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“Great location, service, & decor” 4 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 #12 of 32 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Great location, service, & decor”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2014

Only stayed here 1 night before moving to a beach resort. Loved the warm wash cloth and drink upon arrival - nice touch! Room was beautiful with lovely dark wood furniture and carvings. View of the water was serene and peacefully quiet. Location was ideal for walking tours throughout old Stone Town. Did not have any complaints.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 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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489 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (133)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
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English first
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2014

We stayed at this hotel after a few days on safari. The rooms were comfortable but small. Most staff were very friendly but a couple were officious. The location is not great and Stonetown was a disappointment. The beach at hotel was used as a toilet by the public. We took a shuttle to the hotel private beach but that was not better. Part of the beach was being used to repair boats and the workers all urinated in the ocean at the beach at lunch time. I think a more secluded part of the island might be better

Stayed March 2014
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2014

If youre willing to pay for it, its an amazing experience. The whole complex is completely relaxing and has an amazing view along the beach. The rooms are picture perfect and the historic buildings beautiful. Breakfast buffet also amazing.

Stayed May 2013, traveled on business
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Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014

Really liked the buildings, the architecutre, history and the ambiance. Stayed 3 nights, end of a 5-week, 6 country trip to Africa. Food was good to very good and the staff was helpful and accommodating. The travel company had not booked any tours and I was told to make arrangements with the hotel. The travel coordinator in the hotel lobby quoted prices that were high and to places I did not want to see. I asked what other options and he introduced me to a local guide; local guides hang out across the stree from the front of the Inn. Did a walking tour one day, very good guide, cannot remember his name, But he is the brother of a guide that took me by car around the island the following day--This guide goes by the name of Spiderman and was very knowledgable and well known to all of the locals. By all means take a walking tour of Stone Town including the central market. Tip: Negotiate with the guides, they have to make some money, but it did not take too long to reach an agreement fair to both sides. Cannot assess the value for the $ since I have no idea what I paid. There are also other hotels in Stone Town that would be very satisfactory, and also with signficant history. Tip: Make sure you kinow what is included in your you hotel package; when I checked in they said I had not paid for Dinner, but it was included. So.....not sure an oversight on their part or trying to charge me twice. Also pass on the roof top restaurant, expensive and not worth the difference between the dinner package in the dining room on the first floor. Take the thotel shuttle to Mangwapani, price is right (complimentary) and you see some of the coutryside going and coming back.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2014

Spent the last night on Zanzibar at the Serena Inn. The hotel is nice enough, but not quit a give star resort. Nothing wrong about the place but a bit expensive compered to other hotels in Stone Town.
The location is very good, just on the beach on the outskirts of the old town of Stone Town. There is unfortunatley a mismatch between check out time on booking and what the hotel operates with, this ment we had to vacant our room an hour earlier then planned. (I had expected the staff to show more flexibility here at $400 a night)

All inn all a nice hotel, but no fire star......

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Top Contributor
166 reviews 166 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2014

This Oceanside property which is 10 minutes (15,000tz shillings) away from the airport, is in the heart of Stone Town on a beach which gets a lot of local traffic before dusk. It is a very nice hotel, especially by Tanzanian standards and its location on the beach is excellent. We booked the hotel through an agent because the web sites were not showing availability. The price turned out to be very expensive on a half-board basis, over eight hundred dollars for the night. Others who booked in advance did much better.
The hotel itself is an amalgamation between a former company office and the past residence of a Chinese doctor. It is joined in the middle by an Arabic designed elegant reception. The reception is done jointly by a security guard and a porter in an exotic uniform. At our arrival, both men were tall and sizeable inspiring the feeling that not just anyone gets in to this hotel. The nature of the hotel is that it has many entry points and the hotel seems to make a point to have plenty of security staff on hand at all times.
The reception was efficient enough although they were expecting a child instead of a young adult travelling with us and had to put in a bigger bed on arrival. The netting had to be finalized later.
We had a two bedroom suite with an antechamber between them. The suite was equipped with a half bathroom and a fully appointed bathroom off the master suite which featured attractive tiling and a separate shower with plenty of hot water and good water pressure. The toiletries supplied were elegant and high quality and even included bug repellent from ... France!
The bedding was comfortable and elegant. The netting over the second bed was low and a little bit obtrusive but it worked. The suite was equipped with one TV with a handful of channels including news and sports in English. A safe was available in the room. The suite itself was a cross between the ever present Arabic and Indian influence. The balcony gave onto the gardens with a partial view on the ocean.
The porter service was prompt and efficient. Ally, our porter, went out of his way to give us a little explanation on the history of the house when we came back from lunch. We lounged around the pool a little in the in the afternoon and the sound of the waves and the presence of several security guards made the afternoon very peaceful. The pool is very nice but is often closed between 6 and 8pm for chlorination.
We had the buffet supper by the pool, an occasional occurrence at the hotel. The buffet was varied and good with very good roasted calamari. The wine list was competent but not extensive. You pay for everything here, including water at the table, a common occurrence.
It would have been a very pleasant experience sitting by the ocean with the warm sea breeze blowing gently over us but a very good, but very loud orchestra drowned out any conversation. Yes, we are a little older and like our peace and quiet. A younger couple may have enjoyed the good, loud music more than we did.
Laundry was an issue. We checked on the logistics of the laundry and were assured we would get our laundry would be ready in the morning. On the point of leaving, we had still not received our laundry. The helpful fellow at the reception did manage to retrieve it but it was still all humid and a few pieces of men's underwear had not been washed. I am told there is a reticence to wash underwear in Tanzania; this may be part of the issue. The receptionist did say the dryer was having difficulties and offered to take off the price of the underwear. This was a token gesture which simply did not cover the issue or make us happy.
We had lunch in the dining room. The food and service was very good. The servers understood English very well, a rarity in Tanzania. The food itself was fresh and tasty. The Indian food served was very respectable. The café latte was also very good, reflecting the frequency of visit by Italian guests.
There were a few children around and the pool and the beach would have kept them busy. I did not notice the presence of elevators on the property but could be wrong. Otherwise, the staff, service and food were very good and we will be better shoppers if we ever decide to go to the Serena Zanzibar and we will bring plenty of clean clothes.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 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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Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014 via mobile

We stayed here for 3 nights and were really glad that we had booked this place. It was so nice to be able to go back to a lovely hotel with a really nice pool overlooking the ocean after the hustle and bustle of Stone Town.
The restaurant does a really good breakfast and good (though quite expensive) dinner but the real benefit is that you dine with a view of the ocean: the windows are low so that you feel as though you are sitting right by the beach.
Free afternoon tea with pancakes is served by the pool every afternoon.
All the staff we came across were really helpful and friendly and we were greeted every time we arrived back at the hotel by Suleman who treated us like long lost friends.
Rooms have everything you need and are nicely furnished: a bit on the small side but absolutely fine and with nice balcony.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Additional Information about Zanzibar Serena Hotel

Address: Kelele Square, Stone Town, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Stone Town
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Business Hotel in Stone Town
#4 Spa Hotel in Stone Town
#5 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#8 Family Hotel in Stone Town
#8 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Zanzibar Serena Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 51
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Also Known As:
Zanzibar Serena Hotel Stone Town
Zanzibar Serena Stone Town

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