we did not oversleep. But lack of liquid refreshment to start the day did not go down well with husband who needs two cups of tea to function. We did have a meal in the roof top rstaurant which was very good, loely atmosphere and all the food was cooked to order. The room on first impresssion a bit basic but not to bad until we used the loo, cistern did not flush. The shower was very hit and miss with the hot water. Would not like to have stayed here for very long."
- Travel date: Sun 25th of October 2009
"My husband and I stayed with a group of 18 in the hotel. We had an excellent 3 night stay. Rooms are a pleasure, clean and well taken care of. The hotel is a former princesses palace and it is furnished in style.
The rooftop restaurant has a great view and serves good food, even for a group of 19!
It is situated in the old part of Stone Town. Once you know your way around it is a great town!
The hotel is well run."
- Travel date: Sat 24th of October 2009
Nice if you wanst stay only one or few nights.
"We have stayed with friends and 3 children. Hotel is nice, restaurant- bar really nice. Food, service really good. Only one minus â hotel is very high, it was not so easy with small children, but anyway the view form the top of hotel/ restaurant is marvelous."
- Travel date: Sat 24th of October 2009
Please don't select this hotel.
"We stayed 2 nights in this hotel in order to visit Stone Town. The hotel is well located: in the center close to the markets. That's the only thing we really liked. Breakfast was good although not special. Airco never worked; shower never worked! Ice cold water (also when using only the hot water tap) or hot (90C also when using only the cold water tap)! Although the management promised us to fix the problem, nothing happened. This hotel is priced 210 USD per night per person! Sorry to say that it is not even worth 50 USD per night per room."
- Travel date: Wed 9th of September 2009
"i browsed thru a lot of hotel sites on the web for a truly authentic arabic experience and i was not let down by my stay in the swahili house. My arabic experience started from the time i stepped off the ferry and into Stone Town. Charles, a helpful young man, met me with a big smile and off we went through the labyrinth. Much as i had expected of the mazy alley ways (similar to Mombasa's old town) but what i didnt expect was the hospitality, warmth, character of the Swahili house hotel. Its a good work out climbing the steep stairs of the hotel but that does create a good appetite. Enter my room on the second floor... the more peaceful, captivating experience i have had. What surprised me was the huge height of the room ... better for me as there is less noise of the AC. Next stop - the roof top ... the ambience, views are truly out of a fairy tale book. The staff were very welcoming.. especially Adam. A brief conversation with him of his life in Zanzibar, made me realise that the locals are passionate and hospitable. Cold beer, fantastic roof top views, fantastic hotel, only thing missing was my missus and a sheesha .. that would have competed the picture. Thank you for a wonderful memorable stay at Swahili house. I give it a 5/5 rating."
- Travel date: Fri 17th of July 2009
A new gem, with terrific service
"We had a terrific experience at the Swahili House for four nights in mid-April. When we were there, it was in the final stages of remodeling. They have done a beautiful job of maintaining a sense of Zanzibar style â with a tall central atrium, very high beam ceilings and a beautiful rooftop restaurant/bar.
The hotel choice felt like a gamble because there weren't any trip advisor reviews yet. Still, the e-mail communication was great â and that made us more comfortable. The hotel arranged for transportation from the ferry, and the driver was very conscientious about finding us amid the arriving crowds. The hotel is behind the large outdoor market, at the edges of the Stone Town tourist district. We felt that the location was good â allowing quick access to the tourist areas, without being overwhelmed or crowded by them.
I was a little off-kilter because on our way to Dar Es Salaam, South African Airways had lost my luggage. They were going to fly the bag to Zanzibar â but I was going to have to go to the airport and get it. We'd told Brenda, the manager about it. She was kind enough to help coordinate some of the communication with the airline's baggage service. To our great surprise, the bag mysteriously showed up in our room. We didn't realize it at the time, but Brenda had gone to the airport and retrieved the bag while we were at breakfast. Now, that's what I call above and beyond. I was amazed that someone would go to that effort for a guest.
The warm service extended to the dining area on the rooftop deck (where we had several delicious meals). Everyone we encountered was friendly and seemed genuinely happy to see us. Because the hotel is one of the taller buildings around, the views are impressive. The rooftop is much more spacious than the rooftop bar at 236 Hurumzi - but it's probably worthwhile to visit both if you have time.
While we were in Zanzibar, we went on a spice tour and took an African drumming class. We were worried that the spice tour would be too "touristy", but we found the guide to be quite knowledgeable. The only touristy bit was when they made us palm hats and a tie at the end. That was fine, and it was just good to get out of town and see some of the island.
If you're not able to climb stairs, I'd check to see if the elevator is completed before you book. Otherwise, we'd strongly recommend this hotel to our friends."
- Travel date: Sun 10th of May 2009