The Best Stays in Zanzibar: Stone Town’s Top Boutique Hotels

Welcome to Stone Town, Zanzibar—a city where history resonates through narrow alleyways, carved doorways, and bustling marketplaces. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stone Town is not just a place to visit; it’s an experience to be lived. This vibrant city is the cultural heart of Zanzibar, offering travelers a unique blend of Arabic, African, Indian, and European influences, seen in its architecture, cuisine, and everyday life.

Boutique hotels in Stone Town are renowned for their personal touch, architectural beauty, and deep connection to local traditions. These accommodations are not just buildings; they are gateways to the past, each with a story to tell, offering a stay that’s as enchanting as it is comfortable.

Whether you’re meandering through the winding streets, sipping spiced coffee by the waterfront, or enjoying the sunset from a rooftop, your time in Stone Town will be enhanced by the charm and character of its boutique hotels. 

Get ready to explore, experience, and enjoy every moment in this historic gem of the Indian Ocean. Let’s discover the best boutique hotels that Stone Town has to offer, ensuring your visit is nothing short of magical.

Top Boutique Hotels in Stone Town

Stone Town is renowned not just for its deep history but also for its inviting boutique hotels, each offering a unique experience. Here’s a look at some top picks where culture and comfort blend beautifully:

1. Zanzibar Palace Hotel

Location and Ambiance: Nestled in the center of Stone Town, this hotel is ideal for travelers eager to explore the town on foot.

Why Stay Here?

  • Known for its vibrant decor that complements its surroundings.
  • Staff are always ready to help, making your stay smooth and enjoyable.

Services and Amenities: 

  • Offers comfortable, well-equipped rooms.
  • Close proximity to local attractions and eateries.

Ideal For: Travelers who love being in the middle of all the action but also appreciate a cozy, elegant place to rest.

2. The Neela Boutique Hotel

Setting and Style: This hotel beautifully captures the essence of Zanzibar’s rich cultural heritage with modern twists.

Why Stay Here?

  • Guests rave about the attentive service and luxurious atmosphere.
  • Dining options on-site are top-notch, with local and international dishes.

Services and Amenities:

  • Offers bespoke experiences, making each stay unique.
  • Rooms are spacious with exquisite attention to detail.

Ideal For: Those seeking a blend of history, culture, and modern luxury.

3. Upendo House

Location and Design: Located in the heart of Stone Town, this hotel is a favorite for its stylish interiors and stunning rooftop views.

Why Stay Here?

  • The rooftop bar is perfect for evening relaxation with a view of the sunset over Stone Town.
  • Each room has a distinctive design, offering guests a unique aesthetic experience.

Services and Amenities:

  • Infinity pool on the rooftop.
  • Exceptional dining experiences with panoramic views.

Ideal For: Travelers who enjoy high-end amenities and picturesque settings.

4. Emerson Spice Hotel

Historical Significance: Originally a merchant’s home, this hotel gives a peek into the past with its authentic Zanzibari architecture.

Why Stay Here?

  • Offers a quaint and intimate setting.
  • Known for its rooftop dining that provides not just meals but a complete sensory experience.

Services and Amenities:

  • Each room is individually decorated to reflect the rich history of the area.
  • Located close to cultural sites and the bustling market life of Stone Town.

Ideal For: Those who appreciate a historical backdrop to their travels.

These boutique hotels in Stone Town offer more than just a place to stay; they provide a doorway into the culture and history of Zanzibar. Each hotel, with its unique charm and service, promises an unforgettable stay. 

What Makes Stone Town Boutique Hotels Special?

Stone Town’s boutique hotels are particularly special for several reasons that enhance the travel experience for visitors:

1. Cultural Immersion: These hotels are often situated in restored buildings that carry the historical and architectural significance of Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This provides guests with a direct connection to the rich cultural tapestry of Zanzibar, right from their accommodations. The decor and design often reflect local craftsmanship and heritage, giving guests an immersive cultural experience.

2. Personalized Service: Boutique hotels in Stone Town are known for their intimate scale, which typically allows for more personalized attention to guests. This can include customizing experiences, providing insights into local attractions, and offering tailored recommendations that are not typically available in larger hotels.

3. Unique Design and Atmosphere: Each boutique hotel in Stone Town has its unique flair—whether it’s through its eclectic decor, themed rooms, or the preservation of original features like ornate carvings and traditional Zanzibari doors. This uniqueness provides a distinct and memorable experience for guests.

4. Location: Many of these hotels are strategically located within walking distance of major attractions in Stone Town, including markets, historical sites, and the waterfront. This convenience is a significant advantage for travelers looking to explore the area on foot.

5. Exclusive Experiences: Many boutique hotels offer experiences that are exclusive to their guests, such as rooftop dinners, sunset views from beautifully designed terraces, or private tours of the town. These experiences are designed to make a stay more special and memorable.

6. Sustainability: There is often a focus on sustainability, with many boutique hotels taking steps to minimize their environmental impact. This might include using local products, supporting local communities, or implementing eco-friendly practices, which appeals to eco-conscious travelers.

These elements combine to make boutique hotels in Stone Town not just a place to stay, but a key part of the Zanzibar experience, offering comfort, culture, and a connection to the local environment in a way that larger, more commercial hotels often cannot match.

Booking Tips for Boutique Hotels

Booking the perfect boutique hotel in Stone Town can greatly enhance your trip. Here are some tips to keep in mind when making your reservations:

1. Book Early

Boutique hotels often have fewer rooms than larger hotels, which means they can fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons. Booking well in advance ensures you get your preferred room and can often secure better rates.

2. Check Location

While most boutique hotels in Stone Town are well-located, double-check how close they are to the specific attractions you wish to visit. Some might be closer to the beach, while others are in the heart of the historic district. Decide what’s most important for your trip.

3. Read Reviews

Look at recent guest reviews on multiple platforms before booking. Pay attention to comments about the quality of service, cleanliness, and the authenticity of the hotel experience. These insights can help you set realistic expectations and choose a hotel that matches your preferences.

4. Consider Your Needs

Think about what’s important for your stay. Do you need strong Wi-Fi, proximity to certain landmarks, and specific amenities like a spa or a swimming pool? Ensure the hotel you choose can accommodate these needs.

5. Look for Package Deals

Some boutique hotels offer packages that include meals, tours, or other experiences. These can be of great value, providing convenience and unique local experiences that might be costly or difficult to arrange independently.

6. Contact the Hotel Directly

Sometimes calling or emailing the hotel directly can result in better room rates or upgrades, especially if you mention a special occasion like an anniversary or a birthday. It also allows you to ask specific questions about the services they offer.

7. Check Cancellation Policies

Boutique hotels may have stricter cancellation policies than larger hotel chains. Always check these policies before booking so that you understand the terms, should your plans change.

By following these tips, you can secure the best possible accommodation that fits your preferences and enhances your visit to Stone Town.


Stone Town’s boutique hotels offer much more than just a place to sleep; they provide a rich, immersive experience that connects you with the heart of Zanzibar’s culture and history. 

From the unique architectural elements and intimate service to the perfect locations that allow you to explore the best of what Stone Town has to offer on foot, these hotels ensure a memorable stay. 

Ready to immerse yourself in the charm and culture of Stone Town? 

Choose one of these exquisite boutique hotels to enhance your visit to Zanzibar. Each offers a unique blend of heritage, luxury, and intimate service, ensuring a stay that’s as enriching as it is comfortable. 

Don’t just visit Zanzibar—experience it in style at a boutique hotel that resonates with your travel aspirations!

Have you stayed in one of Stone Town’s boutique hotels? Share your experiences in the comments below or recommend other hidden gems that fellow travelers should not miss!

The information provided in this article was accurate at the time of publication. However, it's important to note that dates, times, fees, and other related details are subject to change without prior notice. We will always make every effort to update the information whenever possible.

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