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“A holiday of all holidays” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zanzibar Serena Hotel

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Zanzibar Serena Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Kelele Square, Stone Town, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 30 hotels in Stone Town
London, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“A holiday of all holidays”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2013

I toured the island and stayed in a beach resort on the coast and got to know the other beach resorts in that area. The difference between these and my stay at the Serena Inn in Stone town was shockingly different.

The local staff in Serena seem to be well looked after and the hotel seem to invest in this resource. In other hotels, they are literally ordered around like slaves. Of course, the difference is that you also get a magnificant level of service in the Serena Inn because of this.

A really classic traditional hotel. The breakfast is one fit for kings.

A point to note - I did not get round to using it but they said that they offer a free shuttle to the beach, so you can truly get the best of both worlds of town and beach by choosing the Serena.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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416 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 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 (107)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
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  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Shanghai, China
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2013

Great location on the southern end of Stone Town - an easy walk to explore the lanes and doorways in the old centre. Beautiful pool, great restaurant (breakfast), spectacular sunset, lovely room. Staff were friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the pool - you can sneak a sunset view in as well :)
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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iLoveHotels2010
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

I would definitive recommend this hotel. You really do get best of both words! Being so close to stone town and then also being close to the beach was amazing. The views from the rooms facing the ocean are AMAZING. The ONLY thing I would say they could improve on is the mattress. It was SO hard - but this seemed to be the case with many of the hotels we stayed at in east africa. Overall, this was one of the best hotels so stay here!!

Room Tip: Get a room facing the ocean
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
The Cities
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

We stayed here at the end of a 2 week safari and wished we could have stayed longer. The rooms were fine (A/C not able to really cool the room but not too bad).I don't know the price or value since it was part of a package, We had a room in the Chinese doctor's home portion of the hotel with a nice bathroom that overlooked the ocean. Our friends had very small bathrooms and no view. Staff was pleasant even if their uniforms were kind of kitchy. Upon arrival, they greet guests with cool cloths and a glass of mango juice. They tried to accommodate us with a slightly delayed checkout but it was still hours before our flight so they provided a place to shower before our flight home. Make a reservation for seafood at the outdoor Terrace Restaurant. Everyone had great food with a fix prix menu- fabulous and generous portions. I have never left lobster on my plate before. I liked it so much I ordered lobster both nights and could not finish the large portion either night. Yummy! The pool is a delight although the beach is not. It is fun to see the dhows go by filled wiht me who hop into the water to be dropped off where ever is closest to home after a night of fishing but no swimming for women there in this Muslim country. The hotel has a separate private beach, Mangapwani, 20 minutes away with a free shuttle - it's a great place to have lunch and spend the day. We hired a wonderful guide to show us the city, Mussa Abdallah. He gave a very interesting educational city tour and then took us to see door carving, a spice farm where we had a local meal and to a school where the students were eager to speak to us in English. It was great. Contact him at mussaabdallah@hotmail.com. Buy souvenirs at Memories of Africa - nice selection and good prices. At another shop, we bought a Tinga Tinga painting of animals but the shop keeper rolled it so tightly that the paint cracked. We had bargained down to $10 so no great financial loss but we wanted that for a grandchild's room.
.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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Calgary
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

This hotel was a brief stopover between a safari and hitting the beaches in Zanzibar. Along with another couple we had both booked ocean view rooms, but upon arrival we were informed we had been upgraded to full ocean view suites. Our friends got the one that Bill Clinton had apparently stayed in but both suites were awesome. High ceilings, multiple rooms, beautiful woodwork, balconies with great views and very importantly great AC. We dined in the a la carte seafood restarant under the stars and were amazed by the food and service, even the buffet breakfast was amazing. The pool was gorgeous but the beach perhaps less so. This is an old hotel and we didn't see an elevator so that may be concern for some. The staff were great and our time here was far too brief. Stone town is kind of neat to wander but easy to get lost if you're on your own.

  • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Syosset, NY
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

Zanzibar is a fabled place. Long an important Omani trading port, it suffered in 1964 with a bloody uprising and departure if Arabs, Indians and Brits and a devolution into a 30 socialist experiment. Since 1995 it's be a stable place with nice people. Prices are very low and exotic scenes make this a photographers delight. Very safe and you can get an excellent Killamenjaro beer!

  • Stayed February 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
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Montreal, Canada
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2013

De tous les hotels de zanzibar, of all the hotel in zanzibar, it is one of the best one, especially if you book online for a double room , you may get a seaside ne with a huge balcony on the corner with an hamac waiting for you.

Go there for one night, you will stay as we did for 3!

Dont jump over the wall like i did to reach the beach !

The swimming pool is awsome and customer are tolerting young children....without problem

Room Tip: Take the double rooms on the second floor you can even sleep one the bed outside
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zanzibar Serena Hotel

Address: Kelele Square, Stone Town, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Stone Town
#3 Business Hotel in Stone Town
#4 Spa Hotel in Stone Town
#5 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
#5 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#7 Family Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Zanzibar Serena Hotel 5*
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Also Known As:
Zanzibar Serena Hotel Stone Town
Zanzibar Serena Stone Town

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