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Just behind the House of Wonders in the heart of Stone Town, 236 Hurumzi is one of Zanzibar’s best-known and highly rated hotels. Originally it was owned and decorated in eclectic style by a Mr Emerson, who has now sold it and is building a new hotel, ‘Emerson Spice’, elsewhere on the island. Now named after Hurumzi Street, upon which it stands, the hotel occupies 2 restored buildings dating from 1840-70, and gorgeously decorated with antique Zanzibari furniture and carpets.
Each room is magically different, but each, very deliberately, is without phone, TV or fridge. Some have AC, others natural cooling, shutters, shades, deep balconies and a sea breeze. The hotel’s ‘Tower Top Restaurant’, the second-highest building in Zanzibar Town, has fine views.
The 236 Hurumzi is located on Zanzibar, the ‘spice island’, which is part of Tanzania, and is one of East Africa’s most famous Indian Ocean beach resort destinations. The hotel stands in Stone Town, Zanzibar’s main city, which is also an ancient Swahili settlement and East Africa cultural centre. The hotel is a short drive from the numerous beach resort options of the east coast.
236 Hurumzi offers a unique selection of individually themed rooms, all of which are located within a superbly restored historic Stone Town house. 236 Hurumzi is a showcase for antique Zanzibar furniture and fittings, original stucco decor, ornate carved doors and stone baths. Each room is different, but each, very deliberately, is without phone, TV or fridge. Some have AC, others natural cooling, shutters, shades, deep balconies and a sea breeze. All rooms have a bottle of water and fresh jasmine flowers are scattered on the pillows at bedtime. 2006 saw the opening of a new block of 6 rooms, following the same individual styles as the original ones but larger and slightly more expensive. There is also an apartment next door at 240 Hurumzi where the 6 bedrooms are let out individually and offer excellent value.
Dining and bars
The highlight here is the spectacular open-sided rooftop restaurant ‘Tower Top’, which is the rooftop of the original house and a traditional Zanzibar gathering place. The restaurant is styled to recall the old days of the Omani sultans and features floor cushions and fluttering silks. The 236 Hurumzi menu will typically include a wide selection of East Africa, Tanzania and Swahili dishes as well as numerous international choices.
Conference and event facilities
The hotel does not offer specific conference facilities but will be happy to quote for small meetings and social gatherings. Tanzania incentives can also be arranged in Stone Town or the surrounding Tanzania beach resort venues.
Weddings and honeymoons
This hotel makes an ideal Tanzania wedding destination. The hotel also offers a honeymoon suite, while all the attractions of a romantic beach resort lie just a short drive away.
The hotel welcomes children and will be pleased to supply additional beds.
The activities on offer at Zanzibar’s Indian Ocean beach resort choices include Indian Ocean water sports (swimming, snorkelling, sea kayaking, diving, kite-surfing, wind-surfing, sailing and more), and dhow trips (out of Stone Town and the Eastern Indian Ocean beach resort destinations). The hotel can also arrange cultural visits to fishing villages, dhow workshops and Tanzania artisans markets.
Cultural activities around Stone Town and the beach
The heart of Zanzibar, Stone Town is the only functioning historical city in East Africa and is much the same today as it was 200 years ago. A city within a city, Stone Town is the oldest section of Zanzibar Town, and is made up of winding lanes and unique stone houses, many of which feature magnificent carved doors and overhanging fretwork balconies. Places of cultural interest in Stone Town and around include: the Portuguese Fort, Sultan’s Palace, old Dhow Port, Old Slave Market, Zanzibar House of Wonders, Stone Town Old Dispensary, Livingstone’s House, slave caves/slave market, The Hamamni Bath, The National Museum of Zanzibar, The Chukwani Palace, Jozani Forest (the last sanctuary of the red colobus monkey in East Africa), Mtoni Palace and Maruhubi Palace ruins, and the Persian Baths of Kidichi.
The Spice Tour
236 Hurumzi offers access to the Spice Tour, a tour of the spice-growing fields and orchards of East Africa’s most famous spice exporter, which lie just outside Stone Town. Typically lasting half a day, the tours usually end up with shopping for spices and oils, or a visit to the slave caves and beach resort options.
Jozani Forest Tour
The Jozani Forest Reserve is the last sanctuary in the world for the rare red colobus monkey, which is endemic to this East African island. 35 kms from Stone Town, the reserve is also home to other key East Africa species including Syke's monkey's, bush pigs and nocturnal Zanzibar leopards. Jozani has an excellent nature trail and the guides are well trained and informative.