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“Beach hotels don't usually do much for me, but this one was right downtown”

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Tembo House Hotel & Apartments
Ranked #11 of 34 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Cambridge, MA
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Beach hotels don't usually do much for me, but this one was right downtown”
Reviewed March 23, 2013

It wasn't cheap, by any means, but the hotel was well-orgamized and surprised me by being right on the beach. It was also right downtown - in a way, it couldn't be closer to the center of Stone Town - effectively one block away.

I don't know if it was just my room, but the air-conditioning didn't seem to make a dent. The ceiling fan worked very nicely, however.

Room Tip: Mine was ground floor, and looked right onto the interior swimming pool - yet still was quiet. (It...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank obp483
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2013

this was my second time in tembo hotel, the reason for booking intembo is because of the beach.
the rooms are kind of ok, i was in room number 23 and the beds were too high.

the shower had a problem

alot of noise because of the construction happening next to tembo hotel

its an ok hotel for someone who wants to spend time in stone town

there room and other services were ok

food was ok ( not good either)

i had there cakes and they were teribble

one of the only hotels in stonetown with a beach i will give it a plus points
anything else to do with the hotel (ok)

also another suggestion for the hotel "to add a tea kettle in every room plus tea and coffee supplies"

Room Tip: dont get the rooms where the construction is happening very noisy
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Abbas C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silkeborg
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

We stayed at the hotel for 3 nights. We loved the location right in the middle of the old Stone Town and at the beach with a lovely wind from the sea to help cooling us. The pool is really nice and most of the day in the shade. Our room was lovely with a very nice balcony overlooking the sea. Breakfast perhaps the poorest during our 17 days in Tanzania, but it helps when you can eat overlooking the beautiful sea.
The first night was really nice, so we were very satisfied. BUT the following 2 nights were terrible. The neighbouring bar, Livingstone, played music the second night until 2 am and the third night until 4 am. We had to sit on the balcony during the night to be able to stand the music which was incredibly loud. We complained the second day as well as the third to the management that told us that the loud music was due to a music festival in town. We said that this had nothing to do with a festival in town but was right from the neighbour. Then we were told that they knew about the problem and that Livingstone had promised to stop the music by midnight and that the management would approach the bar again about these complaints. We stayed there from Thursday to Sunday so perhaps the problem is mostly a weekend problem?
The hotel is really very nice, but if they do not manage to reduce that awful noise this hotel has no future but for young people who will like themselves to be at the bar.
Sonja and Steen Stensgaard
Denmark

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SOSSilkeborg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mombasa, Kenya
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

TEMBO HOTEL.. One of the best hotel in the stone town ZANZIBAR, rating 4 and a half out of five..

Impressions of Tembo Hotel:
Friendly, reasonably maintained hotel. Reasonably sized rooms with comfy beds.. Great location on the water and right by the main street ;COLD pool as it is in the shade for most of the day, Good sea view.. The hotel has a nice, restored, historical feel..

AMIGOS here is what you want in zanzibar from our known pal Rahim Amigo..

Buenos días folks..!!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jameel666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Level 5 Contributor
45 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2013 via mobile

I have been to stone town a number of times. This was my first trip to the Tembo House.
First a week before my trip we double checked our booking as it is common to have your booking lost. We were told it was now fully booked and we were without a room. After much arguing we managed to get our room back.
The main reason for the Tembo House visit was to have a pool and a beach view. There are many hotels in Stone Town that offer similar rooms and location for the same or less money. I really enjoy the Dow Inn which is the same owners but not in the beach.
The room they have us on arrival was on the ground floor. It was small and musty. Rooms upstairs are much nicer. Best if you have a balcony.
We were right outside the breakfast buffet. Like open the door and you grab a plate. This was alright as we were getting up early. Not so great if you want to sleep in.
No noise from the bar next door as we were far enough away.
The pool and the beach view and beach chairs make this the place to stay. It is hot in Stone Town without much break from the heat. If you have kids a pool is a must for a 2 day stay.
I may or may not go back. If I stay in Stone Town for 2 or more nights I will probably go back.

Ask for a room with a balcony.
Ask for a room away from the bar Livingstone if you go to bed before 2 am on a weekend.
Put down your credit card info to hopefully keep your booking.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cody a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Doha, Qatar
Level 6 Contributor
729 reviews
124 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 208 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2013

I’ve deliberately waited a couple of weeks to write this in order to mention pro’s as well as con’s. If I had written it at the time…

First impressions of Tembo Hotel:
Friendly looking, reasonably maintained hotel.
Reasonably sized rooms with comfy beds, although bathrooms are a little tired and our second room was swarming with ants, as per the photo
Restaurant right on the beach, with good food and lovely staff
Breakfast had a variety of foods
Great location on the water and right by the main street and easy to find
Pool is a reasonable size, although cold as it is in the shade for most of the day.
Organised a trip to Prison Island for us, very swiftly and at a reasonable price
Is it worth 80GBP a night for a twin room? No, I’d say 50-60 maximum

First night was great and then…

The second night we were kept awake until 2am by the bar music next door. We may as well have been lain on the dance floor! Even with earplugs!! When I telephoned reception at 1am they told me they did not know when it would end and offered no apology.

The next morning the manager (name) approached us and asked us to write a short letter detailing the complaint as they were pursuing it. We were given a 10% discount on the room and because we were so tired and just desperate to get to the next hotel and sleep, we did not dispute it further. I did, however, explain that we would be back the following weekend and that we did not want the noise again as I had to go to work the next day. If he thought it was likely to occur, then I would rather cancel our booking and find somewhere else. The manager assured us he would put us in a room on the other side of the hotel. However, with hindsight, this is nothing more than a ruse…

The following weekend we arrived and were indeed put on the other side of the hotel. The room was right by the road and a little dark and musty on first impressions but, we figured we only had one night there. The rest of the day we were out, around Stone Town. That night… At 10pm we couldn’t bear the heat and mosquitoes anymore. The aircon had been on for three hours and the cooling was as effective as standing in front of a fire! The front desk told us that we had to wait until the compressor started working…it had been on for 3 hours, how long does it need?! We asked to see another room and were taken back to the side by the bar/ disco. Although it was only faint music, we didn’t want to be on this side and risk it but we were told the other side was full. I asked to speak to the manager and thereon began the ‘customer service’. I wasn’t allowed to speak to him until he’d heard the compressor report; we were told we’d ‘got what we wanted, a room on the other side’. We were showed two other rooms on the disco side, one was a double and we had booked a twin. Although the manager did then relent and we were told we could go one in each of the two rooms. However, in neither of these rooms did the air con appear to work either.

The original room was so hot and we were being eaten alive by mosquitoes, despite the nets on the beds, so we had no choice but to go to the disco side. Within an hour the music was ear-splitting again and continued, on and on. At 3am I returned back to reception to say that we just could not sleep there and to ask for the original rooms key. The guy told me ‘No, you’ve already switched’. After a fuss-just what you want at 3am- I got the key. The room had been made up ready for new guests-with our sheets!!! I know this because my pink lip salve had spilt on the sheet and there was blood from mosquitoes I had squashed!

The next morning the manager was vile. Anybody would think it was our fault there was loud music! We were chastised for everything under the sun:
-for not complaining about our room earlier… we weren’t there! We’re on holiday and don’t sit in the room all day every day. It’s somewhere to sleep! Although don’t stay at Tembo if you actually want to sleep!
-for expecting a room change
-for not being happy with the room change
-for coming in carnival season, so everywhere was noisy…!
-for asking for a refund… Endless things!
He even shouted right in my friend’s face even though it was me who was the one disputing the charge. I was happy for the police to come when he suggested it, but he never actually called them. We just got the measly 10% discount and 2 out of 3 nights with no sleep.

Suffice to say, Tembo Hotel know that their guests are going to be kept awake by the noise at weekend’s, if they are on the R hand side (as you look at the hotel from outside) and they are exploiting this. They rely on:
-the fact that there are plenty of guests who do not stay at w/e’s
-some people being extremely heavy sleepers!
-their ‘oh please write a letter to help us sort out the problem’ act
-people not coming back for a second stay

Do yourself a favour and either pay less for a hostel and eat in some of the lovely restaurants in Stone Town with what you save. Or, pay a little more and stay somewhere like the Serena Inn. We went for lunch and it looked stunning. On the same beach and right by the main street but, no hawkers, hassle or noise!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank jmm73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2013

The hotel has a nice, restored, historical feel to it but we found the attitude of the staff quite different than we had found at The Zanzibari. There is no alcohol served at the hotel so if you are looking for a nice glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail you are out of luck. We only ate breakfast at the hotel but found it to feel somewhat "cafeteriaish" and we were inundated with bees. The people working at reception were pleasant and helpful and the location is good. If you are considering Stonetown, one day is enough.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lhartwig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tembo House Hotel & Apartments

Property: Tembo House Hotel & Apartments
Address: Forodhani Street, Stone Town, Zanzibar City 3974, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Stone Town
#7 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
#8 Family Hotel in Stone Town
#12 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Tembo House Hotel & Apartments 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Unique experience awaits at the Tembo House&Apartments.Tembo House Hotel&Apartments is situated at the heart of Zanzibar Stone Town by the picturesque seafront.The magnificent main Building has had various functions over the past centuries. Between 1834 and 1884 it served as the American Consulate in Zanzibar then passed on to become the trading offices of Cowasjee Dinshaw & Partners. Their headquarters was in Aden(what now is know as the Port of Suez), and with trading posts notably in most of the British Protectorate areas, it became the largest trading Company in the India Ocean. To this day , the name of Cowasjee Dinwash & Partners is still visible at the main entrance of Tembo House Hotel.Tembo House Hotel has seen a few celebrities pass through is doors during the consulate era, the Conwasjee Dinwash era and as a Hotel. Mahatma Ghandi, stayed here a few weeks with the Dinwash family on his journey back to India from South Africa 1930. As a rising new star in the British, and the world music scene, Freddie Mercury and his family used to retreat to what is now ”Marashi” apartment whenever they came back to Zanzibar on holidays.Next to Tembo House Hotel is also what used to be the British Consulate, where in 1874, Dr. Livingstone’s body was brought before embarking on its long journey back to England.A stone throw away is the Beit-al-Ajaib of House of wonders. This landmark building, is the largest and by far, the tallest building in Stone Town. Flanking the Beit-al-Ajaib is the Old Fort on one side and the Palace Museum on the other side.In other words, Tembo House Hotel is situated on a prime location, you need not go far to find the shops, the restaurants and the Historical sites that Zanzibar Stone Town has on offer.Zanzibar port is just 5 minutes drive away and the Zanzibar International Airport a further 15 minutes away.Welcome home away from home ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tembo Hotel Stone Town
Tembo Stone Town
Tembo House Hotel & Apartments Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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