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“Beautiful, comfortable, fantastic” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Kholle House

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Kholle House
Malindi 607 / 608, Stone Town 6482, Tanzania   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 29 hotels in Stone Town
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Beautiful, comfortable, fantastic”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

We stayed for a couple of nights, and then another night on our way back home. We didn't get to take advantage of the stay-two-get-the-third-free deal, but they did upgrade us for our second night, and for our return stay. The furnishings were beautiful, the building was gorgeous, the small pool, garden and salon, as well as the rooftop lounge were all great.

The staff was generally very accommodating and helpful, except for a couple minor issues. For our return trip, we had specifically asked if we could check out late, as we had a late flight, and other hotels had agreed to our request. Kholle didn't answer this question, and then informed us that day we had to check out at the normal time, which might have changed our choice. Then when we checked out, they tried to pull some games on us with currency exchanges - we were paying in a mix of dollars and shillings, and they wanted us to pay the drinks bill, charged in shillings, in dollars at one exchange rate, and the room bill, charged in dollars, in shillings, at another rate. It wasn't a big difference, but there was a lot of confusion and it just seemed cheap and petty for a quality establishment

One really nice touch was the glasses of juice on arrival - they were fantastic, and different both times. We had them later as cocktails, which were also fantastic. The breakfast was quite good, although a bit confusing - there is a list of options and it is not clear whether you choose one item or whatever you want. It turns out you can get everything you want off the list without paying extra, but you seem to have to ask for each individual thing (i.e. it says eggs with bacon, tomato, beans - if you ask for the eggs, you just get the eggs, not the whole plate).

The negatives were actually rather minor - we'd definitely go back again.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 3 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.
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, November 11, 2012
Dear Guests,
Many thanks for your kind apprecation.
All the best,

Francis
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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145 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

We stayed at the Kholle House for two nights in their suite on the third floor. We enjoyed the rooftop terrace where we had wine and faluca pipes. The room was very pretty and spacious, although the mattress was a little hard for our liking. It was in a great location, close to restaurants and gardens and the ferry terminal. The breakfasts were top notch with yogurt and fresh fruit, fabulous crepes and omelettes etc. The staff were lovely. The pool was refreshing and hardly ever used as we always had it to ourselves. Five minutes away was Mercury's Restaurant on the beach named after Freddie Mercury of "Queen", fabulous food with a magnificent view. We would highly recommend this hotel which is furnished with antiques and is very Creole.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, November 21, 2012
Dear Guests,
We appreciate your comments and thank you for your appreciation.
Asante sana!
Francis
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Istanbul, Turkey
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

We stayed for 3 nights in Kholle House in a deluxe room. The room was located in the second floor opening to a veranda.
The location was great, just 5 minutes walk from the ferry station and also from Forodhani Gardens.
The building was very well renovated, the decoration is very very nice.
The staff was very friendly and helpful.
The breakfast was very nice, the courtyard which the breakfast served was very peaceful.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay very much and I will definitely recommend Kholle House to everybody !

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, November 11, 2012
Dear guests,
Many thanks for your kind appreciation.
See you soon in Zanzibar!
Francis
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

We stayed here for one night whilst visiting Stone Town. We found it to be a good well appointed hotel with lovely rooms and very helpful staff. Our two rooms were amply sized with comfortable double beds and antique furniture. We loved the yellow baths. We particularly liked the outside seating area on the ground floor next to the swimming pool and the roof terrace with view over the port. The hotel was well located being within easy walking distance of most of Stone Town's attractions. The only downside was that the only close restaurant (Mercury's Restaurant) is very poor.

Room Tip: The rooms on the top floor are quieter
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, November 11, 2012
Dear Guests,

Many thanks for your kind apprecation.

We obviously can't do much about Mercury's management ! However, please note that we have a restaurant in the Hotel, with fine Creole - Swahili fusion cuisine and you can enjoy it in the dining room, in the garden or in the roof top tea house.

All the best,

Francis
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Concord, New Hampshire
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

We picked this hotel because it had rave reviews and looked really nice on the pictures.

This hotel is a very boutique style and quaint place. The interior decorating is very African/Arabic and very charming inside. Most of the staff were very friendly and the included breakfast was good and hotel/rooms very clean.

The downsides: The size of the rooms are very small for what you pay, We got a deluxe room and was still pretty small. This did not bother us that much as we knew it was a small hotel. However, the price they charge for the rooms is pretty steep.
The other issue was with the owner. He was a westerner and was pretty rude. We came back from a day of exploring and just asked the front desk and kitchen if they could make us a snack. The African staff were happy to help, but when the owner heard of this, he kind of flew off the handle a little bit for no reason, which was annoying.

Also, the Kholle house is not in the greatest location. All the other hotels are nestled further into town and the Kholle house sits more or less on its on, up by the port.
Don't get me wrong, it was a beautiful inside, but we saw much nicer looking hotels walking around that would be cheaper for more in return. Will stay somewhere else next time.

Room Tip: The standard rooms are a box. Go for a deluxe for more space.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, January 28, 2013
Dear Guests,
Thanks for your comments, overall quite positive.
Actually whan I asked the kitchen staff not to prepare a meal for you it's because I knew it would take ages since nothing was ready and they had to start from scratch.
I might have been too straight to the point and for sure I should have explained to you why I did it this way. But precisely, it was to avoid you a long wait to get basic food. I know our kitchen staff you see...
I think I remember suggesting you to go to Mercury's (which is 50m from Kholle House - we are not that badly located after all and Malindi, where the hotel is, is one of the oldest part of Stone Town) to get the kind of fast food you requested from us.
All the very best,
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London
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

A mid priced comfortable hotel in a very convenient location, near to the dock and close to Forodhani gardens. The staff are keen to please and although the South African owner (or manager), was audibly and annoyingly harsh on his people, they were all very nice and didn’t deserve the public dressing downs they received. Local staff on the Island, as with many places in Africa, don’t seem to get the need for urgency but once you remember that this is Africa and things don’t have to be rushed, life on Zanzibar can be very relaxing. The manager of the hotel would do well to note that even if your staff do require a stern talking to, I as a customer don’t want to hear it.

We upgraded to a deluxe room which was on the upper floor just below the roof terrace, It was nicely decorated in a warm yellow and it felt comfortable and the bathroom adequate. We were a little disappointed in the size of the room as the hotel website clearly says that the deluxe rooms are “large”. I’m afraid that this is misleading, our room was nice but I’m quite sure that anyone would be hard pressed to describe it as “large”. We looked into a basic room on the floor below when we were carrying out bags out in the morning and to be fair the deluxe room was certainly bigger than the basic room we saw but not by a lot.

In the evening after eating at Mercury’s up the road (see my other review if you’re interested), we were very kindly served beers right at the top of the hotel on the lovely roof terrace. Our poor waiter who was lovely, happily ran up and down stairs many times just to check we were ok.

In the morning we had a very nice breakfast (lots of choice) and again service was very good. They also didn't flinch when we appeared 10mins before they were due to stop serving breakfast (at 10am), not a hint of annoyance from the staff which was very much appreciated (other hotels would do well to note this).

The only down side of this hotel is that it is situated next door to a mosque whose call to prayer starts anytime between 4.30 – 5am. As long as you remember to take ear plugs you should be ok, however, you’ll need industrial strength ear plugs. That shouldn’t stop you staying here, however as the rest of the hotel is very pleasant indeed and the location is perfect for seeing Stone town.

Note to hotel manager/owner - you came across as a rather obnoxious oaf whose management style will only breed fear in your employee’s who deserve a little more patience.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, January 28, 2013
Dear Guests,
I must be this obnoxious person you describe in your comments, overall rather positive thank you...
Not easy to make big rooms in a house built in 1860 and designed in accordance with the then available building materials. Our "deluxe" room are 25m2 or more (see room 14), which is not big but not small either.
As for the style of the management, point taken. I'd like simply to point out that you got acceptable service because someone is supervising the staff who was around you. However, I do apologize for the inconvenience caused by the remarks issued to our staff.
Finally, the refined and cozzy style of the House you kindly describe in your comments comes from the same person who you qualify as obnoxious and harsh. We all have several aspects in our style don't we?

All the very best.
Francis
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

We stayed at Kholle House for one night before heading to a resort in Zanzibar, and could have quite easily stayed at Kholle House. The decor and cleanliness were great, and the room was beautiful. Ceiling fan and air-conditioning kept us comfortably cool, and the bathroom was great, with excellent reliable plumbing. The staff were all very friendly and helpful, and the dinner we had was very high quality. The pool and gardens were lovely and make this a haven from the bustle of Stonetown. True, the call to prayer is loud, but this is all part of the experience that is Zanzibar.

  • Stayed October 2012, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mwasaju, Owner at Kholle House, responded to this review, November 11, 2012
Dear Guests,
Many thanks for your very kind apprecation.
All the best,

Francis
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Kholle House

Address: Malindi 607 / 608, Stone Town 6482, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Stone Town
#9 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kholle House fact sheet:Services & Facilities:• Wi-Fi available• Outdoor swimming pool• Transport to/from airport if required at an additional charge. Zanzibar airport and Dar es Salaam airport – ferry dock• Island tours and sea activities assistanceKholle House in the heart of Stone Town is an historical and authentic house build in 1860 which belonged to Princess Kholle. Sister of Sayyid Sultan bin Bargash and Princess Salme. The house has probably been there as a showcase from their crystal collection and porcelain.After the revolution in 1964 the house was confiscated and occupied by several families, this period caused severe damages in the house. Three years of restoration has bring us the pleasure to present our town beloved house, the work done in connection with historical monuments and in full respect with the construction methods in the time (coral rubble, lime, mangrove beams, marble…). With an noble and austere façade the building is typically Omani Arabic style while the garden has more Indo-Victorian fantasy rhythms. This style is featured on the covers of the old dispensary which faces Kholle House and was restored by the Ada Khan Foundation. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kholle House Hotel Stone Town
Kholle House Zanzibar/Stone Town

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