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“A little gem in the heart of Stone Town” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Emerson Spice

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Emerson Spice
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Tharia Street, Kiponda, Stone Town, Tanzania   |  
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Ranked #1 of 31 Hotels in Stone Town
Bath, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A little gem in the heart of Stone Town”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013 via mobile

Stayed at this novel hotel for 2 nights in June 2013.
The customer service and wonderful rooms make this hotel well worth a visit.
The rooftop restaurant offers a wonderful dinner menu to give you the full taste of east Africa
We let them organise 2 trips and the guides were both very knowledgable and great company.
Fully recommend it.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Thank you for the great review. I'm glad you mentioned our tours. There are several conscientious tour companies and independent guides operating in Stone Town. It is our pleasure to work with them. I also conduct a rigorous course on Stone Town and its place in global history. I call it the "Philosophers' Tour," because we begin by studying the major Islamic and Christian philosophers throughout history. We then try to define our place and its uniqueness within this framework. This sounds a bit tedious, but truthfully these guides keep to the light side, unless you need to dig deeper.

We also make no profit on these tours. We regard it as one of the amenities of our hotel. Thank you.
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332 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (99)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Hampshire United Kingdom
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
122 helpful votes 122 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

Having read so many wonderful reviews I almost wondered if the hotel would live up to the 'uniqueness' and 'enthusiasm' to which other reviewers have written about The Emerson Spice Hotel, i needed of worried, on arrival we were greeted by the friendliest staff and 'Mr Emerson' himself, I knew instantly we had picked right and that this was the only place to stay if visiting beautiful Stone Town, the hotel is a beautiful warren of Arabic and Indian design at every turn with stunning balconies, arches and inner courtyard reminiscent of a Moroccan Riad complete with tiled water feature and fountain, the hotel was a former sultans palace I believe and so much care has been take to restore this beautiful building to its former glory, the bedrooms are decandent and luxurious each one with its own personality, we had Camille, decorated in pale blues and stunning red and blue stained glass windows that create the most atmospheric light in the room and bathroom, a fabulous four poster bed takes centre stage complete with nets and the room has the largest balcony from where you can watch stone town life go on as it has for hundreds of years below you, the rooms come equipped with everything you could possibly need even a mobile phone if you want to take it out with you pre loaded with some credit. I will post some pictures as its true that a picture tells a thousand words, I could enthuse all day about this wonderful special hotel. The other point to mention is the wondeful rooftop restaurant, located high above stone town open to the evening breeze, we booked our 5 course extravanganza about a year ago on Katias recommendation as it only seats some 25 guests and is very popular, its a set menu offering you the chance to sample the wonders of Swahili/fusion cuisine, it was more than wonderful, one of the most superb meals in one of the best settings we have ever had, we met new friends and chatted away late into the night sipping super cocktails and drinking great wine, the hotel also presented a fantastic birthday cake as a surprise as it was a birthday trip, a lovely surprise and it shows the hotel really care and go that special mile. We arranged a great walking trip through stone town with the hotel which was wonderful and an absolute must for anyone, equally it is just as much fun to wander and get lost in the maze of alleyways. My only regret is we didnt stay longer, Katai recommended we have a minimum of 2 nights and now I see why however it is a great excuse to go back as soon as we can and stay at the absolutely wonderful and very special place 'The Emerson Spice' Thanks all for making our stay so very special and a perfect end to our stay in the wonderful Zanzibar

Room Tip: They are all wonderful but Camille is very special with a fabulous large balcony
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Thank you for the very comprehensive review. You make us happy; your contagious smile travels all the way from UK. Even more, I thank you for the fantastic photos. Your black and whites are artfully original, and your pic of the setting sun resting on the Hindu Temple spire, for me, is the best sunset pic of all we have. Thanks again. Emerson
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Dublin, Ireland
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

We stayed here recently and loved it. The staff were very helpful and everyone was really friendly. The room we stayed in was amazing. It was old style Zanzibar and had a massive bedroom and enormous balcony. That was really cool. The breakfast was good (fruit followed by eggs and pastries) but the dinner (which i think is available 3-4 nights a week) was Michelin star quality in our opinion. It was on the rooftop, had such varied courses and was just incredible. If you are a foodie stay here for this reason or go to dinner there if in stone town!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, July 18, 2013
Thanks so much for your review. Foodies Unite! Our process is this, and you may have witnessed us gathering in the lobby in the AM. My chefs do a round at the market, reporting on what is available, fresh and up to standard. We then look at our foraged list of unique Zanzibari wild items, and try to put it all together.

Our rule is this; PLAY! taste every combination with your mental or dream palette. Imagine this salty, this sweet, this sour, this bitter and this hot together on one plate. Our aim is to touch every part of your palette with each course. At the end of the meal, your entire mouth should feel a tingle.

Thank you for your kind review. The biggest thrill of all is knowing that we succeeded in bringing others along on our culinary journey.

Of course, like any human endeavor, there is the occasional mistake, but as we exercise more and more our imaginations, these become rarer and rarer. What fun it is!
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Caloundra, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

After a couple of weeks on Safari we stayed four nights in the fully restored Emerson Spice hotel. It is nestled deep in the heart of Stone Town. We were given the exquisite Camille room. Wow. All of the 12 rooms are equally impressive and individually themed, they are all tastefully furnished with antiques and designed in the traditional Zanzibar style. Our room was fantastic, comfortable and had awesome red and blue stained glass which reflected the sunlight beautifully throughout the room. The rooms have A/C, fans mosquito nets and everything else you would expect from a hotel of this standard. We spent lots of time on our 2 large balconies which overlooked the narrow alleys of old stone town where we observed the everyday life of the locals. Unfortunately my face is probably in personal photo albums all over the world as the beautiful building is continually being photographed by tourists as they pass by. Yes there is a Mosque right next door and the early morning call to prayer each day ensures you are up early so you can fit in a full day of sightseeing and excitement. The roof top bar and restaurant is fantastic for viewing the sunset while enjoying evening drinks. We were lucky enough to meet Emerson who was as hospitable and character filled as his hotel. The free wifi is reliable and accessible throughout the building, a loaded mobile phone and torch are available to assist you navigating your way through the maze of narrow alleyways of Stone town. This is appreciated especially at night. The staff were attentive and helpful. One thing that I should mention is our room had an open bathroom with no door this was a little awkward if you value your privacy. To be fair this did not seem to be the same in other rooms that we saw. The Emerson Spice Hotel was a wonderful place to chill out in Stone town and Emerson and his long serving dedicated staff helped make our stay unforgettable. Asante Sana.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thank you for your delightful review. Australian......, we've been receiving quite a number of Australians lately; it seems somebody in your country has been talking about us. Thanks so much.

Your review reflects the values and popular reputation of your countrymen; honest, frank, and straightforward. You praise the merits and mention what could be considered the flaws. This kind of review is so helpful to future guests who are deciding on which hotel or which room they would like to reserve. Your review lays open what to expect from our room, "Camiile." Thank you. Emerson
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Paris, France
Top Contributor
204 reviews 204 reviews
138 hotel reviews
Reviews in 124 cities Reviews in 124 cities
164 helpful votes 164 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

It would not be an overstatement to say that I enjoyed at Emerson Spice one of my most pleasant hotel experiences anywhere in the world, thanks to Mr. Emerson himself. He carefully restored a beautiful Stone Town palace, tasefully decorated it with handpicked antiques, which give each of the 11 rooms its own homelike style. Service is impeccable with well-trained efficient staff, a rarity worth emphasizing at Zanzibar.

Breakfast, sondowners and meals are served on the rooftop terrace with offers a 360 degree view over Stone Town. The creativity of the 6-course fusion dinner set menu is in own worth trying.

It was my first time in Zanzibar. I will definetely return. I could not consider staying anywhere else than at Emerson Spice.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, July 12, 2013
Thank you and the other reviewers for your insightful comments and, of course, the praise. We all here gleam with pride after receiving these reviews. The staff run around showing each other the latest review. It's such fun; it's sometimes hard to believe it's work. Thank you. Karibu tena!

Emerson
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

We spent 2 nights at Emerson Spice and we just loved it! The hotel is beautifully done, the rooms are so charmy and the best is that you are right in the middle of the old town near the markets, hence a very lively area! Staff were very friendly! A simple but delicious breakfast is served on the rooftop with a beautiful view of the city! A truly wonderful and authentic experience!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, August 10, 2013
Thank you for this lovely review. A recent guest jokingly complained that he and his bride found the street watching from the veranda so entertaining that they found it difficult to leave the room. We wish you many long years of joy together.
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

Myself and my partner recently stayed at Emerson Spice for two nights in their "Kate" room. The views from our two terraces were beautiful and the hotel's central position in Stone Town allowed us to sit out and soak up the atmosphere of the town itself. The staff were all helpful and the food at their rooftop restaurant was amazing; they were also flexible enough to cater for our dietary requirements at late notice. Perfect base for exploring the small streets of Stone Town. Simply wonderful.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Emerson Spice

Address: Tharia Street, Kiponda, Stone Town, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#2 Business Hotel in Stone Town
#2 Family Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Emerson Spice, a new Zanzibari experience. This labour of love is a journey into the transformation of a near ruin into a five star fantasy that can only be experienced on the beautiful Islands of Zanzibar. We have opened the cafe and Tea House restaurant and we now have 10 of our 12 rooms open to guests. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Emerson Spice Hotel Stone Town
Emerson Spice Zanzibar/Stone Town

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