Where to stay in Zanzibar Town
The following section is a selection of places to stay in and around Zanzibar Town. The list is not absolute, as new places keep opening and there are frequent name and location changes, but indicates the range of accommodation available and the best in each price bracket.
If you are coming from the airport (or elsewhere on the island) by taxi, and don't have a reservation, be firm about which hotel you want to go to, otherwise the driver may take you to wherever offers him the best commission. Also, remember that many hotels in the older part of Zanzibar Town cannot be reached by vehicle, and you may have to walk some distance through the narrow streets. If the driver shows you the way (and he'll also probably help with your luggage), it's usual to give a fair tip for this extra service.
Much of the accommodation is in, or very near, Stone Town, which is the best area for atmosphere and ease of getting around. Several of the places do not have exact street addresses, or if they do these are not used, as many lanes and house numbers, even if they exist, are often unmarked.
We have divided the list into the following five categories, which broadly correspond to price brackets and are based on the cost of a standard double room:Exclusive
- US$125 upwardsUpmarket
- below US$30
Electricity in Zanzibar Town
Zanzibar Town gets occasional cuts in the electrical supply. To overcome this, most of the larger hotels have generators, but some of the small budget places don't, which can mean no lights and no fans. If the lights go out, kerosene lamps may be provided but it's best to have a torch or candles handy just in case. When the fans stop working there's not much that can be done, and inside rooms can get unbearable during Zanzibar's hot season. Bear this in mind when choosing a place to stay. Hotels that have been built recently rely on a constant electrical supply to work the fans or AC, whilst older hotels were built to withstand the hot weather using designs that date from before the invention of electricity. If you can't find a genuinely old hotel, at least look for one built in traditional style: large windows, thick walls, high ceilings, courtyards, wide verandas and even a double roof, not just a pseudo-oriental façade!