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The sixteen guestrooms are beautiful and romantic, each representing Zanzibari 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 our 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 Zanzibari beds complete with netting.


If you’re an incurable romantic and fancy being swept up in the drama and mysticism of an Arabian Nights fantasy, Hurumzi (ex-Emerson and Green) is the place. This beautifully restored guesthouse in the heart of Stone Town was once the home of Sir Tharia Topan, one of the richest men in the Swahili Empire. It’s now a place to dream of a long-gone era and bask in the opulence it inspired.

Imagine waking to the fragrance of jasmine in a bedroom featuring Zanzibari antiques, hand-painted glass lamps and windows, oriental rugs, chandeliers and billowing mosquito nets draped over four-poster beds. Waft over to your balcony to see the early morning sun light up the rooftops of Stone Town as the muezzin calls from the mosque’s minaret. Picture yourself bathing outdoors in an enormous, sunken stone bath shielded from the world by a lattice-enclosed veranda. Then step out into the hustle and bustle of Stone Town and spend the day exploring the maze of alleyways in this ancient town with its open-air markets, old palaces and intricately carved doorways.

Make sure you return to Hurumzi before sunset to climb the stairs to the roof (it’s the second-highest building in Stone Town) where you’ll find the Tower Top Restaurant. Toss off your shoes at the door and sit Arabian-style on giant pillows laid upon the Persian-carpeted floor. Watch the sun dribble gold into the Indian Ocean as robed waiters bring a five-course meal to your knee-high table or chose conventional seating. With the rooftops, mosque minarets, temple towers and church spires below, you really do feel on top of the world!

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Hotel Rooms

There are 24 rooms in three three-storey buildings accessed via a winding stairwells (no lifts here in old Zanzibar). Each room differs in size, layout and special features. The top rooms offer the best views. All rooms have AC except for North East and West rooms that have ceiling fans only. Certain rooms (especially Ball Room, East Room and Crystal) are more spacious than others (such as Kipembe). South Room and North Room boast open-air stone baths with lattice-enclosed verandas.

Special touches include fresh flowers, jasmine flowers on your pillow at bedtime and bottled water. All rooms are en-suite, but don’t expect the luxuries of television, telephone or mini-bar. Some rooms don’t even have wardrobes. Hair dryers are not provided in the rooms but all have individual rooms safes and telephones. A computer in reception is dedicated to free guest internet service.

Bring earplugs if you’re a light sleeper as the centre of town can be noisy at night or early mornings when the mosques call to prayer and the Indian temple chimes together with the Christian church bells. To many people this is part and parcel of the thrill of Stone Town.

Dinner at Emerson on Hurumzi

Dinner at the Tower Top Restaurant (read the introduction) is extremely popular, so pre-booking is essential. A small buffet breakfast is served in the mornings as well as lunch in the Tower Top from 11;00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. with an a la carte menu including a wide range of choices.

Fact Sheet


Centrally situated in the Hurumzi district of Stone Town, close to Forodhani Gardens, the Palace Museum and the House of Wonders. The airport is a 10-minute drive away. If you arrive by boat it’s a 10-minute walk.

General facilities

• One restaurant (pre-booking dinner for the Tower Top is essential)

• Novel Idea Bookshop and Painter Hassan Kadudu studio

• Unfortunately, all access to rooms is via a steep stairwell, so 236 Hurumzi is not suitable for those in a wheelchair or mobility impaired

Room facilities

• All the rooms have ceiling fans, and all rooms except East, North, and West rooms are fitted with air conditioning

• Large, stone bathtubs with telephone showers

• Mosquito netting over beds.

• Room safes

• telephones linked to reception switchboard


• Stone Town’s cafés, restaurants, markets and tourist spots are all within walking distance.


• Limited laundry service

• Phone, fax and Internet at reception only

• Childcare and cots are available if booked well in advance.


• Six of the rooms have extra beds and children under six stay for free when sharing with their parents.

• Cons: Occasional electricity cuts with sufficient, but not automatic generator service. Lots of stairs.

• Pros: Can’t beat the atmosphere of the décor.

• Open: Closed in May

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