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“A wonderful Stone Town base” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zanzibar Serena Hotel

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Zanzibar Serena Hotel
Ranked #8 of 34 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
84 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“A wonderful Stone Town base”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2012

We chose to stay at the Serena Inn as part of our honeymoon package as we wanted to explore Stone Town before heading off to our beach resort (The Residence). We felt it was important to see something of the history and culture of the island and the Serena Inn was a natural choice owing to its sea front location (slightly safer potentially than the smaller boutique hotels right in the labyrinthine streets) in the heart of old Stone Town. It is also a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and we had stayed at several of these before so we were comfortable we knew what we were getting. We were picked up at the airport by a hotel transport (very nice people mover) and it took no more than 15 minutes to reach the hotel. Check in was easy - they even anticipated who we were before we had to say our names and our room was very comfortable (not massive, but with everything you need), completed by a very large terrace with a sea view and hammock. We ate in the main restaurant (not the Terrace Restaurant at the top) for dinner, breakfast and lunch all of which were very high quality and we thought good value for money too, drinks in particular. We also enjoyed the lovely swimming pool and found they served complimentary crepes and tea/coffee from 4.30 onwards. The concierge service is actually run by Fisherman tours and we booked a Stone Town walking tour with them ($58 for two for around 2-3 hours). We could choose the time we wanted to go and the guide we had was brilliant. We could have spent all day with him! He was extremely knowledgeable and thorough and we got the sense that we were doing better than other tourists whose guides were whisking them up to the photo spot and back again. We spent over 15 minutes alone going through the Sultanate history looking at photos and pictures in Africa House.

Serena Inn is decorated in Zanzibari style and also benefits from the use of a private beach (not right outside the hotel - it is a 45 minute drive away). The service was excellent throughout and we were sorry to leave so quickly. We did, however, find that 2 nights in Stone Town was enough for us to get the most out of the town and so we felt this was sufficient to move on to our final stop.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Claire S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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619 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (165)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Helsinki
Level Contributor
31 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2012

To stay at Serena on Zanzibar is a bit like staying elsewhere on a serena hotel in east Africa, but with a real feeling of the Zanzibari style. I have stayed here several times on my business trips and I can realy recommend this to others.

on the plus side;

+ location, sea side, excellent sundowner terace, and hotel close to sights in town
+ authentic old sultan-style
+ very good staff, especially frontdesk, business centre, coffeshop and porters
+ tasty menus on all restaurants and bars, perhaps a bit pricy
+ business centre, aircon, good printers and good service
+ beatiful pool and sundeck

on the minus side;

- small and crowded rooms
- bad mosquito nets
- small showers
- too expensive food in restaurants
- not too good car-parking
- hotel rates

But, all in all, a place to recommend and Im surely coming back next time.

Room Tip: try to upgrade to a junior suite or similar... at least you will have good space.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2011, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank GoZanzibar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sitka, Alaska
Level Contributor
68 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2012

The hotel is interesting, built into two historic buildings, the telecommunications building and a doctor's dispensary, Our room had a great sunset view over the Indian Ocean. But the service was what made this place. People were very accommodating, arranging tours, boat charters and catering to my special interests. The hotel has a private beach north of Stonetown. The day we went we were the only people there. It has rained but we came to the beach to get wet, right. Well, it didn't rain and we had a wonderful day. The hotel is located in Stonetown, walking distance from the interesting sights and markets. We only stayed three days but I wish it were longer.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Rich M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2012

This is a great hotel with amazing views. The staff are friendly and helpful. The breakfast buffet is something to remember. Private beach and pool overlooking the ocean.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AmaterasuOm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Soest, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2012

I met some people on my flight who where stayin here. They showed me the great rooms and told me breakfast and lunch where stunning.
I had dinner there two times, the food is amazing. the staff is the most warm i met in zanzibar/tanzania.
There was some life music going before dinner, they have an private beach outside of town. Went there as well and found the most stunning views and had a nice swim there.
The view and sunset are stunning from the hotel

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Stefantastic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2012

Looking over the indian ocean with quite an interesting architecture and history throughout stone town, I definitely fell for this place. The hotel staff especially the doorman/greeter was especially helpful and tended to everything big and small! I will definitely return! Food was delicious too!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Henry H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2012

Before arriving at the Serena we had heard what a great hotel it was. Luckily we were not disapointed.

The Serena is a beautifully restored hotel. From the lobby to the swimming pool, there is a real touch of class about the hotel.

We were upgraded for free to a prime room which had wonderful views over the pool to the Indian Ocean. The rooms are extremely comfortable and a great place to get some rest after a long day around Stone Town.

The staff all around the hotel are helpful and couldn't be more welcoming.

The food at the Serena is wonderful. The breakfasts had so much food on offer we didn't know where to start.
We also had lunch at the pool bar which was really tasty and not as expensive as we thought it would be.
On our last night we booked a table at the terrace restuarant. Set overlooking the Indian Ocean, this is a beautiful place to have your last dinner on Zanzibar. The 4 course seafood dinner was cooked to perfection and I will never forget the dessert!

Overall I would definatley say the Serena is the place to stay in Stone Town and would definately return.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank tom h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zanzibar Serena Hotel

Property: Zanzibar Serena Hotel
Address: Kelele Square, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Stone Town
#3 Spa Hotel in Stone Town
#4 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#4 Business Hotel in Stone Town
#5 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
#6 Family Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Zanzibar Serena Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 51
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Zanzibar Serena Hotel Stone Town
Zanzibar Serena Stone Town
Zanzibar Serena Hotel Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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