A long time ago while working in Germany (where I was born), I sold many African adventures with an extension to Zanzibar. Selling adventures was part of my work but it never occured to me, at that time, that Zanzibar would be a destination for me. Having since moved to the U.S., that island has been calling my name like a magical spell.
Finally, after over 30 years in the business and after having visited a good amount of African countries, an offer to see Kenya and Tanzania was presented….along with an extension to the island of Zanzibar.
The old town area of Stone Town became acknowledged by Unesco in the 40s and was protected as a conservation area. Values, boundaries and features have been further protected by the Stone Town Conservation and Development Act of 1994. The unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements with amazing signature hardwood doors, Arab buildings, stone structures, and tiny, shabby pedestrian streets is partly why this town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Old Town is tiny and one does not require a car to get around…but sturdy shoes are a must as roads are old and not kept up. Most areas are pedestrian only, making it easier to stumbleupon street vendors, tiny shops, card game playing men on the streets, and more.
It is a lively, active city offering a safe way to discover museums and hidden streets, see the palace and old fort, and explore the market and the old dispensary. The biggest surprise for my husband while we explored was seeing the birth house of Freddy Mercury (aka Farrokh Bulsara)…of course, me being a fan of his, I knew this was something to see while visiting.
During my visit, we wanted to stay local and off the beaten path. Our research tempted us with old buildings, prior princess homes, a place where a sultan had his harem, a merchants home and more. We eventually found Seyyida, a place that promised clean, spacious rooms, with views over the bay, a rooftop restaurant and most importantly a spa (which is what we knew our muscles wanted after our Safari experiences).
The Seyyida offered a variety of room types and we decided on a Deluxe Standard. We could have chosen one with a balcony but they all face to the street and I wanted a quiet room.
It turns out that the town is quiet and that we didn’t need to worry about street noise :)
The room was perfect for us. It was decorated mostly in an Arabian style but, since the owner is an expat from Italy, there were also visible hints of Italian style too. The staff was friendly, courteous and welcomed us with a warm smile.
A stay at this lovely place comes with an outstanding breakfast with a view.
If you want an quirky, quaint, home-feel with a view while in Zanzibar, this is the place to go.