Zanzibar Hotels

Zanzibar Coffee House

This very centrally located hotel has a very unique flavour. Essentially a cluster of apartments above a well-renowned and busy coffee shop (each hotel suite is named after a type of coffee), the hotel certainly has character (and with only 8 rooms, a tendency to get full-bodied!).

Accommodation at the Zanzibar Coffee House

Rooms are charmingly furnished and clean but basic; no TV, radio or internet though they do have A/C. Not all rooms are en suite and in all instances hot water must be switched on approximately half an hour before a shower is required. The hotel is over several floors and there is no lift. Though rooms are advertised as having ‘safes,’ where these are available they are more primitive than one might reasonably expect (carved wooden boxes bolted to the floor for which you must provide a lock). However, this hotel is offering a special atmosphere that is far from any western norms; this is its allure.

Food and Drink at the Zanzibar Coffee House

Breakfast is good and may include pastries, fruits, unusual and various homemade jams, fresh juices, made-to-order waffles, crepes, bacon and eggs (depending on the season) as well as specialty teas and, of course great coffee. It is all served on the hotel’s roof terrace which has a relaxing atmosphere and pleasant view. The busy and popular coffee house atop which the hotel is housed serves exceptional coffee all day as well as simple, high-quality fresh food (samosas and gezpacho come highly recommended) and a range of tasty exotic cakes, all exceptionally good value.

Service at the Zanzibar Coffee House

The Coffee House is a locus for local hubbub, making this hotel the ideal choice for those wishing to get closer to Stone Town’s actual vibe; backpackers, and those who are experience seeking, but not those in Zanzibar purely to relax.

It would not be everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee) as, being situated in the pedestrianised alleys and so busy it can be daunting. Furthermore, at night the narrow streets round the lodgings are treacherous; one easily (very, very easily) gets lost. However it is perfectly normal to ask your taxi driver to guide you by foot to your hotel for a small fee. As most shops close at around 1800 they are not useful markers for finding your way back to the hotel after dark. Given the hotel’s situation it can get noisy, and, as in most places in the area, you will be woken early by the 0500 call to prayer.

The staff at the Zanzibar Coffee House are very obliging and friendly but unlikely to pander to guests. They are always busy, but will take time to help and accommodate if approached. The coffee shop closes at 1730 but the hotel is still accessible via a side entrance. The somewhat laissez-faire night security guard will let you in. The Coffee House is the quirky option for the traveller who likes something different.

Arriving at the Zanzibar Coffee House

The Coffee House is located in the heart of the pedestrian district of old Stone Town and it is not easy to find. It is located behind the main Darajani Market (about a minutes walk) on arrival it is best to ask the taxi driver to escort you to the hotel directly to avoid getting lost. After which, providing you have a sound sense of direction you should be fine, though at night it is best to have a guide to the hotel as the streets are ill lit and once shops have closed the area becomes an impenetrable maze.

Stone Town itself lies approximately 7 km from Zanzibar airport. The taxi takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the town. Ferry routes link Stone Town with Dar es Salaam daily and with Pemba less frequently. Passengers are warned to beware ticket touts when buying ferry tickets and advised to take the faster, more expensive ferry as travellers have raised safety concerns with the older slower stock of boats.

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