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Emerson Spice Hotel

Emerson Spice Hotel

Effervescent adjectives from former guests cannot adequately describe a stay at this extraordinary hotel in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Known for its ambiance, elegance, charm, and location, you can book the hotel for a fraction of the going rate because only six of the planned twelve rooms are currently completed. The renovation is continuing under the careful direction of owner Emerson Skeens, co-founder of one of Stone Town’s earliest boutique hotels, inspiring many others to follow suit. The Emerson Spice Hotel is his latest design project and has already hosted some world-famous celebrities.

The original wing of the building dates to the late 1800’s, and Indian and Swahili-Arab influences combine with Art Deco style to produce a classic hotel with loads of character. Rooms are inspired by some of Emerson’s most adored films and artists. His current favorite room is Camille, reminiscent of Dumas’ La Dame aux Camelias starring Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor. Spacious high-ceilinged rooms, romantically draped beds, and excellent service welcome guest to Zanzibar’s most exciting city.

At the romantic teahouse atop the Emerson Spice Hotel, enjoy the breathtaking 360-degree view of the town, complete with cathedral, Hindu temple, and mosque. Elegantly-carved wooden trellises and hanging lanterns welcome diners Zanzibari-style, and the food lives up to its reputation as the best in Stone Town. A fixed-price six-course dinner menu creatively blends fresh, flavorful combinations of Zanzibari seafood, traditional spices, and fruit. A sample of mouthwatering favorites includes passion fruit ceviche, lemongrass calamari with black pepper banana, tambi prawns with grilled mango, coconut fish, squid ink risotto, and sorbets of custard apple with saffron and mango with cardamom.

Always a helpful presence at the hotel, Emerson Skeens is a wealth of information about things to do in Stone Town, especially for history and culture aficionados. Numerous tours are available to visitors of the bustling town of Zanzibar, and staff members are glad to assist in recommendations and booking. Whether choosing to take the Kizimkazi Tour of a mosque, one of the earliest colonial settlements in East Africa, or tracing the Zanzibari spice trade on the “Grave Island & Slaves and Spices Tour,” guests are sure to learn something new. Other popular adventures include a trip to the Mkokotoni village of Tumbatu, a Prison Island Tour, a Jozani Forest Tour (featuring the red colobus monkeys), and walking tours of Stone Town.

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