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“Great location, atmosphere; uneven service” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tembo House Hotel & Apartments

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Tembo House Hotel & Apartments
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Forodhani Street | P.O. Box 3974 Zanzibar, Stone Town 25524, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #21 of 32 Hotels in Stone Town
Kathmandu, null, Nepal
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Great location, atmosphere; uneven service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014

Hard to beat the location right on the beach near the port and most interesting points in Stone Town, plus in an historic, beautifully-restored property. Very atmospheric and worth it just for that. Staff try hard and seem genuinely interested in making your stay comfortable; and they keep the place spotlessly clean. However, many staff, especially in the bar/restaurant, need more training. Several didn't even know their own menu. Frequently hard to get something missing (salt, fork, etc...). It was busy while we were there, but not abnormally so. Often this sort of thing is a language issue, but I don't think so much in this case - I can usually spot and adjust for that. This seems something else. My theory: rapid development of local tourist industry drawing from a limited pool of talented labor, so some staff not as well "seasoned" (or with adequate, um..."basic skills"). A perhaps related issue: they seemed to have more trouble than average keeping the breakfast buffet stocked and with a suitable variety of foods to appease their culturally mixed cliental. We stayed three nights, and for three breakfasts it was barely-controlled chaos and many missing items. That was the only truly annoying aspect, mainly because it's easy to fix with better management; and many other, less well-endowed properties have no problems with this. Finally, one other blemish: low water pressure. But the staff were very responsive to that issue and did improve it to the point a shower was adequate, if still not good. That may be a consequence of a very old (if largely renovated) basic infrastructure in an old part of an old town. Our room was quite small, but artfully-decorated with antique bed and armoire and was comfortably en suite. Good A/C (you'll need it). Would we stay there again? Absolutely! We'd just dial up our patience meters even more than usual and plan to spend even more time gazing out on the water.

Room Tip: Hotel has three floors. Rooms on floors 2 and 3 overlooking the pool, which include balconies and a...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tembo House H, Guest Relations Manager at Tembo House Hotel & Apartments, responded to this review, July 11, 2014
Dear value guest,

Thank you for taking your precious time in sharing your experience with us, we appreciate for your comments and its really helpful.

We notice that and we rectify the short falls and we promise to upgrade service. We will try our level best to make sure that we meet clients satisfaction.

"ahsante sana na karibu tena"
We are looking forward to see you once again.

Best regards
Management
reservations@tembohotel.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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588 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (128)
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Sunndalsora, Norway
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

We had a pleasant stay in an upgraded room, the presidential suite. But no alcohol awailable at this hotel. The pool in the courtyard is nice. Do not swim in the sea outside hotel, water is heavily polluted.

  • Stayed March 2014, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tembo House H, Guest Relations Manager at Tembo House Hotel & Apartments, responded to this review, July 11, 2014
Thank you very much for taking your precious time on writing your review on our property.

We are more than happy to hear that you are satisfied with our service and hotel environments.
It really gives us moral to maintain our hospitality to our all future customers.

We are sorry we don't have license to serve alcohol.

We are looking forward to hosting you again,

"karibu tena na ahsante sana"

Best regards
Management
reservations@tembohotel.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

We stayed at the Tembo hotel for one week and loved every minute about. The staff are all very friendly, the service is exceptional and there is a 24/7 cleaning regimen around the spotless hotel - the staff clean the public areas all day and all night. We stayed in a triple room and the sheets were changed everyday as well as the towels. The bathrooms are very clean too which I think is very important.
My only small criticism is that the WiFi service could be improved, it's good but not great.
Overall we are very happy with our stay and will definitely would return next time we visit stone town.

Room Tip: Either ask for a pool facing room or a sea view room. That way you get an amazing view of the boats...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 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.
Tembo House H, Guest Relations Manager at Tembo House Hotel & Apartments, responded to this review, July 11, 2014
Dear JOe,

It’s hard to find words to thank you for your absolutely stunning review of Tembo House Hotel And Apartments. We are so happy to read how much you enjoyed your stay with us. We appreciate your kind remarks regarding our facilities, services and particularly our staff, we are very proud of our beautiful hotel and even more so of our hardworking Team.
There is no bigger compliment for us than guests telling us that they would like to come back. Thank you once again for choosing us, it was really a pleasure to meet both of you.

We look forward with great anticipation to your return.
"Ahsante sana na Karibu tena"

Best Regards,
Rahim&Management,
reservations@tembohotel.com
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Istanbul, Turkey
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2014

We spent one night at the hotel. The location is very good. Very close to downtown and also far away (walking distance) from it. So you can have a quite night to sleep.

Authentic, nice place. The name "tembo" means elephant in Swahili. You may see many places with the name tembo (elephant), simba (lion), twiga (giraffe). These are three of the so called Big 5 of Africa's animals. (Actual giraffe is not in the list but as name wise its everywhere). Anyways since Tanzanians love and respect these animals, you'll see these names at many places as in this hotel. You'll see elephant sculptures and pictures at the hotel.

Nice, authentic place. It's a good deal when you compare what you're paying and receiving.

Room Tip: Second floor has a better view of the ocean.
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  • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tembo House H, Guest Relations Manager at Tembo House Hotel & Apartments, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
Dear tunca,

Thank you for taking your precious time on writing your review on our property.

We are more than happy to hear that you are satisfied with our service and hotel environments.

It really gives us moral to maintain our hospitality to our all future customers.

We are looking forward to hosting you again,

"karibu tena na ahsante sana"

Best regards
Management
reservations@tembohotel.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

2 nights well spent...
Best:
Room
Restaurant
Pool
Beach
I really enjoyed my stay
Best hotel in stone town

Special thanks to
Rahim Amigo...........!
Thanks for the hospitality
.........................................................

Stayed June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tembo House H, Director of Sales at Tembo House Hotel & Apartments, responded to this review, June 25, 2014
Dear salwa,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. We are so happy to read that you had a fantastic holiday and you enjoyed our hospitality, and food, pool, our beautiful beach and high standard bedroom. It was our pleasure hosting you and we all hope to have the chance to welcome you again in the near future.

"karibu tena na ahsante sana"

Best regards,
Rahim Amigo& Management
reservations@tembohotel.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

It was great experience staying in Tembo hotel, best rooms, best service ever experienced best hotel management. And very very special thanks to our one and only Rahim Amigo your the best.................Thanks for all the hospitality.

Stayed June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tembo House H, Director of Sales at Tembo House Hotel & Apartments, responded to this review, June 25, 2014
Dear Aliasgher ,

It's hard to find words to thank you for your absolutely wonderful review. We are so pleased to read how much you enjoyed your time at Tembo house hotel &Apartments. We feel privileged that you shared your very special occasion with us and we are thrilled that we lived up to your expectations. It really was a pleasure to meet you both and we look forward to welcome Mr & Mrs Alisgher back in the near future.

"ahsante sana na karibu tena"

Best Regards
Rahim Amigo & Management
reservations@tembohotel.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Top Contributor
174 reviews 174 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
125 helpful votes 125 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2014

Very central location and ON the beach! That would be its biggest USP. Stone Town is a very small city in Zanzibar (Unguja Island) and Tembo (means elephant in Swahili) is one of its best hotels, I would say. Affordable, clean, wonderful location and nice food.

We stayed at Karafu on the ground floor pool side, and loved it. When we checked in, the reception actually showed us around 3 rooms and we chose Karafu. Good choice! Right by the pool and 10 steps from the restaurant and onto the beach.

The staff is immensely helpful. They quickly connected me to the sight seeing operator, and within minutes I had my 2 day itinerary set in place. The housekeeping staff also diligently came in every evening to spray the mosquito repellent and put the nets in place for bedtime.

Rooms have an old world charm and antique furniture. Lots of interesting Parsi furniture and artifacts, as this was early a Parsi house. It's right opposite Freddy Mercury's (Queen) home, before the Balsara family migrated to the UK. But they stayed at Tembo each year during their vacations.

Bathrooms are very clean, and the shower cubicle was shaped like an Arabian Hamam.

Food is lovely here. I loved their sea food platter, French onion soup and their Indian preparations. The breakfast buffet is also lavish. Lots of variety and good fruits.

Their WiFi needs improvement, as in if the hotel is close to full occupancy, then there is virtually no connectivity. I was struggling with mine, and of the 3 days that I stayed there, I barely got connection on one day.

But I would love to visit Tembo again if given a chance, and maybe stay on the higher floor with a sea facing room.

Room Tip: Any poolside rooms downstairs or the sea facing rooms on the 2nd floor.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with family
    • 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tembo House H, Manager at Tembo House Hotel & Apartments, responded to this review, June 20, 2014
Thank you very much Zenobia for taking your precious time on writing your review on our property.

We are more than happy to hear that you are satisfied with our service and hotel environments.

It really gives us moral to maintain our hospitality to our all future customers.

We are looking forward to hosting you again,

"karibu tena na ahsante sana"

Best regards
Management
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 Tembo House Hotel & Apartments

Address: Forodhani Street | P.O. Box 3974 Zanzibar, Stone Town 25524, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Stone Town
#10 Family Hotel in Stone Town
#12 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
#12 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Tembo House Hotel & Apartments 4*
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Unique experience awaits at the Tembo House&Apartments.Tembo House Hotel&Apartments is situated at the heart of Zanzibar Stone Town by the picturesque seafront.The magnificent main Building has had various functions over the past centuries. Between 1834 and 1884 it served as the American Consulate in Zanzibar then passed on to become the trading offices of Cowasjee Dinshaw & Partners. Their headquarters was in Aden(what now is know as the Port of Suez), and with trading posts notably in most of the British Protectorate areas, it became the largest trading Company in the India Ocean. To this day , the name of Cowasjee Dinwash & Partners is still visible at the main entrance of Tembo House Hotel.Tembo House Hotel has seen a few celebrities pass through is doors during the consulate era, the Conwasjee Dinwash era and as a Hotel. Mahatma Ghandi, stayed here a few weeks with the Dinwash family on his journey back to India from South Africa 1930. As a rising new star in the British, and the world music scene, Freddie Mercury and his family used to retreat to what is now ”Marashi” apartment whenever they came back to Zanzibar on holidays.Next to Tembo House Hotel is also what used to be the British Consulate, where in 1874, Dr. Livingstone’s body was brought before embarking on its long journey back to England.A stone throw away is the Beit-al-Ajaib of House of wonders. This landmark building, is the largest and by far, the tallest building in Stone Town. Flanking the Beit-al-Ajaib is the Old Fort on one side and the Palace Museum on the other side.In other words, Tembo House Hotel is situated on a prime location, you need not go far to find the shops, the restaurants and the Historical sites that Zanzibar Stone Town has on offer.Zanzibar port is just 5 minutes drive away and the Zanzibar International Airport a further 15 minutes away.Welcome home away from home ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tembo Hotel Stone Town
Tembo Stone Town
Tembo House Hotel & Apartments Zanzibar/Stone Town

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