12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Me and my husband stayed at Shehe Bungal...
"Me and my husband stayed at Shehe Bungalows on the east coast of Zanzibar at Jambiani village. Shehe Bungalows accommodation is based in the lovely whitewashed, thatched beach bungalows that are set very close to the white sandy beach. Atmosphere here is very calm and relaxing.
The bungalows are very simple but very clean and cheaper. Their rooms are airy, spacious and well decorated.
The staff here were very friendly and warm.
We had a great time here, we stayed here for 3 weeks which was lovely.
This was best holiday we ever had by far.
In their area there is a lovely sea facing bar and restaurant that serve lunch/dinner and drinks for reasonable prices.
This is a haven for relaxing holiday!
- Travel date: Wed 19th of September 2007
The Zanzibar Serena Inn is the best hote...
"The Zanzibar Serena Inn is the best hotel I've ever stayed in, and I'm determined I will spend my honeymoon here. Located in the Stone Town from one balcony you can look out over the deep blue of the ocean to the smaller islands that surround Zanzibar and from the other you can look over the town itself - a wonderful mixture of Arabic and African culture. In the warm evenings its the most romantic place you can imagine.
The hotel is of an exceptionally high standard, with each room cleaned thoroughly each day, with gorgeous white sheets, elaborate mosquito nets and marble bathrooms. There is also a TV in each room.
There is a swimming pool that offers complete privacy, with a pool bar and a small shop. It's not huge, but the fact that you can look out over the sea makes it seem bigger.
The hotel restaurant is fantastic, offering zanzibari cuisine at its best, including lobster and crab with a mixture of delicious spices.
The hotel has been carefully restored and decorated and it feels a lot like a palace, the only problem being the lack of a lift. However, since there are always porters to take your bags it's not a big problem.
This is a fantastic, exclusive though admittedly pricey hotel that will take your breath away.
- Travel date: Thu 30th of August 2007
Not-so-perfect Zanzibar Serena
"The Zanzibar Serena has a magnificent location. It is also a beautiful hotel; but we experienced many small problems which negatively impacted our overall experience. They are as follows:
(1) 2/3 days of no hot water; they kept telling us the boiler was being repaired.
(2) our room on the 2nd floor was exposed to a lot of smoke from an adjoining property; they did take care of this.
(3) The toilet flush was not working; they did take care of this.
There were some other things too; overall I would stay there again because of the fantastic ocean views. The staff were also very nice."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of March 2007
Wonderful hotel, wonderful service!
"We were greeted with the warmest welcome and given the best room in the hotel. It was a large corner room with windows on 2 sides, a sea view, four poster bed, fab shower, and huge balcony complete with dining table and hammock.....perfect! The hotel pool looked fantastic but to be honest the beaches are so idyllic in Zanzibar we didn't spend any time at the pool. The hotel has a private beach about 30 minutes drive away, and the staff arrange transport daily at 10 am. They were even happy to arrange transport for us even though we missed the departure the first day of our stay. The beach we were taken to, at Mangapwani, was from a movie.....white sand, green/blue sea, no one on the beach but us....oh and our own waiter who would not let us lift a finger and cooked us the most amazing seafood lunch.
The hotel staff were absolutely fantastic, not only giving great service, but so friendly and inquisitive in a totally warm and genuine way......nothing was a problem to them.
The hotel is expensive - around Â£250 per night for the honeymoon room but to get such a hotel and service in the UK would be twice the price - so great value for money!"
- Travel date: Fri 9th of March 2007
"For the price, we were very unimpressed with the Serena. Definitely not of the 5 star quality we have encountered in our travels around the world. We had two rooms -- one for us and one for our two sons. The air conditioning in our rooms was barely passable and was constantly being worked on by staff. My husband and I were finally moved to another room where the AC was much better. The breakfast buffet was pitiful. The rooms were small (until we were moved) -- my husband and I could not both be in the bathroom at the same time unless one of us was in the shower. And speaking of showers, they were terrible-- both temperature and water pressure fluctuations.
On the bright side, the staff was great and especially the manager we worked with, Charles. He did the best he could with what he had!
We stayed at the Serena because we needed internet access for our youngest son who is doing his 9th grade online while we travel the world. I'm certain you could do better in Zanzibar for the price if internet is not important to you."
- Travel date: Thu 22nd of February 2007
Wonderful as always
"I have stayed in other Serena Hotels in East Africa, and recently had the good fortune to stay at the Serena in Zanzibar, Stone Town. It certainly did not disappoint. It is a luxurious yet laid back and unpretentious place that offers a wonderful way to enjoy the best of Zanzibar's Stone Town.
We were told that it was "slightly outside of the center of Stone Town" but this was quite an overstatement. It is located in a quiet square a 5 minute walk from Kenyatta Rd and Gizenga St (the beginning of the shopping district and major attractions of Stone Town). This is great because everything is so close and yet one can retreat to the peace and tranquility of the Serena after a day (or a night) in Stone Town.
The rooms are tastefully appointed and make one feel bathed in exotic beauty. The hotel has wonderful views out onto the ocean, and a very nice swimming pool. We were also warned that the hotel does not have a beach; yes and no. It is not on a pure white sand beach, but is literally right on ocean and one can watch dhows and other cargo boats float by. One can take an easy stroll down the beach to the main harbor area, and looking out of the window of the restaurant makes one feel like one is floating on the water.
In addition to its regular restaurants, the hotel also has a roof top restaurant with a prix fixe menu (around USD 40) that entitles one to a four course seafood meal. This is highly recommended both for the food and the ambience - sitting out in the breeze with candles on the tables.
I could say more but you get the picture. The Serena once again doesn't disappoint. The best place in Stone Town."
- Travel date: Thu 18th of January 2007
Lovely as ever
"I have stayed at the Serena before on business and loved it. So we booked in for four nights here after a week staying at the Matemwe Bungalows. I wondered if we would enjoy a holiday stay there as much.
My husband is a keen diver went went diving with a local dive centre. So that left me looking after the pool!
The rooms are immaculate. Big Zanzibar style furniture tucked into a comparatively small room. Air con that worked! Tiny bathroom but lots of hot water.
We ate on the first night at the Terrace Resteraunt - very good value for a superb four course seafood meal in a fabulous setting.
Other evenings we ate out. The doorman Sebastian was exceptionally helpful making suggestions and escoring us to the places he suggested. An excellent litle Italian/Swahili restaurant within 25 yards... Le Fenice on a couple of nights and a visit out to the Mtone Marine up the coast, where we had an outstanding meal.
The pool was great and the service excellent at the Serena throughout our stay.
I complained to the reception one morning that the door to our bathroom was very stiff to open. By the time I went back to the room at mid-day it had been fixed,
The only glitch was a visit to a Spice Farm, which we did not do, had found its way onto our bill. But this was removed without any fuss when queried - but hey this is why one checks one's bill!
The best thing about the Serena was being in the town with a pool. So anytime my husband got bored (when not diving) he went on a ramble round Stone Town. We were able to pop out and go shopping in the early evenings when the heat was less intense.
We were intending to go to the Serena Beach Club but never got round to it... next time I guess...
This is a lovely hotel in a great location. We will definitely go back."
- Travel date: Sun 14th of January 2007
Best in Stone Town
"If you wish to stay in Stone Town it means that you are there for the city, its history and to feel the spirit of what this city has to offer. To that effect, if you have the budget, The Serena is easily the best hotel in Stone Town. Yes it is not a beach hotel wherein you wake up in the morning and hop accross to the beach for a swim. If you want a beach hotel go somewhere else.
The service is impeccable, in true Serena spirit and tradition. The food is amazing. It is extremely well located and you are surrounded by wonderful people.
- Travel date: Mon 4th of December 2006
Dont get taken research other hotels in Zanzibar beech
"Hotel has small rooms but overcrowded with big furniture//
Trevallers should research before booking// There are quite a few other hotels along Zanzibar beech offering sea view with sun set and sunrise to get pictures// B;fast at serena is lousy, poor presentation with flies sitting on uncovered breads and food and juices and very dull with peagon peas and curry and no cold salads// Service at the resturant ia very slow//The manager is not available at all for help and you have to put up with what goes along// The hotel does not have its own vehicle for a'port transfer and on arrival you get hasselled by beech boys// The lobby is very nosiy// Serean is NOT value for money// This is NOT a hotel for families with children// No saintary bags are provided for ladies//"
- Travel date: Wed 15th of November 2006
"We stayed in this hotel on our last night at Zanzibar and it was great. We had a room with huge balcony, the hammock, view at the pool and at the ocean. We had a dinner at the Terrace restaurant that I would say was the best in Stown Town. I would happily reccomend anyone top stay there."
- Travel date: Sun 24th of September 2006
"An excellent and well run hotel that is perfectly situated in Stone Town. The staff were helpful and made an effort to deal with problems; the room was to a high standard, and had a balcony with a view of sunset over the Indian Ocean that was especially appreciated.
The food in the rooftop restaurant was exceptional (in relation to a previous review, we were not too surprised to be offered fish in a seafood restaurant) and extermely good value.
Overall, this is a hotel that offers a high standard of service and accomodation in a very good location"
- Travel date: Sun 24th of September 2006
ok, but nothing special
"we stayed at this hotel for one night - after 10 days tented safari in tanzania and before having 10 wonderful days at the zamani kempinski zanzibar.
the serena inn was a big disappointment.
the hotel is ok, but really nothing special.
the rooms are clean.
nice view on the sea.
but that's it.
they gave us (as honeymooners) a triple room with 3 separated beds... great job, guys!
the (unfriendly) person at the reception was unable (and unwilling) to change this. even the manager was unwilling to do anything. they even did not say "sorry"...
it seems to me that they have enough guest in july/august, so they don't need to give good service to them.
well, we won't come back to the serena inn. it's that simple."
- Travel date: Mon 21st of August 2006