Based on Trip Advisor reports, we chose to stay at Emerson-Spice for three nights right after completing our safari on the Northern Circuit in Tanzania. I must admit I was a bit worried that the descriptions of "quirky" and "unique" might have been hiding a place that was a little ramshackle. But our experience was exactly the opposite. It was fantastic service and quality as well as being quirky and unique.
It’s located in an old traditional Stone Town building with huge rooms, very high ceilings (about 15 feet) located around a central courtyard with a fountain playing below. Even though the building has been rebuilt, the staircases and beams are all in refinished wood giving the place an architectural grandeur of times past.
To get to our room we had to climb right to the top of the hotel (about 8 sets of stairs!!) but wow was it worth it when we got there. The room is huge with a queen sized bed and two day beds on either side, furnished in Indian sari silks to fit with the theme of Katherine Hepburn (the room is named “Kate”) and what the owner calls the Holly/Bollywood style. In addition to a beautiful rosewood dresser, two large round armchairs and footstools, a desk and a fridge, there is a huge bathroom and two large verandahs, one of which has an outside shower (in addition to the inside shower). Both have splendid views over the surrounding Stone Town to the Indian Ocean beyond.
This is definitely my kind of luxury. Not the packaged “Hilton” type but the unique, inspired, creative type of luxury that so well describes the idea of a boutique hotel. Really beautiful!
I have reviewed the restaurant separately but should add here that diner is served on the rooftop terrace with spectacular views accompanied by sundowners and followed by dinner. The food was first class - such that we went there for dinner twice and we also had an excellent lunch in the cafe on the ground floor. We also organized a 2 hour walking tour of the City for $15 each with the hotel; it gave us a great overview and set us up for finding our way around later. Also, our guide spoke excellent English and provided an interesting overview of the history and architecture. I would recommend that also.
Emerson made sure that a driver met us at the airport and brought us to the hotel. He also offered to keep our bags while we were on Pemba Island and if possible to deliver them to the other side of the island. Nothing seemed too much for the owner and staff at this hotel. Top marks all round!
Kate on the top floor was superb but I peeped in many of the others and although they didn't loo...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
November 23, 2012
A spectacular review! We remember you well and many of the same adjectives you use also fit you. Wonderful, delightful, quirky and original. The ceilings in most rooms are 20ft by the way. We keep working to make all the rooms better. "Kate" just got a night-blooming jasmine whose fragrance is out of this world and some miniature roses to enhance your afternoon nap.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.