Stone Town, Zanzibar (MaDeRe). Friendly people, wonderful beaches, a rich history – there are many reasons to visit Zanzibar. Because of its perfect location along the trade routes in the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar has been a stronghold for many countries. Ivory, slaves and spices were transshipped here. Arab and Indians merchants used the island as a stopover.
Stone Town, Zanzibar’s historical capital, is an exciting mix of mosques, churches and temples, colonial buildings and British merchant houses, an Omani fort and carved wooden doors. The narrow streets are bustling with life, offering colorful markets, delicious food, diverse shopping. In 2000, the Unesco designated Stone Town a World Heritage Site for its unique fusion of African, Arab and Indian cultures.
Around twenty years ago, with investments of the Aga Khan, Stone Town has grown into a modern destination. The Aga Khan redeveloped the old beachfront. As night falls, people gather here at the cookshops for grilled fish, partying into the evening.
The Zanzibar Serena Hotel
The Aga Khan also converted the old building of the post office and telephone company into a vintage luxury hotel: the five-star Zanzibar Serena Hotel which is member of the Small Luxury Hotels group. The Serena Hotel is situated on the waterfront, directly at the tip of the Stone Town peninsula. Extremely rare for Stone Town is the large swimming pool.
The building retains historic features. The décor is a mix of Swahili, Arab and colonial styles: open spiral staircases, polished stone floors, fretwork screens. The 51 rooms are decorated in Swahili style with carved beds and woven rugs. The surrounding gardens have retained the original look, as well. Even the friendly staff look like they have stepped out of another era; with their traditional white robes and embroidered caps.
The research was supported by Serena Hotels.