The location of this quiet little B&B is possibly its most attractive feature. It is located right in the middle of the commercial/touristy area of Stone Town, which puts most of the town's tourist attractions, souvenir shops and restaurants/bars within walk-able distance. It is located right next to the Shangani Post Office - which makes it very convenient if you want to send postcards and, more significantly, provides an easy landmark to give people when asking for directions back to the B&B after you get hopelessly lost in the maze of winding lanes and bylanes of Stone Town (you WILL get lost!)
The rooms itself are clean, functional and inexpensive. We took an AC room (considering Stone Town was reeling under 40-degree Celsius heat, this seemed like a smart option). The small room consisted of an antique four-poster bed with a mosquito net, comfortable and clean bed linen, a cupboard with an electronic safe, a full-length mirror, a writing desk and chair, and a flat-screen TV mounted on the wall. It wasn't a room with a view (none of them are), as it looked out onto other houses, terraces and lanes of Stone Town. The bathroom was small but clean with a shower, a water heater and a bidet shower (which is so rare anywhere in Tanzania). A little Zanzibari carved chest provided handmade scented soaps, which are a hallmark of Zanzibar. Our only complaint was that the AC was not very effective. We had to use a combination of the AC and the ceiling fan to get the room to tolerable temperatures.
The food was fantastic. Shakes, smoothies, fresh fruit juice and lovely big pots of Zanzibari coffee accompanied our breakfasts of crepes, eggs in every form, cereal, fruit salads and whatnot. The sweet homemade coconut bread is a must-try.
However, what made this place especially endearing was its staff.
Jameel, the establishment's taxi driver who took us around, was very helpful and a wealth of knowledge about Zanzibari history, culture, tradition and food. Most guide books and websites will tell you that women should dress modestly in Stone Town - that shorts or short dresses/skirts are frowned upon. As I struggled under layers of clothing in that sweltering heat, I asked Jameel about this. "No, not at all. You can wear anything as long as it is not Ramadan time. We locals understand that you are not used to this weather," he said. He proved to be right. I wore shorts after that and nobody batted an eyelid.
"Mr Breakfast", the cheery waiter at the Cafe, was very helpful and pleasant as well. He kept us amused with his banter during meals and, one evening, when he was done with his shift, guided us to a local souvenir store that wouldn't overcharge (most souvenir stores really bump up their prices for tourists and you have to bargain really long and hard to get a reasonable price)
Nasir and Audrey, the management staff, were very pleasant and helpful as well. And finally, Judi, the owner of this quaint little establishment: Judi was very efficient, friendly and helpful. She takes a personal interest in all her guests and makes you feel completely at home. She went out of her way to help us - contacting a resort on Pongwe Beach for us when we couldn't reach them, arranging for someone to take us to Prison Island, arranging a walking tour of Stone Town for us with the inimitable comical guide Farid, and generally ensuring that we were comfortable and happy.
If you aren't looking for luxury, I'd recommend Stone Town Cafe B&B as just about the best place to stay in Stone Town. It's the place that feels closest to home when you're in Stone Town.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Stone Town Cafe and Bed and Breakfast is located in Shangani on Kenyatta Road, just 2 minutes walk from most restaurants and tourist shops, 5 minutes from the Old Fort, and about 10 minutes walk through the narrow streets to Darajani market. Breakfast is served in the cafe downstairs which is open from 8am to 10pm. To book with us directly search Stone Town Cafe and Bed & Breakfast on your browser ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Stone Town Cafe And Bed And Breakfast
- Stone Town Cafe Hotel Stone Town
- Stone Town Cafe And Bed & Breakfast Zanzibar