We spent a week in Zanzibar, of which, we spent two days in Stone Town. If you are in Zanzibar only for a couple of days, we would suggest that you base yourself in Stone Town. The UNESCO world heritage site is the ideal location to do a few day trips like the spice tour and Prison Island, as well as to enjoy the sun and the same. Stone Town provides excellent opportunities to mingle with the locals, experience the local culture and sample some authentic Zanzibari cuisine. It lets you peep into the island’s past as a spice and slave trading hub. Trust me, the more you learn about the dark slave trading history, the more respect you will have for the entire African continent.
Stone Town is dotted with every range of accommodation – luxury five star chains, cosy boutique hotels and tiny bed and breakfasts. Our hotel of choice was Maru Maru, a well located boutique hotel with architecture that clearly reflects influences of the Arabic style.
The hotel has traditional Zanzibari doors and some really impressive and interesting furniture in the lobby. Read on for a detailed review of the hotel…
After having travelled a fair bit, Ankur and I have come to the consensus that we will never compromise on the location of our hotel. Maru Maru is located within the walls of the Stone Town, adjacent to the renowned House of Wonders. The local market is around the hotel and is an ideal place to pick up souvenirs and watch people go by.
The Forodhani Gardens that flank the sea and turn into a lively food market every night, are less than 100 meters away from Maru Maru.
Maru Maru possibly has the best location to watch the sun go down, with the buildings of Stone Town in the foreground. If you do intend to enjoy the sunset here, suggest that you get a table early. All the good ones get taken soon as the hotel’s location is no secret!
Our room was nice and cozy. The furniture was of solid wood with colourful motifs. The bright blues and greens made the room come to life.
It was perfect for the two of us and we slept well. The linen and the bathroom were spotlessly clean; full marks for cleanliness. While our room did not have a view, we made up for it by spending a lot of time on the terrace.
I also enjoyed looking at the fountain from the passage in front of my room… it made the whole place look so exotic! Now I am keen on going to Morocco and staying in a riyad!
The hotel can also help you book various day trips at economic prices. The rate card is available at the reception, which will help you plan you days in Stone Town.
Fancy an in room massage to relax your body after having walked around Stone Town? Book a massage at Maru Maru a few hours prior to truly unwind and recharge yourself for the next day.
Or maybe, you want to get something more authentic and Zanzibari like a henna tattoo or braids. Maru Maru had a solution to let you really experience the island, at very reasonable prices.
We were in Maru Maru on the last two days of our one week long trip. We were missing Indian food. I was craving some spicy biryani and Ankur wanted some piping hot samosas. The chef at Maru Maru knew exactly what to make to let our taste buds party. The biryani was delicious and so was the paneer curry…the flat breads were delightful! Breakfast was served at the terrace restaurant and had a spread that was a mix of continental items and Indian breakfast items. I even got to eat poha for breakfast one morning that was such a delight!
The bar was great and churned out some great concoctions to match the colour of the sunset. The sundowners at Maru Maru were much more fun with the live music during the evening. Even if you aren’t staying at Maru Maru, we would recommend am evening at their roof top restaurant, especially on the day that they have live music.
For the in between cravings, Maru Maru has a small pastry shop on the ground floor. We tried the passion fruit cup cakes and loved them.
Service levels in Zanzibar are high, and Maru Maru is no exception. Check in and check out we’re smooth and we were provided our WiFi vouchers when we arrived. We were especially happy with the service levels at the bar. However, we do believe that there is scope of improvement for the service at the restaurant.
Our recommendation would be to book your self a room at Maru Maru for a couple of days and soak in the magic of Stone Town!
Many thanks to Maru Maru Hotel for hosting us. Our views continue to be our own and we continue to rave and rant about things that pop into our mind!