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“"A light in the Darkness" :)”
Review of St. Monica's Lodge

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St. Monica's Lodge
Reviewed April 4, 2013

We had spent over 80 hours on the Tazara train and coming to St. Monica's hostel was our savior!

Pros
1) From what I remember, it wasn't expensive at all...
2) Breakfast was included (it was an amazing breakfast with chai or milk tea and coffee included)
3) The lady who works there was super friendly and accommodating
4) It is so close to everything including the docks
5) They offer tours in the office next door
6) Gorgeous double beds with mosquito nets

Cons
1) Honestly, none... Stone town was beautiful, but I quickly realize that it was a lot smaller than I originally thought.

Room Tip: Maybe try to choose one away from the temple because there is "call to prayer" in the morn...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Jessica S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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20 - 26 of 33 reviews

Reviewed May 15, 2012

Stayed here for 2 nights in a room with a shared bathroom.
The room itself was clean but had some loose tiles. the room had an balcony which you share but has an nice view on stone town.
the breakfast had some nice toast, fresh juice and some fruit.
The showers are clean but had the problem that it was either a very hot shower or cold.
The balcony's and the terrace are great to relax and talk.
All of the staff were very nice but are ordered to play by the rules thanks to the new manager.
In the end had an nice stay and its good value to money.
low budget tip!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Stefantastic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
STManger, Manager at St. Monica's Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 26, 2012

Stefantastic, thanks for the kind review! We've made some improvements to St. Monica's since you'e been here, such as a beautiful new carved love seat on the balcony for reading and relaxing. Hope you come see us again soon!

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Reviewed April 14, 2012

I do not recomend this hotel at all.
Even though the architecture had its charm i will never go back!
We had difficulities to get along with the receptionist who's attitue was juist considered undecent indeed. And the knowledge in english was very low!
The AC in our room did not work - as you expect it should when you have paid for it - so it was 36 degrees in the room the whole night - not nice! The breakfast was nothing to cherish about but anyhow decent! moreover the area - like around the cathedral, the hostel etc, is considered a bit risky for westerners so if staying at St monicas - take a cab at night, allthough my perception of the city in large is quite safe in the evening this area is not!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Hannesofsweden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
STManger, Manager at St. Monica's Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 26, 2012

thank you for helping us improve! we have made many changes and improvements based on your review. the receptionist that you speak of no longer works in reception! we are working on better English skills for all our staff. we have replaced ALL the a/c units with brand-new ones in top working order. while the perception of the area might seem unsafe, we have never had an incident reported. my family and i lived here for 5 weeks and walked around freely at night with no problems. like any city and foreign destination, one needs to use common sense and take general precautions. thank you for helping us to become a better guest house conveniently located in the heart of Stone Town!

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Reviewed January 22, 2012

My choice of this hotel was determined by advice of a guidebook and a good location close to the city centre of Stone town and the bus station from where minibuses run all over the whole Zanzibar island. Hostel is situated in an old colonial building on the site of the former Slave Market. Museum, Cathedral church of Christ, art gallery and shop are in the same site. Hostel guests therefore can visit this museum free of charge. Small cafe on the ground floor served simple breakfast. Hostel provides basic accommodation. We had a small twin room with bathroom outside.During our stay there was power cut at the hostel as well in the whole Stone town, so we were provided by candles at night and our experience with this hostel was like a travel in a time machine - old historical building with many nice balconies and stairs and nights without electricity. Very romantic.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Aleksandr550
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
STManger, Manager at St. Monica's Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded December 3, 2012

We are so glad you enjoyed your stay with us and that you appreciate the history and architecture of St. Monica's Guest House. Please come see us again!

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Reviewed October 12, 2011

Upon arrival the staff were in rip every possible person off mode, the price eventually changed by forty thousand shillings. The person was unfriendly and did not care about charging correct prices.

The rooms shown all stink of mold and bat or bird droppings coming from the air vents. Only one room no7 was odourless.
All rooms have aircon, however all are turned off at the service switch so that they dont work unless you know how to fix aircon units.

There was no hot water in the room, the woman on night shift was to lazy to get off the chair and come to switch on for us.
The sleep was ok as it was too late to go another place. The next day we complained about the water, they turned on the power. To late we traveling, , we had already booked and paid for a room on our return, they didn't save the one we wanted and we were now put into the restaraunt wing, So we stayed another night, must have been mad. The rooms all STINK.

When showering, watch out for the hundreds of black worms coming out of the cracks between the tiles.

The drains are blocked so the water floods the floors with lots of goodies.

The sheets are covered in semen patches, may have been rinsed but never cleaned.

IF you have children think twice as the mould stench is extreme.

Curtains are see through and doors not well secured.

Breakfast, is filthy. The restaurant is a disgrace.

The amount of tourist money coming into this place is high and the up keep is zero.

In short, , Never Again!. . . . .

  • Stayed: October 2011
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2  Thank uk2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
STManger, Manager at St. Monica's Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 26, 2012

dear UK2012, thank you for your review. you'll be happy to know that we have made many improvements according to your suggestions. We now have the prices of the rooms posted at Reception and have hired friendly staff. We've installed new a/c units in the rooms and have taught the staff to show guests how to turn on the hot water when shown to their room. The bathrooms are nice and clean and have been caulked. We have a new washing machine. Many rooms have new curtains.

While it is true that the Former Slave Market Site, as zanzibar's largest tourist attraction, generates significant annual income it truly operates as a non-profit organization. After basic expenses are met, all proceeds are distributed to support humanitarian relief, development, nutrition, education, AIDS education, and self-sustaining projects across Zanzibar. For there to be any kind of funds for capital improvement, entrance fees would need to be raised. Our aim is to keep the site affordable and accessible to as many people as possible. We are currently seeking outside grants that would allow us to keep the low entrance fee while making much needed capital improvements. Thanks!

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Reviewed September 3, 2011

We have travelled in many parts of the world and I usually never complain about anything. But I was quite shocked by how we were treated at this place.

I could live with the electricity going off often, no water in the shower sometimes and the fact that they gave our rooms to someone else despite we booked and confirmed three weeks in advance. So we had to stay in rooms without bathroom.

On the check out day, they made it very clear that they want to get us out as soon as possible. One of us got sick with food poisoning, so we asked to check out at 11 instead of 10.
The way the staff looked at us made me feel anything but welcomed. None of the staff offered to help with the luggages and the lady at the reception kept threatening us with extra charge if we are too slow to move our luggages out of the room and my friend was sitting there with 102F fever!

Then they wanted to charge us more than the price we had agreed upon check-in. They even made us pay higher than normal exchange rate.

Needless to say, I will never set foot in this place ever again. Certainly this place is affordable compared to other places in stonetown but in return you'll be treated like garbage. Very sad because people in Zanzibar and east Africa are generally very friendly and welcoming.

  • Stayed: August 2011
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4  Thank GA1000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
STManger, Manager at St. Monica's Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 26, 2012

Thank you for your review. We agree that you were not treated well and we have made many changes and improvements because of your review! We are in the process of buying a new computerized software package for bookings; this will prevent booking errors. We have since trained our staff that the guest and their needs are our first priority and we ask your forgiveness for your friend. We now follow the daily exchange rate and not doing so has serious consequences for staff. In addition to your comments we have also painted, added new hand-crafted furniture from Pemba, replaced the a/c units, and hired new staff who have a heart for hospitality. Our goal is to become the best moderately priced guest house in the heart of Stone Town.

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Reviewed March 2, 2011

10 minutes after check in, i went out to buy water and my friend took a shower,a thief with his own key!!! entered our room and stole the complete luggage!! He even tried to shut the door with the key, but it broke in the lock, the only evidence we had that we have been robbed- there was no watchmen, no witness, no help by the hostel s management. They denied that there was theft!! The police- after 8 days of daily visits- told me not to give me a proper report for my insurance comany because the value of the luggage was too high, the island would loose it s reputation as a holiday paradiese if it would be recorded!! Clearly the hotel staff was part of the theft, but they all laughed at me in the end and even did not want to pay any money to compensate.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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3  Thank ingoDarEsSalaam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about St. Monica's Lodge

Address: New Mkunazini Road, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania (Formerly St. Monica Hostel)
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 24 Specialty Lodging in Stone Town
Price Range: $22 - $50 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 16
Also Known As:
St. Monica Hotel Stone Town
St. Monica's Lodge Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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