Kisiwa House is privately owned and operated. Built in 1840 by wealthy Omani merchant Nassor ibn Abdullah Al Barwani, today it’s a luxurious hotel with a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor! The accommodation is usually booked on a B&B basis, including parking and Wi-Fi. Guests aged 3–17 years incur a reduced rate when sleeping in a bed added to a suite or room, and youngsters aged under 2 years stay for free! Kisiwa House does not serve alcohol, but its central location makes it easy to pop out to a nearby bar or restaurant.


The hotel can be accessed via road transfer from Zanzibar’s international airport Abeid Amani Karume, a journey of just 20 minutes or so along Nyerere Road. Located in a peaceful alleyway, Kisiwa House is a tall and slightly imposing white-painted building. It has wooden shutters and an ornate arched front door with brass studding.


Guest accommodation consists of 11 rooms and suites in three categories – Burdani Deluxe Room, Malkia Junior Suite, and Sulaima Senior Suite. All are beautifully decorated in Swahili style, featuring warm wood furniture and crisp fabrics in a palette of blues, neutrals, and cream to white. The Burdani (Swahili for ‘Relaxation’) room is the smallest option, but it’s very comfortable and includes plenty of amenities – air conditioning, a satellite flatscreen television, a telephone, Wi-Fi access, a mini-bar, a tea-and-coffee station, a personal safe, a hairdryer, and complimentary toiletries. Its en-suite facilities comprise flush toilet, twin washbasins, and bathtub with shower over. Both the suite options benefit from all of these features in addition to a separate seating area. The Malkia (‘Queen’) has a separate shower and freestanding bath, while the Sulaima, named after the Al Barwani family matriarch, is super-spacious and with a touch of romance that makes it ideal for honeymooners or couples looking for something special.

Kisiwa House’s communal spaces start with the property’s impressive reception area, which has high ceilings and includes a few well-cushioned chairs and tables amidst a few Zanzibari artefacts and plenty of plants. From here you can walk through to the delightful Courtyard Lounge and adjoining garden, designed to be a place of blissful tranquillity. Traditional Taarab music fills the air, and friendly staff members are on hand to offer spiced tea, freshly brewed coffee, and a selection of pastries. Kisiwa’s restaurant, Darini, is situated on the house’s roof, boasting breathtaking views over Stone Town to the Indian Ocean! Here you can indulge in delicious local and continental dishes, all the while enjoying the relaxed ambience created by amber lighting and spicy scents.


Kisiwa’s reception staff are happy to help you make the most of your time on Zanzibar, offering recommendations and booking you on to a range of excursions and tours.

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