Let me set the scene:
You left Johannesburg at 11:40 last night, spent three hours sitting outside Dar Es Salaam, an airport without stable electricity waiting for a transfer, another 2 waiting in a hot, stuffy airport to catch a Cessna leaving for Zanzibar at 7:30am.
Now, think about a hotel that just exudes serenity, class and culture. I give you the Mashariki Palace Hotel in Stone Town, Zanzibar. The commute to Zanzibar might have only been three and a half hours for us but it actually lasted just over nine hours because of our bad flight choices (read about the best way to get to Zanzibar here). Instead of just flying direct, we chose to transit at Dar Es Salaam (bad idea). By the time we arrived at the Mashariki Palace hotel we were exhausted, hungry and not in the best mood after our first day of malaria tablets. The minute I turned into the lobby of the Mashariki Palace, I knew the bad part of our trip was over.
The hotel is a restored section of the Sultans Palace and all the rooms are unique and some have fantastic features like high ceilings, balconies a terraces. Our Darjani room had a small entrance area with a nice reading nook, exceptionally high ceilings and a nicely sized bathroom. The general use areas of the hotel are incredibly well maintained and clean.
When I was looking for a place to stay in Stone Town I was really overwhelmed by the Arab styles of most of the hotels. They definitely looked fantastic, but just not in my taste. However the Mashariki Palace had the best combination for me. It was historical, cultural and still minimal. Reality was far better than the image portrayed online.
The hotel is situated quite close to the Old Fort and in walking distance from everything in Stone Town (it’s really, really small). It’s also around the corner from Emerson on Hurumzi who host a fantastic swahili-style dinner where you literally sit under the stars on a carpet being serenaded by live music (more on that later!).
Price wise, when we went we got a room for less than $270 direct from the hotel.
The hotel was already fantastic, but the cherry on top was the service. Every single person went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. The hotel went out of their way to accommodate an early check-in because Ahmed had to attend Friday prayers without blinking an eye.
I don’t care about other hotels in Stone Town, Mashariki Palace is IT and it is a once in a lifetime experience! They have a fantastic, newly renovated website that showcases some of their rooms gorgeously. Have a look at it here.