We spent 3 nights at this hotel in September and it was everything I could have hoped. The uniqueness of the hotel and how it fitted into the local streetscape made it the type of place I really enjoy staying at. Each room has its own amazing theme and as soon as you enter you feel like you are in another world. Centrally located in Stone Town the staff are warm and welcoming. They organised a local guide for a tour of Stone Town and I really recommend this as it gives a wonderful overview of the history and helps you get your bearings (it is easy to get lost in Stone Town). We organised for the hotel to pick us up from the airport for USD20, and this was so worthwhile as you would never find on your own. We were in the Kate room but we saw into several rooms and they all looked wonderful. Perhaps the room at the very front, opposite the mosque might get a bit loud during the 5am call to prayer. Breakfast on the rooftop was a wonderful place to start the day and we enjoyed our dinners in the Secret Garden, and at the Tea House restaurant, however, the sister hotel Emerson on Hurumzi is even extra special - we did all 3 and recommend. If you love having a sensory overload, then come to Stown Town and stay at Emerson Spice.
Location is close to all the shopping, restaurants and the beach. The hotel itself seems to be a tourist attraction. We stayed in the room called Desdemona. Very spacious with interesting deco. The old and the new is blended very well. The 5 course dinner was absolutely amazing. You have to try it. Each course comes with 3 varieties for a total of 15 items. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Cars don't go all the way to the hotel. Be prepared to walk for 5 mins. The hotel does send people to help with bags. One downside is you hear the loud singing from 4 different mosques starting at 5.30am which wakes you up. Overall a good place to stay.
It did not disappoint. It has exceptional ambience, a deep personality and a sense of history. Clearly this was a labor of love. Zanzibar, and Stone Town in particular is clearly a place that is trying to rekindle and reclaim its place on the map of global destinations. It has some ways to go but it's history and some of it's gems like the Emerson Spice hotel, stand it in good stead.
Our two night stay in the Semele room was delightful. The ambience of the room with its gorgeous furnishings and lovely location was truly magnificent. We would definitely stay at Emerson Spice House again. We had dinner on the roof twice at the Tea House and it was delicious.
Emerson Spice was truly an island of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of Stonetown. The rooms are gorgeously decorated with vibrant colors and comfortable furnishings. The staff is extremely polite and accommodating. They provided helpful recommendations on what was worth seeing in the area, promptly made the appropriate arrangements, and even let us return to the hotel after checkout to shower, change, and use WiFi. We felt welcome and at home - though better than home.
Amazing hotel built in adjacent historic buildings in the center of Stone Town. Staying in Emerson Spice really feels like you have traveled back in time. Once you step out of your taxi (and walk a few blocks through the Kasbah) to the hotel, you are transferred back in time. As we experienced everywhere in Tanzania, hospitality was excellent with friendly helpful staff.The rooftop restaurant was beautiful and during Feb, it is important to get up into the breeze when staying in town. The menu is different each day and the food was excellently prepared and very tasty. We stayed in Aida, a large room with balconies on two sides, overlooking street and garden. For touring the city, the hotel can arrange a guide, which I would recommend to get a good overview of the historical aspects of Stone Town and Zanzibar.
Everything about Emerson is fabulous. We stayed for 3 nights and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again....actually I would love to! We stayed in Violetta which was beautiful! A large room, wonderful antique furniture, well equipped bathroom and a huge ‘L’ shaped balcony where we spent ages just watching Stone Town life beneath us! Breakfast is served on the roof top terrace which offers brilliant views of the town. We had dinner one night on the roof terrace and watched the sun go down which was spectacular! The secret garden restaurant is a must, a beautiful surprise at any time of the day but particularly magical at night! The food was all delicious! The staff are all friendly and helpful and would always greet us back with huge smiles. A stay at Emerson Spice is a truly unique experience and I would highly recommend it!
This hotel is amazing. Like stepping back in time. Right in the heart of Stone Town. A converted Swahili palace. Glorious wooden staircase running from bottom to top. The most beautiful authentic decor and craftsmanship mixed with fabulously quirky furnishings and artifacts. A real melting pot of design. Each room individually themed and styled. We stayed in 'Aida', a split level suite that paid homage to the opera of the same name. Nice touch to provide earplugs in case you prefer not to join the early call to prayer. The staff were polite and hospitable and really made us feel at home. Breakfast is served in the rooftop dining room which also serves dinner with amazing views and sunset over Stone Town out to the ocean. The Secret Garden restaurant on the ground floor is a magical hideaway for dinner with lush planting cascading over ruined walls and lamps strung over open air alcoves. We loved our stay at Emerson Spice. Its atmosphere and unmistakable charm will stay in our hearts for a long time.
Exotic and wonderful cultural immersion

When our travel agent inquired as to what kind of hotel we wanted to stay in the old Stone Town, we said authentic Zanzibar, and they immediately booked us into Emerson Spice Hotel, a restored mansion from the 1830's that reminds you of all the movies you watched about mystical and magical hotels that inspire great novels. This place is uniquely special, with rooftop dining( the best restaurant in town) a great central location away from the most touristy areas, with wonderful and attentive service. They arranged on a moment's notice for us to lunch as their sister hotel on the rooftop, and got us a walking tour guide to take us on a personal tour of the city . We loved it.
A wonderful experience
What a beautiful place to stay. We had the best time. Would highly recommend this hotel if you are planning on a visit to Stone Town. It’s centrally located.The staff are friendly and accommodating and the rooms are amazing. Like stepping into another word. We stayed in the Desdemona Room. High up on the top floor but well worth the climb. A great view of Stone Town below. Early morning call to prayer will probably wake you up but for me some hat just added to the excitement and I drifted back to sleep. Breakfast served on the roof terrace one flight above. We spent three nights there One of our dinners was booked on the roof terrace. It was a magical experience but we also really enjoyed the dinner we ate at the Secret Garden Restaurant situated on the ground floor. That also was very impressive. I would definitely recommend staying here and would love to return sometime. We booked a guide named Mohamed through the hotel. He was informative and a good way to get to know Stone Town and learn its history. One last thing, we really appreciated the free laundry service that was offered! Thank you Emerson Spice for giving us such a warm welcome and making our stay a very happy and memorable one.
I was staying in Stone Town, Zanzibar and looking for a quality restaurant when my hotel concierge recommended I tried Emerson Spice. I’m not a huge spice fan for spice sake as I have the opinion that, for me, it can mask the natural flavour of a dish. I decided to give it a try and finding my way through the twisting, quaint back streets of Stone Town I nearly gave up but, so glad I didn’t! The restaurant is 100 stairs, up on the rooftop in an authentic colonial style building, only small, around 20 covers so booking is essential. An idyllic and romantic setting with the Chefs cooking in location. It was a set menu, mainly seafood based with, Anchovies, Tuna, Lobster and King Fish featuring. Pretty normal you would say but, Emerson Spice does not derive its name for nothing. I have never experienced such subtle use of different spices complimenting every course and there’s 5 of them on the set menu which, changes I believe, daily. So I think I found a Gem in Stone Town and if you are there, especially a couple, do not leave without visiting. If you love your food not masked by spices but truly complemented by them this is for you. I found a Gem and share it with you.
we are friends, visited here for lunch, first of all had an amazing rooftop, i think this is one the highest rooftop restaurant in Stone town. the best and good service. we had the vegetarian lunch option and my friends took fish main course and the food was fantastic. the whole wooden rooftop and the whole building just amazing,
From the moment we stepped through the front door, it was an enchanting experience. The tour to the roof included tours of a suite on each level as we proceeded upward toward our destination. The view and ambiance, along with the warm welcome from all was outstanding. The "five course" delicacies we were served were the most delicious of our entire three-week vacation. Our hats are off to the wonderful chef, Edina. Do not visit Zanzibar without taking advantage of this experience. I highly recommend making your reservations in advance since seating on the roof is limited.
A beautiful sunset set the stage for a fantastic meal. The food was beautifully prepared, delicious, local and really fresh. The fish was excellent, the preparations really interesting, the drinks were lovely. Dark skies over Stonetown, sounds of prayer, cranes busy at the port, a delighted chef whom we talked with after our dinner. And all on the roof an Arabic/Victorian hotel that was fascinating.
An exquisite setting to be able to see the sunset in Stone Town plus hear the call to prayer from all around the area. The food was delicious and prepared for us using very fresh and local ingredients.
we had a fabulous 5 course meal here , can not fault any part of it . Loved the food and the views are amazing , great to hear the call to prayer and siren too ! All fish here but so tasty I booked it online and paid the deposit ( which is required ) in the morning . The staff are amazing and 1 walked us back through the labyrinth of streets to our hotel !
My son made a reservation for the five course dinner at The Emerson Spice and the experience was every bit as delightful as we could have hoped. The dining experience is carefully choreographed with drinks being served as the fifteen or so tables fill up and then the fixed menu is served, each course with a careful description provide. As the sun sets and the minarets call the faithful to prayer the atmosphere among the rooftops of Stonetown is truly wondrous. All the food was well presented and I thoroughly enjoyed three of the four savoury courses and the pudding. At US$40 per head the experience is good value for money.

Like eating in a movie set
This place, unlike many of Stone Town's more ubiquitous rooftop bars/restaurants, offers a setting unlike no other. Literally like a dream. Food is fab, have eaten there on several trips, grilled seafood platter is always amazing. The menu is relatively limited, but covers the meat, fish, veg options well among apps and entrees. Some interesting/creative drink selections too. Note - if it is dripping hot, they do have some fans that they will engage if you ask!

A hidden gem, Emerson 's Secret Garden
While the famous rooftop restaurant Emerson Spice usually is fully booked and has to be reserved well in advance, we were told to try the Secret Garden Restaurant on the ground floor of the same house. What a fantastic suggestion! This restaurant is amid a ruin, decorated with healthy plants and lit by romantic candle light. We had a most delicious dinner there twice, tried all the first courses on the rather limited menu and the seafood linguine as main course which were just super tasty. And: try the Spicy Gin Tonic with passion fruit and chilly – no, it's not too hot, just tingling!

Wonderful Seafood
Had a great late lunch here--grilled calamari and wonderful prawns. Plates come with delicious vegetables and sauces. Good wine choice. Waiters very helpful; tour of the rooms and rooftop restaurant a great calorie burner!

Great place!
As the name says... it's a secret oasis in the middle of the stone town!! They have a few options of main dishes but they are GREAT and super tasty. Very well done food, beautiful place, great drinks and supercool staff. A must go in stone town!