Zanzibar – Stone Town
A magnificent property nestled in one of the tallest buildings in the heart of Stone Town. Get transported back through time and live like an Arabian princess.
An integral part of the skyline of Zanzibar, along with mosque minarets, Hindu temple towers, and church spires, is the Tower Top restaurant of 236 Hurumzi, formerly known as Emerson & Green Hotel. The second tallest building in Stone Town Zanzibar, the hotel has been restored to its former glory when it was the residence of one of the richest men in the Swahili Empire.
Atmosphere is of principal import as the furnishings are all original Zanzibar antiques of varied origins and styles that, together, create the impressions of Arabian Nights and sultan princesses escaping in the dead of the night for romance.
The ten guestrooms are beautiful and romantic, each representing Zanzibar traditions in a distinct way. All rooms except for the Kipembe room are equipped with large stone bathtubs providing unusual bathing pleasure where a bubble bath and a bottle of wine are a frequent request. Ceiling fans keep guests cool along with the constant breeze on the upper floors.
Second and first floor rooms as well as the South room are equipped with air conditioning for added comfort. The sultan-sized rooms on the first and second floors have 20 foot ceilings, carved doors, original stucco décor and hand painted glass lamps and window panes. All guest rooms have large Zanzibar beds complete with netting.
The Tower Top Restaurant, a common stop for newlyweds and marriage proposers alike, is undoubtedly one of the most romantic restaurants in the world. Featuring a panoramic view of Stone Town and a spectacular view of the Indian Ocean, it is the perfect to watch the sun set. Eighty feet above the Stone Town and sitting on Persian carpets, more than one guest has told us that dinner here feels like a ride on a magic carpet.
The dining room is open on all sides and guests sit Arabian-style on pillows and carpets, their shoes having been left at the door, while their dinner is served in five or more courses and accompanied by the sites and sounds of exotic Zanzibar.
Environment and local community
Folklore and local memory tell that the Hurumzi House was built and lived in by a man named Tharia Thopan, often called the Bismarck of the Swahili Empire. Due to his close ties to the Sultan of the time, Thopan was permitted to build his house as the second highest in Stone Town; second only to the Sultan’s own ceremonial palace, The House of Wonders.
Further stories say that in the 1880’s this building was where British authorities paid Arab slave owners to free their slaves. It is said that the name Hurumzi comes from “Huru – MUUZE”, meaning “let them free”. Still not verified by the complex maze of Zanzibar archive records, these stories add to the mystery of this impressive building on Hurumzi Street.
236 Hurumzi, formerly Emerson & Green, has enjoyed the top spot in Stone Town for many years and is still highly featured in many of the older guide books. Modern Stone Town now has a wide range of great places to stay in all different shapes, sizes and styles.
We think that 236 Hurumzi is great option for those looking for a traditional style of Stone Town property in a historical building.
Zanzibar – Stone Town
A delightful property well located to explore Stone Town. All rooms are furnished with antiques and are all slightly different from each other.
The Beyt Al Chai is located in the centre of historic Stone Town. As it only has 6 rooms you can be sure to get some of the best personal service on offer in the city.
All of the six rooms are magnificently furnished in rich silks and antique furniture. All rooms have an en-suite and are fully air-conditioned. It is like stepping back in time to the days of the Sultans.
Facilities here are comfortable and well furnished. The lounge area offers the perfect place for those wishing to relax and write postcards or maybe read a book whilst listening to gentle music and enjoying a cool drink.
The Beyt Al Chai is perfectly located for exploring Stone Town’s shops and markets. Tours can be arranged in advance or direct with the hotel.
Zanzi Planet Reviews
The Beyt Al Chai truly is a gem. Only having the few rooms allows it to achieve a high level of personal service and attention to detail. This coupled with antique furniture in all of the luxury rooms makes it an excellent option for all.