Steeped in history, with a marble staircase over 100 years old, The Africa House Hotel was originally built by a slave trader, Ibn Ismail, who then donated it to the royal family. During the colonial era it became the town’s English Club, and still very much retains this historical ambiance. Indeed, in some ways staying here makes you feel that you have returned to the Edwardian era.
Now beautifully restored and renovated, its 15 rooms all have air-conditioning, satellite TV and all the other room facilities that you would expect from a top-level hotel. The furnishings are quite opulent, with carpets from Persia, marble from Italy, lamps from Morocco and silk and velvet from China. The four-poster beds, however, are firmly Zanzibari in tradition.
The hotel possesses two bars – with the most famous being the Sunset Bar, with its view over the sea, the ideal place to enjoy a leisurely sundowner. Here you will encounter an eclectic mixture of fellow guests, other travellers and local residents. More restricted to actual guests is the hotel’s fine Tradewinds restaurant, which, again, overlooks the sea.
Its recently opened, and traditionally furnished, Lounge - The Majlis - complete the list of facilities available.
Stone Town - the island's capital - contains a rich history of Arab influences, the slave trade, and so on, well repaying the time spent on exploration here.
Apart from its historical connotations, Prison Island is home to a Giant Tortoise sanctuary, in addition to providing snorkelling and so on.