Zanzibar Hotels

Zanzibar Serena Inn


The Serena Inn is located on the sea front of Stone Town.  Its proximity to all the sights and amenities make it an ideal choice for those wishing to immerse themselves in the city’s culture on foot.  The hotel is one of Zanzibar’s oldest and most renowned, and often hosts VIP guests.  The hotel comprises of two restored historical seafront buildings, and the interior décor is luxurious. Serena has been lovingly ornamented with various antiques and artefacts.

Service at Serena

The service at The Serena is not just accommodating, professional and knowledgeable but also friendly.  Hotel agents are on hand to assist with booking guides and excursions etc. Staff will go out of their way to make your stay feel ‘special.’ Business travellers accustomed to fluent English staff should adapt expectations however.  Though this hotel offers a business class package, Tanzanians are often less confident with English than many foreign language speakers from neighbouring African regions.  Yet, for the most part, staff at the Serena Inn will be able to understand and help you, even if their responses are more stilted than they might be at luxury hotels in other parts of the world.

Facilities at Zanzibar Serena

The Serena hosts a Baharia Restaurant, Mdele Coffee Shop, Masahani Bar and Terrace Seafood Restaurant, charming swimming pool and pool deck, live music nightly, spa treatment rooms, a business centre, travel desk, taxi service, wedding planning service, gift shop, news-stand and travel kiosk and even a baby-sitting service and children's meal options.  All hotel rooms are equipped with 24-hour room service, air-conditioning, WIFI (though this is not free), direct-dial phone, in-room satellite TV, mini bar, private safe, 240V/3 pin (square)sockets and shaver sockets, hair driers, mosquito nets, bathrobe and slippers, and even umbrellas.

While the hotel is grand it is a ‘Small Luxury Hotel.’  Travellers looking for huge rooms may be somewhat under-whelmed with some of the packages offered at the Serena.  However, the hotel’s facilities are various and they offer prime rooms and suites for those in need of more space. The common areas at the Serena (breakfast area, pool etc) are more palatial in feel than many of the rooms.  

Food and Drink at Zanzibar Serena

Breakfast is included in the room rate and is top quality and expansive with a fresh fruit bar, western and African dishes, locally produced traditional pastries and hot dishes, such as eggs, available to order.  The restaurants at Serena offer quality food in clean and charming surroundings.  The Terrace restaurant boasts excellent views and good food. It needs advance booking and is not ideal for those on a budget. Compared to other eateries in Zanzibar it may not appear to offer value for money.  Yet it is a good spot to enjoy a delicious and hassle-free meal.

Location of Zanzibar Serena

Serena’s central location may not suit everyone.  While it is coastal the beach by the hotel is not of the standard travellers may have become accustomed to on Zanzibar.  It is very public and heavily used. Though one can swim, the hotel pool will prove far more relaxing. The hotel does own a stretch of beach, accessible via shuttle bus running twice daily during peak season or a longish walk north down a busy main road.  The private beach bar here can also be booked through the guest relations manager.

It is also important to remember that Stone Town itself is not for the sensitive.  Street vendors will approach tourists, and by western standards, although a UNESCO site, the town is not clean.  The hotel is located near a mosque meaning that the early morning call to prayers can be heard from some rooms.  For all this, travellers wishing to savour real city life in Stone Town the location of the Serena is ideal.  The hotel is within easy reach of the Sultan's Palace, the House of Wonders, the Old Dispensary Cultural Centre, the Old Slave Market, the Old Dhow harbour and the bazaars.

While the Serena Inn may not seem to offer the best value for money package on Zanzibar, it is certainly one of the highest reputed hotels in Stone Town.

Arriving at Serena

Stone Town is the old town of Zanzibar City which lies approximately 7 km from Zanzibar Airport.  The taxi takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the hotel.  Airport transfers can be arranged by the Serena Inn. 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 past travellers have raised safety concerns with the older slower stock of boats.

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