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“A pleasant surprise” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Maru Maru Hotel

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Maru Maru Hotel
Ranked #8 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A pleasant surprise”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2013

The hotel is centrally located , very convenient for exploring the various sights of Stone Town. We were welcomed with a refreshing drink of the Bongo juice and then shown to our rooms. The rooms are all set around a courtyard giving a traditional touch to the hotel. The first room we were shown was much smaller than what we had seen on the website but when I mentioned this, we were immediately put into a larger beautifully fragranced room with a four poster bed and a spacious bathroom. We were also shown the famous waterfall bath room. We were out for most of the day but when we returned, the fragrance in our room had worn off to give a hint of sewage like smell. We immediately reported this to the reception but the hotel was full and they could not get us 2 rooms next to each other ( travelling with 2 children). Since we were only there for a night, we decided to put up with it. The bed was very comfortable and the staff were helpful. The roof terrace is lovely with wonderful views. We were also impressed by the breakfast which although not vast, was delicious, and we got to sample the local spiced coffee, bread fruit, cassava and other exotic fruits. Overall a good clean hotel ideally located to explore Stone Town.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank nimi-m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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518 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (105)
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English first
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
54 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2013

The Maru Maru is in a lovely location right in the centre of Stone Town. The rooms are tranquil and comfortable with good air conditioning and a spacious bathroom. The staff are very helpful and friendly. Although we arrived really early we were greeted with a cooling drink and were given our room straight away. The rooftop restaurant and bar has beautiful views across Stone Town and is really lovely at sunset. Breakfast was really good...although there wasn't a vast selection, everything was freshly served and included both international and local choices to try; it was the best we had on Zanzibar. We ate at the restaurant one evening and the food was very good. I think the only negative, which was very minor, was the time it took to get served with drinks.
All in all, we would not hesitate to return.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank CarolandRog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
123 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

Maru Maru Hotel is perfectly located in Stone Town, everything is within reach in a few minutes’ walk, including water front, Old Port, House of Wonderers, Palace Museum, information office, old castle, bank/ATM (not many available in Stone Town).

The hotel room is far smaller than the impression we got from the professional photos shown on their website, but it’s immaculately kept. The deco is modern yet in a traditional style, very pleasant.
The best feature of the hotel is its roof top bar and restaurant. The food in restaurant wasn’t that great. The breakfast hasn’t got much to write home about either. But the Happy Hour between 4:00 to 7:00pm is an experience one shouldn’t miss. The view from there is fantastic, roof tops of the whole city painted orange colour by the Sunset were truly beautiful.

Few points I feel worth mentioning for other travellers:

If you travel to other parts of Zanzibar after Stone Town, please be aware there isn’t any ATM in some of the islands and credit cards are not very popular at Zanzibar

Wifi is free, but NOT reliable, we stayed there for 4 nights, the wifi only worked for a little while for the first day, the rest of times, even when computer indicated it’s connected, but it couldn’t open any webpage nor receive/send emails; you need to get different user names and passwords for different devices and they only good the 24 hours, you need to ask new ones every day.

We stayed on 3rd floor, it was very noisy as it’s right under the rooftop restaurant.

Gave yourselves some time to settle the bills, sometimes, it could take lot longer than you anticipated

For ladies, there is no hair conditioner nor shower caps provided; if you need a hair dryer, you need to ask the reception

Room Tip: 3rd floor is directly under the rooftop restaurant & Bar, can be very noisy, try to avoid it if...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Petitewave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hereford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
37 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 7, 2013

Bill Clinton and an entourage of 50 joined us while we were at this hotel, so clearly a decent choice in Stone Town.

A seasoned visitor to Stone Town, this is the third hotel I have chosen to stay at, and I have visited several others.

Marumaru offers a superior stay in several respects:

1. The staff are outstanding with their welcome, and work hard and attentively to make your visit most relaxing and enjoyable. Front of house are excellent; charming, good humoured and energetic. Cleaners always a have bright welcome and do a good job around the place.
2. Bedrooms are excellent. The beds are large, soft and offer opportunity for a deep sleep.
3. Bathrooms a beautifully furnished with an expansive shower space.
4. The rooftop is a pleasant place to be.
5. If you want to step straight on to the bustle of the ancient narrow streets with small local shops, it is the place to be.
6. It is also right next to the faded glory of the Sultan's Palace and the fish market that fronts the Indian Ocean.

But this is Africa, so there are also areas where you have to compromise and make a choice:
1. Although Bill and Co. enjoyed a magnificent evening meal there, breakfast is indifferent. Do not book for breakfast, try to find Stone Town Cafe, an apparently modest place with local food and coffee to start the day.
2. Contrary to comments below, it is not the BEST place for a sundowner. Unsurpassable in Stone Town is the bar/restaurant set in the former nineteenth century British Embassy that offers great food and very special bar.
3. The hotel can have intrusive noise from outside. Local boys would tour drumming from sometime around midnight. This would not be for everyone, but we enjoyed the " local colour"
4. Local rubbish is collected in the corner of the wall of the Old Fort, right to one side of the front of the hotel. It is slowly moved on a daily basis. Whilst it does not intrude into the immaculate hotel, it is unsightly and odorous when arriving and departing.

Whilst Marumaru does not have the ancient style or setting of Tembo Hotel, or the expensive traditional quality of Zanzibar Spice Hotel( for which you have to book months in advance), it does offer exemplary service and attention, very good rooms with great beds, and a feel of "Old Town Stone Town" - just ask Bill Clinton!

Room Tip: Avoid top floor, go for first or second floor overlooking street.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Mark L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dakar, Senegal
Level Contributor
60 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2013

Located on the smartest street of Stone town,this new hotel will be the right place to remain several days before exploring the paradisiac island of Zanzibar ! new but decorated in the beautiful local style : the carved woods are everywhere and the doors at the entrance very majestuous ! The bedrooms are modern and very confortable ,the rooftop restaurant serves a large choice of local and international dishes and the view over the harbour is tremendous !
Upon your arrival you will be welcomed with a fresh fruit juice and a warm napkin ! the smiling Fiona from the reception desk will help you in all your needs .I shall return !

Room Tip: Book a room located on the first or the second floor because the other storeys are a bit noisy at ni...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank jeannick O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
53 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2013

We based ourselves here for our adventures through the streets of stone town. Centrally located for excursions to the fort, the fish and meat market, as well as the avenues of quant shops.
The hotel was good, rooms a little small, but clean, good size bathroom, which pleased my wife.

The must is sundowners on the rooftop bar. This establishment attracts tourists, expats working on the island, as well as a few well heeled locals. The Resturant was nothing to write home about, but did offer straight forward meals, but nothing exciting if you are a gastronome. Breakfast was good, with a young man who was the splitting image of Kamante (Karen Blixen's cook, Out of Africa)

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank PMyson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Suffolk, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2013

Maru Maru is perfect for sunset drinks - happy hour is a must! I did not stay here but I went with volunteers from our hostel so was affordable. It was highly recommended by our team leaders at the hostel. Beautiful views and very chillded vibe - and a must see when in Stone Town!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Annalise05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Maru Maru Hotel

Property: Maru Maru Hotel
Address: 397 - 400 Gizenga Street | Shangani, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Stone Town
#5 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
#10 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#10 Family Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Maru Maru Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 44
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the heart of the UNESCO world heritage site of StoneTown, Maru Maru Hotel is just a few steps from the city’s historical wonders, colourful markets and labyrinth of shops. Once a town house famous for its marble floors and tiles, it has now been lovingly restored to offer 44 bright rooms blending classic Zanzibar style with iconic design and modern luxuries. Its roof terrace offers one of the best views in the city with a 360° panorama and is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail as the sun melts into the Indian Ocean. The relaxed ambiance at Maru Maru continues long into the night as people come to enjoy a vast variety of Continental, Chinese Indian and Swahili cuisine, view art in Maru Maru’s gallery and enjoy the captivating sound of Tahareb music as it floats into the night. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Maru Maru Hotel Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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