In the heart of Stone Town is a beautifully restored hotel that once was the home of one of the richest men in the Swahili Empire – Mr ThariaTopan who served as the principal financial advisor to Sultan Bargash.
The entrance to Keep Suite follows the time – honoured routes of the Middle Ages as you traverse bridges and stairs to reach the suite. The keep at Durham castle has been described as ‘arising from the “tumulus of rising earth reaching “into thin air, strong within and without”, a “stalwart house…glittering with beauty in every part”.
The Keep Suite is actually four distinct sections: the bedroom, the verandah parlor, the verandah garden, and a private Teahouse “the castle keep itself”.
The bedroom features a gigantic bed in a cocoon of netting and with a fan directly above the bed. Carved lattice windows open to a rooftop city view while air conditioning makes for a comfortable cool haven from the Zanzibar heat. From the verandah garden up a teakwood staircase lies the castle keep itself, perfect for sunset cocktails or breakfast. The view from the stairs and skywalk leading to the castle keep are much like standing on the prow of a proud ocean liner above the city. We must emphasize that while most guests adore this room, if you suffer a fear of heights, this room is NOT for you,
Stone Town, the real Zanzibar
Located on the Northwest corner of the Hurumzi Square wing this suite has a commanding view both from its balcony windows and from its own private tower top retreat. The antique furnishings including a romantic brass bed under voluminous netting offer the real feel of Zanzibar in the grand style of the Victorian era when Zanzibar was a hub of trade for all East Africa. Air conditioning and a ceiling fan provide the comfort needed for the hot Zanzibar days and a cool breeze while taking in the panorama from your own tower top will be the highlight of your stay in Zanzibar. A large stone bath and bath facilities are tucked away in one corner near and under the substantial teakwood stairs to your tower top retreat. From high upon the rooftops guests can take in breathtaking sunsets over the historical Stone Town.
Flavors of Zanzibar
The literal meaning of the word Zenana is “of the women” or “pertaining to women”. The Zenana are the inner apartments of a house in which the women of the family lived and was off-limits to men who were not members of the family. The room was designed to replicate paradise -ihis therefore is the theme of the Zenana room. The Russian influence came from the idea to use the paintings of Russian artist Lev Basky which depict the glorious freedom of woman as opposed to the oppressed and incarcerated existences of women in the harem. The Russian influence lead the selection of more sumptious textiles for the sitting room – velvets, and warm colours whilst the chiffon curtains in the bedroom refer to the Arab theme of 1001 Nights. Zenana is composed of a spacious bedroom connected to a lounge with daybed and balcony facing the alleyway.
Seyyed’s main theme is the regal grandeur of the room and reflects the stately nature afforded to the Sultans. In keeping with this theme the Sultans’ royal seal is used as a decoration on the bedcover and also on a chair and the colours of Omani red accompanied with gold underline these qualities.
Rose is a large twin room on the second floor. The room looks out over a lively Stonetown square. The room consists of two interconnected rooms. One is furnished with a queen size double bed and has a lounge area. The other room is furnished with a second single bed that is suitable for a child or can be used as a daybed. A desk in the room makes it possible to use the room also when on a business trip. The room has one bathroom that is accessed via the room with the single bed. The Rose room is interconnecting with Blue to create a big family room for a maximum of six.
Blue, on the second floor, is a double room. A wooden carved panel divides the bedroom and lounge area. The room is overlooking a lively Stonetown square. The room is furnished with antiques, with a beautiful Zanzibar bed. The bathroom with bath is separated from the room by a wooden carved door. The writing desk makes the room ideal when visiting Zanzibar for business, close to the breakfast room on the second floor of the building. The lounge is big enough to add a baby cot, and the room is interconnecting with Rose and can together create a big family room for six.
With the entire north side of this room facing the Indian Ocean with only a lattice wall to protect, the imagination is transported to the distant horizon: other lands, other shores and other people. This and the view of the dhows, either moored and gently bobbing on the tides or gliding elegantly out towards the horizon evoking memories of trade and adventure , inspires the major influence in this room’s design and colour scheme.
The ‘blues’ are inspired by the iridescent colours of the ocean and the furnishings are in part derived from a nautical theme originating from both the English ships which patrolled the Indian Ocean coast in the late C19th and the indigenous Arab dhows.
A heavy wooden basin counter (made from wood recovered from the harbour) reflects the material of the traditional dhow. The furniture selected for this room gives the ambience inside an old trading ship as do the old brass and copper ships lamps which add to the nautical feel of the room.
An Evening Breeze air conditioner keeps your bed cool at night and the shower is open to the sky.
The eastern gate, all fiery red, Opening on Neptune, with fair blessed beams, Turns into yellow gold his salt-green streams A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare
East room is inspired by the colours of a soft golden dawn along with the art and design of the great Mughal Court.
The room’s walls are a pale golden yellow whilst red walls serve as a backdrop for the bathroom and toilet with roses and Mughal miniatures as decoration being sought.
This room has a spectacular afternoon light and the whole East facing Wall open to the terrace, which makes it breezy and cool. An Evening Breeze air conditioner keeps your bed cool at night.
Jungle is the theme of the West room. A mural of flowing vines and bright flowers covers two of the walls and the other two walls are semi-open with wooden panels and doors to the veranda overlooking the sea and Stonetown. A beautifully painted ceramic bowl is used as the wash basin. A heavy wood counter supported but a large tree trunk to complete the out in the jungle feeling. Lots of plants on the terrace and climbing on the lattice above will tie the jungle-y feel of the room to the outside.