I stayed in Al Johari as a solo traveler for six nights in February 2013; my reservation was made through a local travel agency, Suntours.
Good aspects: the location is very convenient to visit Stone Town and to go to the boat port, and not too far from the ferry port; the staff members are kind and quite efficient, in particular the young man in the reception in the evening; the beds are comfortable and my sheets were clean. I had dinner the first night; the food was tasty and I wasn't sick afterwards. Although the common areas are very small, the roof terrace has an acceptable view over the roofs of the town.
Bad aspects: the hotel is in the middle of very narrow streets full of garbage and has no central patio as other hotels in Stone Town do, therefore it is impossible to air the rooms properly; the two windows of my room opened to one of those narrow passages, so the sight was awful and there was very little natural light; the building is very shabby and dirty, paint is peeling off in many places, the staircase has become unvarnished, the walls are stained, the furniture in the very limited common areas is tired, the curtains look like rags, the tiles in my bathroom were crumbling down, the shower was flooding the floor of the bathroom every time I used it; it was impossible for me to open the door of the first room I received, so after some negotiations they agreed to give me another room where I had problems with the air conditioner almost every day; the two rooms I went into were dirty and I had to clean the dust on the furniture and in the wardrobe with toilet paper; I also had to clean the wash basin and the shower with soap and one of the towels, and I found hair from previous guests in both; there was no lamp on the bed table, although they did give me one and even agreed to take off the screen so that I could read in bed; the upper part of the mosquito net over my bed was full of dead insects and there was a spiderweb near my bed. After the first night I never had meals apart from breakfast in the hotel, and it was extremely limited although I am used to eat little in the morning. I noticed there was a very low occupancy; in fact, i was always alone on the terrace during the first dinner and at breakfast.
This hotel would be considered a bad two star hotel in Europe but its prices are those of a good four star; there are many cheaper and much better hotels in Stone Town, so do avoid getting trapped into Al Johari.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Al Johari means the Jewel in certain translations of Kiswahili and Arabic, and we invite you to experience the Jewel of Stone Town, Zanzibar. Al Johari is a small 15 room Boutique Hotel in the Stone Town area of Zanzibar, and was the result of a careful refurbishment combining two ancient buildings in Stone Town to produce an exceptional hotel property while keeping within the Architecture and dimensions of Stone Town history with an emphasis on modern state of the art amenities as well as the opulent luxuries of the Omani, Persian, Indian and Swahili influences. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Al Johari Stone Town
- Al Johari Zanzibar Island/Stone Town