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“Wonderful Oasis in Zanzibar”
Review of Kisiwa House

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Kisiwa House
Ranked #15 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 13, 2011

Fantastic hotel. Beautiful decor, very clean, great beds and linens, air conditioning that really works, free WIFI, excellent food in the rooftop dining room, friendly, helpful staff and mangagement. I highly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Rocky006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 7, 2011

upon arrival at kisiwa house, a refreshing freshly squeezed mixed fruit juice drink was welcome relief after a hot and humid drive from pongwe to stone town. at check in, we were immediately upgraded to the beautiful sulayma senior suite, number 6.

simply yet very elegantly furnished, kisiwa house has a real air of authenticity - you do feel like you're staying in someone's (very tidy) house. the suite was stunning, the cool stone floor and the a/c were perfect relief from the heat outside. the room is spacious, and well proportioned - meaning the bed does not overpower the rest of the room (as we'd found to be the case in other suites/"honeymoon" suites in africa.) the bowl of fresh mangoes was a great touch.

we found service to be attentive and polite, though for some reason our room wasn't turned down on our first night even though we had requested it. they were sincerely apologetic and remedied the situation immediately. front desk are helpful and will recommend good shops and restaurants in stone town. the town itself is tiny and feels safe enough when venturing out at night for dinner - though it might be best to stick to the main thoroughfare (kenyatta st), which kisiwa house was located just off of.

we ordered food one lunchtime through their darini restaurant, which we had to wait a while for but found to be delicious - do try their sandwiches with special potato fries. mango milkshake also highly recommended. the restaurant, though eerily quiet, is rather nice and the food is plentiful and of good quality. the only slip up they made was with the takeaway sandwiches we ordered on our last day (to take to the airport as we were leaving that day and had a long journey ahead) - they skimped on the size of the sandwich (3 portions instead of the usual 4), as well as not giving any fries and salad, but still charged full price. tsk tsk.

prices are reasonable overall.

highly recommended - try and get the sulayma senior suite!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank quick_draw_mcgraw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2011

We stayed at Kisiwa house after having stayed at a range of different accommodation in Tazania, from basic beachside to luxury. We were unimpressed with Kisiwa house because it was just a basic, average hotel. It was in a good spot in stone town and the rooms were new and clean. Service was average, restaurant (breakfast time) was average and there was not anything particularly special about the hotel. The bed was hard and uncomfortable and does not make for a pleasant nights sleep. Kisiwa House might well be one of the better options in Stone Town, but the overall quality of hotels in Stone Town seems to be pretty average so don't expect much. We were not initially impressed with our ground level room, straight off the foyer (and make sure your don't get this room). It was noisy and people were literally walking and riding motorbikes straight by the windows on the busy alleyway outside. Thankfully the Manager did move us to a quieter room, or this review would have been different. We were not particularly impressed with this hotel, or Stone Town in general, and will suggest to our friends that there are much nicer places in the world that are more deserving of their attention.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank NuNu1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2010

Kisiwa House is a Swahili-style home that has been converted into a hotel. It is small, with only about 10 rooms or so. The rooms vary in size from the regular room to the Senior Suite, which we had. The hotel has only been open for about a year, so everything is still in good shape. It's not a fancy place or lavishly decorated, but it is clean, spacious, authentic for the area and conveniently located.

LOCATION - Kisiwa House is located in the old center of Stone Town, just a few minutes walk from anywhere. The beach is about 5 minutes walk, so is the market. It is next to the Dhow Palace, half a block from the main shopping street and quite close to restaurants. Just be sure to ask directions because it's so easy to get lost in Stone Town. The ride from the airport takes about 15 minutes and they'll set you up with a nice air-conditioned transfer for $20.00.

ROOMS - We had the Senior Suite, which was very spacious. It had concrete floors which felt kind of cold, could have used some carpets, but was very clean. There is air-conditioning in the room (a nice surprise because it was REALLY humid during our stay) and a ceiling fan. The bed was quite comfortable, equipped with mosquito netting, but I found out that one blanket is not sufficient if you're going to use the A/C (I got cold and slept restlessly), so plan on sleeping with the windows open at night without the A/C for maximum comfort. The Muslim Prayer times start at 5:00 AM and are echoed throughout the city, so don't expect to sleep late here. Next door is a school where kids are singing and yelling all day, so it's not too quiet during the day either, but then you're in town so what do you expect.

Bathroom was clean with double sinks and a tub/shower without a curtain (six-footers practice your limbo moves, the shower head is about chest high). There is a small desk for working and a nice flat-screen tv. The room has minimal lighting, but there are quite a few windows which if you open it lights up pretty good. There is plenty of room to move around comfortably. The A/C worked well. There are no irons or ironing boards. The only thing that we didn't care for was the toiletries, which were just single-use packets that you had to tear open each time you use them - seems a dispenser would be a much nicer and more efficient way of handling that.

SERVICE - The service was excellent throughout, kind and courteous. One time we asked for a taxi to go to a restaurant at night that was really close but we were afraid we'd get lost in the dark and winding alleyways. Instead of calling a taxi, he offered to walk us to our restaurant and show us the way. Very nice of him. The manager is also very nice and helpful, as is all of the staff at the hotel that we met. English is somewhat limited with the staff, but they always seem to have a smile and a "jambo" for you. We didn't get turn-down the first night for some reason, but otherwise the housekeeping was excellent.

BUSINESS - While not really a business hotel, a business traveler can make do with a bit of effort. There is a small desk that works for one person, but nowhere for the second person to sit if you have two computers like us. There is one computer to use to check your email, but no printer that I saw. There is good cell phone coverage and some mobile broadband, though mostly EDGE which is pretty slow. The hotel has free wireless internet throughout the hotel, which is great, except it didn't work very well for us. The first day it was fine - 3 bars and slow but steady speed. The second and third days it was horribly slow and barely usable, though the connection stayed solid and didn't drop. There were some weather systems passing through, maybe that had something to do with it. There is no conference room or business facilities, but you could use the restaurant I suppose.

FOOD - The rooftop restaurant was always empty when we went there, so we were cautious, but decided to give it a shot because we were tired the first night. We were glad we did - it was really nice. The waitress was very sweet, and the food was delicious - a variety of Swahili treats and some Western dishes, plenty of seafood options. No view really at night because it's dark, but during the day you can look over much of Stone Town and see a sliver of the ocean as well. It's mostly run-down buildings, but better than no view, and the open air is always nice.

Breakfast was buffet the first day, extremely small with only a few types of bread, cereal and fruit, plus they'll make you eggs. No bacon or sausage for obvious reasons (it's a muslim community). It was enough though. The second day they served it to us, the same food just served. For some reason it seemed better that time though. Lots of food, you won't go hungry as long as you like fruit and bread. Everything was tasty though, and we were full.

CHECK-OUT - The only downer we had with this hotel was the payment policies. They charge you a 6% surcharge to use a credit card. As if that isn't bad enough, they can only charge you in USD if you're using a credit card, but they charge for the incidentals in Tanzanian Shillings, so they force you to use an exchange rate that is another 6% out of your pocket. All told, you get hit for a 12% surcharge on top of your bill if you don't want to pay in cash or in advance with a wire transfer. Of course, they don't reveal the exchange rate to you unless you ask, so most people probably don't even realize they're losing the second 6%. So plan to bring cash (USD for the room and transfers, TZ Shillings for everything else like the restaurant) if you want to avoid getting gouged.

Very nice hotel, simple but clean and well staffed and in a great location. We will recommend it to others.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled on business
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3  Thank Johann&Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2010

Kisiwa House is a beautiful little boutique hotel in a central location in StoneTown. We spent only 1 night at the hotel, but we would have gladly stayed longer if we had the time. The staff is very friendly and courteous. We were greeted with a mango/kiwi milk drink while we checked in. The hotel is very clean and well kept. The decor is beautiful and calming. The dining area is on the top floor, both indoor and outdoor. We had three meals at this hotel and we enjoyed each one. The hotel was not very busy when we travelled (during off season) and so we received very personal service. The hotel is an old house and so it does not have an elevator. This was not a problem for us however, could be a problem for those unable to climb several flights of stairs.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Gillus1801
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2010

We stayed three nights. The staff was fantastic and gave us recommendations and made us feel very comfortable. The hotel is very clean and the breakfast was fantastic and filling. The view from the restaurant is beautiful. The rooms are spacious and have all the amenities we needed. We always felt safe and never had problems with the street touts. Great experience.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Queenchz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2010

Stayed two nights on way back from beach holiday at Sunshine Hotel, Mtemwe (also recommended). A friendly reception... staff and manager, Cheherazadhe, very helpful.
Beautiful big room and large bathroom with free standing bath and separate shower. Good free internet.
Really well laid out floors... between stairs large lounge areas with two/three rooms on each leading to restaurant/breakfast room on roof. All in dark wood and beautifully decorated... coffee lounge on ground floor with peaceful trickling fountain. Lovely.
Hotel perfectly situated for best restaurants, Secure ATM round the corner and best placed for sunset views nearby.
Booked Kisiwa when Zanzibar Coffee House full. Walked across to Coffee House to check it out. In a rougher part of the town and not the quality of Kisiwa... a cheaper hotel so possibly ok for the price... coffee great but lots of flies. Best, cheaper alternative I would suggest Temba House Hotel.... HOWEVER for a relaxing, quality stay you can't beat the KISIWA.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank unclespoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kisiwa House

Address: 572 Baghani Street, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#6 Family Hotel in Stone Town
#10 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range: $83 - $204 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Kisiwa House 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A luxurious Boutique hotel in Stone Town, Kisiwa House is noted for its elegant blend of Zanzibar décor and gracious Swahili hospitality.Superbly located on a quiet street in the heart of Zanzibar historical centre within easy walking distance of famous landmarks, museums, antique shops and restaurants. Kisiwa House provides every modern convenience to the business or leisure traveller, promising an unforgettable experience of professional service, superb comfort and unmatched elegance.Get inspired, discover the new and unusual. Enjoy the charm of an old and typical Zanzibar town house. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kisiwa House Hotel Stone Town
Kisiwa House Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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