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“One of my all time favorite places” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Emerson Spice

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Emerson Spice
Ranked #1 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“One of my all time favorite places”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2012 via mobile

We stayed at the Emerson More than 15 years ago and I still remember it fondly as one of my favorite hotels ever. When I come back to stone town in the future, will definitely stay here again.

Stayed May 2011
Helpful?
Thank Lin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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499 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    422
    57
    16
    3
    1
See reviews for
80
249
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11
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (150)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2012

Before heading out to the amazing Chumbe Island we stopped over in Stone town for two nights. Coming from Nairobi you land in the evening so at least one night in Stone town will be necessary. My recommendation is to stay at least two nights in this fantastic hotel. The old movie inspired colonial hotel is exquisitly decorated to the very detail, staff is wonderful altough very bad at english. You'll get over it though since they are so wonderful and will go out of their way to help you. The roof top restaurant is magic in the sunset and not to mention the five cours dinner for only 25 USD. It was without competition the most tasty meal I had during the whole vacation. Delicious! We will definitly be back at Emerson, maybe even for a longer period, to write a novel on the terass looking out over the inspiring spice smelling streets of Stone town. Tips: Ask for a room that is not on the same side as the minaret of the next door mosque if you are a light sleeper. And pay a visit to the Lemon SPA.

Room Tip: The minaret just outside our room named "Camelia" could possibly down rate our review, but...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 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 Janna D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2012

Emerson spice is an experience (and a good one):

+ Staff are friendly and helpful
+ the owner is great with people
+ the hotel is well designed
+ the rooms have a lot of character
+ the food (restaurant) is very good. the food is tasty
+ service is attentive throughout

- no fitness facilities (pool, gym, anything)

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank SafariGalore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle & Zanzibar
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2012

I have had the opportunity twice now, in different years, to stay in the large room called Belle at Emerson Spice. My point of view is unique also in that 24 years ago I lived in this same hotel for a month when the government ran it and it was called Spice Inn. Hotelier Emerson Skeens' restoration of this building and the added extravagances are to die for. His eye for design and his attention to detail absolutely delight me. I am very familiar with Zanzibar history and culture but can still learn something from Emerson each time we speak. If you want the service standards of Northern hemisphere establishments but with empathy, love and concern for a traditional African place coupled with a dedication to community service and involvement, you cannot find anyone or anything that will surpass the hotel and dining experience provided by Emerson Skeens at Emerson Spice. Emerson is a long-standing and respected member of the Zanzibar community. Spending your money at Emerson Spice means supporting local craftsmen and women and a host of charitable projects.
Emerson's fanciful descriptions of the artistic concepts conjuring art, history and myth that inspire each room’s name and décor at Emerson Spice are fun to read, but the reader should not think that is all that undergirds the ambiance of Spice’s rooms. This hotelier is a master of pragmatic design as well, and he has taken fully into account the flows of air, light, weather, and sound in each suite. For example, while luxuriating in a 19th Century antique bed, one still has a brilliant modern reading lamp whose off switch is there to be accessed without lifting one’s head from the pillow. And why didn't I, or 100 other someones, think about putting the overhead fan INSIDE the mosquito net before? Practical AND beautiful, just like everything else in that excellent room.

None of your senses is neglected at Emerson Spice. From fragrant blossoms on your pillow to piquant flavors in your lunch, from dramatic lighting in your room to the melodious call to evening prayer floating in, from the large soaking tub to the comfortable gorgeously upholstered antique chairs, from top quality bedding and fixtures to wonderous architectural detail and sumptuous colors, the attention to sensual detail at Emerson Spice is unparalleled. I've had many lunches at Emerson Spice and they never disappoint and extremely reasonably priced.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 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?
1 Thank profjZanzibar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bergen, Norway
Level Contributor
44 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 April 2012

We was given tha room Belle, when we red the story of the room, is seemed that the room was made for my wife...We loved it. Friendly staff. The food was not a winner, but all in all good value, and the friendly staff and owner makes you feel special.

Room Tip: All room are special, but one with a balcony is nice.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Albromann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2012

Beautiful rooms, very well designed with stylish detail. Nice balcony too.

Friendly and helpful staff.

Nice breakfast, though simple/not much choice.

Excellent food on roof-top restuaurant. The best seafood/quality and value that we had all holiday. Definately worth booking ahead for this.

I would certainly stay there again.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Catherine1976London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 April 2012 via mobile

Emerson Spice was recommended by a friend. Gray quoted $175/night on email. When asked for discount, he quoted $165 and asked for pre-payment of the whole booking. He confirmed the payment and airport pick-up. Yet, upon arrival there was no one to pick us. When we called Emerson, on aninternational cellular, we were informed of an additional cost of $30! We managed to a hire a cab for $10, but the hassle tiring. As we arrived, we have informed Gray about what happened, he has apologized but didn't offer a make-up of any sort.

We had dinner at the roof-top, where you are strongly advised to make a reservation. Though we were told to have a reservation, the whole set up was messy and we had to sit on the first whatever table available.

Emerson is an OK place at Stonetown, but as we later on discovered there are much better places at better prices. Unfortunately, Emerson Spice is not my list of places to revisit. I think their service is not matching the publicity they were able to raise.

Stayed March 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank dselcen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Emerson Spice

Property: Emerson Spice
Address: Tharia Street, Kiponda, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#1 Family Hotel in Stone Town
#5 Business Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An inspired and lovingly restored Merchant’s House, this multi-storied small Boutique hotel has an inner courtyard, eleven unique antiques-filled rooms, and two of Zanzibar’s best restaurants. All rooms are equipped with a small fridge, air conditioner, fan, and high ceiling mosquito net. The rooftop ‘Tea House’ hosts one of Stonetown’s most renowned restaurants offering a stylish ambiance amidst the sound of the calls to prayer from the town’s many mosques. The five course ‘Taste Safari’, prepared daily by our Zanzibari chefs, is seafood based and celebrates the freshest and best the market has to offer each morning. The sunset hour is an integral and pleasurable part of the experience so diners are encouraged to arrive at around 6pm to enjoy a ‘Sundowner’ before dinner. On the Ground floor The Secret Garden, set amidst lushly landscaped hidden ‘Ruins’, open to the skies, has a Zanzibari inspired A La Carte Menu. Look out for live music performed by The Dhow Countries Music Academy. Open for Lunch and Dinner. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Emerson Spice Hotel Stone Town
Emerson Spice Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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