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“Beautiful hotel with amazingly helpful owners”
Review of Emerson Spice

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Emerson Spice
Ranked #1 of 34 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Beautiful hotel with amazingly helpful owners”
Reviewed November 2, 2012

We stayed here for just one night in September. The owners couldn't be more helpful. My boyfriend was ill at the time and they couldn't have done more for us. The hotel itself is unique and lovingly restored. They even supplied us with a packed breakfast for our early flight. We loved it.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jonnysh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, November 4, 2012
We hope you can come back again, so we can spoil you when you're both well.
Thanks.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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526 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (158)
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English first
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2012

Rooms beautiful. Location in Stone Town excellent. Staff helpful and pleasant and went out of their way on our Honeymoon. Owners are definitely characters and make you feel welcome. Just wish we had stayed more than 2 nights! Great value for money.

Room Tip: They are all beautiful and unique. Check out the hotel's website and facebook page and take time...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank StueyD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, November 1, 2012
We're really delighted that you enjoyed your stay. And it's true, we have a cast characters here, not just me and Len. The more you know the staff, the more you love them. Most have been with me for years. One for 23 years, others 18, 16, etc. I couldn't enjoy life without them.
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Norwich, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2012

We booked for dinner whilst staying in Stone Town last week. Probably the first thing to say was that when we found the hotel - which is in the heart of the tiny alleyways so not the most navigable of areas - I was quite concerned at our ability to ever find our way back to our own hotel in the pitch dark after dinner (navigating it in daylight had not proven a massive sucess although good fun) so I asked for directions - no problem - we were offered a guide to walk us home as part of dinner - truly fab. And we'd definitely never have got back otherwise!

To the food; it was truly one of the most delicious, inventive and creative 5-course meals we have had anywhere; comparing really well with tasting menus in other well-known restaurants (we do like a tasting menu!) . The staff were lovely and seemed to be having a great time as well as providing excellent service. The setting was also fab and a great vantage point for sunset and rooftop gazing. Do not miss this experience if you are in Stone Town.
Next time we'd be sure to say there as well.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jnb2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, October 20, 2012
Thanks for the pleasure of sharing a meal with you. Bring on the foodies! We're also arranging various cooking tours now. Come and join us really get into it.
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2012

With the Emerson Spice holding the top spot for Stone Town Hotels and with the many positive reviews on this page, I am not sure if another glowing critique is really necessary ! But the fact remains that staying at the quirky Emerson Spice is a unique experience and should not be missed if visiting Stone Town. A somewhat curios and eclectic affair, appropriately stage managed by Mr Emerson himself, a stay here is a welcome break from the more formulaic tourist hotels on the island. Arrive hungry and in time for the rooftop sunset cocktails and 5 course set dinner.

Room Tip: the rooms vary greatly in terms of size and decor - try to select your choice ahead of time
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank afrocentric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed October 12, 2012

Emerson Spice deserves its reputation as the most highly rated hotel in Stone Town. We only stayed one night, but even from that we felt the hotel embodied the best of what Stone Town had to offer - history, character, delicious food and an ideal location within walking distance of the major historical sites. The service was personal but not intrusive, and everything the hotel arranged for us went extremely smoothly. Or room, Aida, was beautiful, with 4 separate sections including private balcony and mezzanine lounge area, and perhaps a high four poster carved antique bed which is the most beautiful I have ever slept in. Every room and area of the hotel is unique but everything is exquisitely styled, and the whole place feels like a treasure trove filled with interesting antiques. Definitely the best place to stay in Stone Town if you're an aesthete. Highly recommended!

Room Tip: Aida, on the first floor, was lovely! Big enough for 2 or 5.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank zuleikadobson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, October 14, 2012
Thank you for your stylish review. We regret that you could only stay one night, but we hope there will be a next time. Try for three nights. We do keep track of our repeat guests, but remind us just to make sure, so we can pamper you even more. Remember what we say in Zanzibar, "Once you've tasted the waters of Africa, you will always return." Welcome again.
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 28, 2012

I am currently staying at the Emerson Spice hotel after an amazing safari trip in Kenya (Masaai Mara). Usually I wait upon my return to the USA before I even contemplate adding a review post to Tripadvisor, however, this hotel demands the top rating from me immediately. I just finished the most amazing 5 course dinner at the hotel and I'm filled with joy. Yes, the sunset was amazing while drinking refreshing cocktails on the roof top tea house...but that pales in comparison to the dinner service and course selection! I chose to sit at the lovely wooden table closest to where the staff were preparing the dinner because I love watching folks in action and I wanted to take in the vista of Stone Town and the dinner guests from that vantage point-- call me a voyeur (smile). I had a grand experience! The kitchen (cooking and preparation area) was SUPER clean and that high standard is conistent with my room and all the common areas. I want to thank from the bottom of my heart the head chef, Yah-ia, and the dinner staff (Janja, Masoud, Simba, Kitu, and Issa)--they worked together so well and you can tell they really respect and admire the owner of the hotel, Mr. Emerson, and their responsibilities. That makes me smile. I just hope I didn't butcher the spelling of their names.
I met Mr. Emerson when i first arrived and tonight he personally came to my table to chat with me and other dinner guests. I like his style! That personal attention and warmth of character is a benefit to staying here. The other staff I've interacted with during my stay, Mohammed, Mbwana, Mariam, Fadilla, Ali, Rasheed, Suliman, Sabir, (and I know I'm missing a few more)--have been terrific! I'm traveling alone and my short time here has been a blast, thanks in large part to them. I'm a huge fan of good customer service and this is great!
If you plan some time in Stone Town, you should select Emerson Spice. Trust when I say my expectations were exceeded. I selected this hotel prior to my travels based on the totality of the individual reviews, and I'm glad I did. Remember to book the dinner so you don't miss out.

I'm staying in the room named Camille(2nd floor). My balcony/veranda is the length of my room overlooking the front entrance. It is to die for! The inside room and bath area is huge and the decor really needs to be profiled in some interior designer magazine/tv show. I can write more truthful pleasantries about the rooms but I think most of the reviews have covered that nicely.
My room included bath robes, umbrella, small refrigerator, hand basket with beach towels to carry to the beach, and cell phone...and beautiful wooden furniture and bed, high ceilings, windows with shutters, two ceiling fans, air conditioner and glass/wooden veranda door to name a few details. I didn't see any complimentary amenities like lotion or a shower cap but they might provide. I wasn't bothered by that in the least.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Laurelstravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, September 29, 2012
I think perhaps you have pointed out a major distinction between our hotel and many others. While many hotels like their staff to be invisible as much as possible, we only like to be invisible when the guests are in the rooms. When you exit the room, you will often see that we are happy to see you and talk to you freely, if you choose. There is a very common expression in Swahili, which translates as "Guests are gifts, "blessings." Enjoy being a gift.

You also pointed out one of my faults. We do have more than standard amenities available, but at this point, only upon request. I've been trying to design the right amenities box to place in the rooms, as several reviewers have mentioned, I obsessively design every stick in every room. Well, I finally have the box design and our craftsmen have begun the carving. Perhaps by the end of the week, they will be in the rooms. Sorry for the delay and thanks again.
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Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviewed September 28, 2012

Unique experience. Rooms are fantastic. The price is unbelievable. The best restaurant in town. The service is also great. Provided me with lots of info on the town and tours. Would definitely stay there again but will try a different room for new experiences.

Room Tip: I would think that rooms on upper floors would be better because they are higher than nearby buildin...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank anna_yasha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babuemerson, Owner at Emerson Spice, responded to this review, September 29, 2012
We adore guests who thrive on fantasy. You evidently do, as you say each room is a different one. Welcome back to see our new ones and try them all. Thanks so much. Oh! as far as the distance to the street from the lower rooms, it's more like 8 meters; the ceilings on the ground, first and second floors are 6.5 meters. But it is true, some people would find that close. But others would love it. Last week we had a guest who was carrying on business with a passing vendor whom he called down to and ask to buy his wares. It was such a lovely exchange. I wish I had a video. Thank you again.
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Additional Information about Emerson Spice

Property: Emerson Spice
Address: Tharia Street, Kiponda, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#1 Family Hotel in Stone Town
#5 Business Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An inspired and lovingly restored Merchant’s House, this multi-storied small Boutique hotel has an inner courtyard, eleven unique antiques-filled rooms, and two of Zanzibar’s best restaurants. All rooms are equipped with a small fridge, air conditioner, fan, and high ceiling mosquito net. The rooftop ‘Tea House’ hosts one of Stonetown’s most renowned restaurants offering a stylish ambiance amidst the sound of the calls to prayer from the town’s many mosques. The five course ‘Taste Safari’, prepared daily by our Zanzibari chefs, is seafood based and celebrates the freshest and best the market has to offer each morning. The sunset hour is an integral and pleasurable part of the experience so diners are encouraged to arrive at around 6pm to enjoy a ‘Sundowner’ before dinner. On the Ground floor The Secret Garden, set amidst lushly landscaped hidden ‘Ruins’, open to the skies, has a Zanzibari inspired A La Carte Menu. Look out for live music performed by The Dhow Countries Music Academy. Open for Lunch and Dinner. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Emerson Spice Hotel Stone Town
Emerson Spice Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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