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“if planning sunset drink - stay away” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Africa House Hotel

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The Africa House Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Shangani Street, Stone Town, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #28 of 30 hotels in Stone Town
Toulouse, France
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
“if planning sunset drink - stay away”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2012

We went to Africa house hotel to catch the sunset as had read in many guidebooks that it is famous for the sunset. I am not even sure why as it seems to be clouded by some large palm trees. We had one drink then left the chaos! Was packed to the brim and overrun by large tour goups. Staff seemed stressed and unable to manage the amount of people in there. When we wnet to the bar to pay up there were about 10 members of staff trying to get drinks, get bills, take money and we waited over 5 minutes just to pay. We ended up on the road by the harbour which was much quieter and the following night went to serena hotel which was much better and pleasant.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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154 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
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English first
Lusaka, Zambia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

For their price of $165 per night we were expecting something superb - instead we got a smelly room, an airconditioner that didn't work (and apparently there is only one remote in the hotel as all the others have been stolen !), plumbing incredibly noisy, no hot water then no water at all, noisy room, terrible amenities ( luckily we brought our own soap and shampoo ) no space for suitcases etc etc. This has got to be my worst hotel experience in recent years. We were eventually given another room but the replacement wasn't much better.

And the breakfast was also shocking - overheated food, coffee like cat's pee and the staff shouting at each other during our entire meal. A thoroughly awful experience.

It is such a tragedy that this magnificent building has been so neglected and that the Hotel Management just don't seem to care. With luck some far sighted entrepreneur will buy the building and restore it to it's former glory - until then I suggest you stay away !

The only final redeeming feature was that our bill was reduced to $100 as a result of our complaints - $15 would have been more appropriate.

Room Tip: Don't go there !
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2012

I have visited Stonetown three times now, and have visited the Sunset Bar on each occasion. As I was travelling with my parents this time we wanted to stay somewhere overlooking the ocean, so decided on Africa House given it was a lot cheaper than the other two big hotels with sea views.

There are seaview rooms directly below the Sunset Bar, and then street view/ no view rooms on the floor about the bar- we tried all of them.
We had booked for three nights in two seaview rooms, however after the first night of no sleep in a seaview room, we moved to a street view room. After the second night we left the hotel (the first time I have ever left a hotel before my booking was finished).

The seaview rooms definately have a great view, but unfortunately hear all of the noise from the bar, but that really wasn't too bad. Our reasons for moving room were-
1. we had booked a double room, however as this was not available were allocated a twin room,
2. the security in the room is not very good- the windows did not lock, and as we were only one floor up from the busy street below (which has shops directly under the room), we did not feel that we or our belongings were safe. Because of this we could not open the windows to enjoy the seaview, and feel vulnerable leaving our computers in the room.
3. We could not have the curtains open, as the guys on the street were gawking in and mouthing things to us whenever they spotted us!

Given the excellent location and cheap(ish) price of the hotel, we decided to move to a street view room.

The street view room was a lot bigger, and had a double bed. It was just a shame that the renovation to the room was not yet complete. The bathroom had tiles, however no grout- no of the electrical appliances had electricity- there was a bath, but no shower.
But the worst thing was that the room had a water leak, where water gushed through from the room next door during the night, covering all of the floor and wetting all of our luggage!

That was the final straw, and despite the great location, great views at breakfast and in the bar, we had to move on. The food is not great (breakfast was not good at all) and service is very slow.

I have really mixed feelings about this hotel. Once the renovations are complete and it is restored back to it's original beauty, the building will be amazing. The staircase is pretty amazing already now!
If the prices stay the same, and the renovations are complete I would consider staying in a street view room again- HOWEVER I would visit the hotel first and ask to check the rooms.
The price is reasonable for where the hotel is situated- but it is not of the standard that you would expect for such a name hotel. If it is your first (or only) visit to Zanzibar this is difficult, so, given our experience (which may have been a lot of bad luck), I would have to recommend visiting for the beautiful sunset and a drink, and staying else where.

Room Tip: Ask to see the rooms before committing to a booking. Once the renovations are complete some of the r...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Zurich, Switzerland
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2012

After reading some of the rave reviews I was certainly expecting more... The building has so much history to it and is ideally situated.
We had booked a deluxe sea view room-unfortunately the word "deluxe" means different things to different people.Yes, there's a fridge, an iron, tea making facilities. The bathroom was disgusting- the taps were all dirty- the shower was terrible, the toiletries were poor. The "soap" wouldn't even foam. Luckily i had brought some extra which worked fine- so it wasn't the water.
The seaview rooms under the sunset bar haven't been renovated. Several peple had problems with the noisy or faulty air con. downstairs
The Stonetown view rooms upstairs have been renovated and looked stylish- nice and big compared to many Stonetown hotels.. Unfortunately the quality is dubious- cheap fittings. We moved rooms and the first night the curtain rail came tumbling down when I tried to draw a pair of curtains. We couldn't turn the TV on as the cable wouldn't reach the plug socket. Even the kettle had to be placed under the desk as the cable couldn't reach the wall socket!
The staff were very friendly and the Sunset bar has got a great view- we spotted dolphins twice.
Breakfast was the worst i had in my whole Tanzanian visit. What a shame- such a wonderful restaurant location upstairs, overlooking the ocean. I heard compalints from other travellers about the restaurant food so we didn't bother to try out the restaurant. Again, a big shame as it looks very nice. The chef needs to be retrained or replaced!

Room Tip: Don't choose a seaview room until they have been renovated or the price comes down! Quite noisy...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Ascot, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
182 reviews 182 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 89 cities Reviews in 89 cities
240 helpful votes 240 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2012

Although we didn't stay here, the rooftop bar is sensational, and is a necessary stop-off for visitors to Stone Town. The drinks are reasonably priced and bar staff efficient, but the setting... overlooking the Indian Ocean (in our case just before sunset) is magnificent. This place has not changed since it was an old colonial officers' club. The entrance and staircase really set the decadent tone before reaching the terrace bar. You will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Nairobi
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2012

The homely set up and the great view of the ocean from the open bar makes one at home this together with the great and personalized service, the smiles the waiters and the waitresses plus the constant checks by the manager to ensure you are fine make one feel very valued. you've not experienced Zanzibar's hospitality until you visit The Africa house hotel

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 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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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2012 via mobile

After roaming from one hotel to another, we finally found Africa house hotel! it is definitely the place to be! The Food, decor, view, & service- unlike other hotels which don't pay much attention to some races, the service we got was perfect & personalized especially from a gentle man who is Soo eloquent, sorry have forgotten his name. He kept on checking on us if we were ok. Now that's customer service!
We really look foward to come & stay @ your hotel in december, since we dint get a chance 2. We have also reffered one of our friends whose coming to zanzibar in august, to your hotel. Keep it up!

  • Stayed July 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Africa House Hotel

Address: Shangani Street, Stone Town, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#12 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Africa House Hotel 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The African House hotel is located within the prime and historic Stone Town overlooking the open sea and gardens and minutes from the beach and vibrant Shangani square featuring some of the best night life on the Island. The accomodation includes 15 airconditioned rooms, the Sunset Bar, The Sunset Lounge, a Turkish restaurant (yet to Open), Trade winds Restaurant (For Indian / Chinese / Continental / Italian and local dishes). A historical Library, a large conference hall, Hotel shop outlets and sea facing Shisha decks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Africa Hotel Stone Town
The Africa Hotel
The Africa House Hotel Zanzibar/Stone Town

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