236 Hurumzi, located in the heart of Stone Town, rises above standard accommodation by providing elegant, traditionally furnished, airy rooms and a Tower Top Restaurant with views of mosque minarets, Hindu temple towers, and church spires. 236 Hurumzi is the second tallest building in Stone Town, Zanzibar. The hotel has been restored to its former glory when it was the residence of one of the richest men in the Swahili Empire. Atmosphere is of principal importance as the furnishings are all original Zanzibari antiques of varied origins and styles that, together, create the impressions of Arabian Nights and sultan princesses escaping in the dead of the night for romance.

Folklore and local memory tell that the Hurumzi House was built and lived in by a man named Tharia Thopan, often called the Bismarck of the Swahili Empire. Due to his close ties to the Sultan of the time, Thopan was permitted to build his house as the second tallest in Stone Town; second only to the Sultan’s own ceremonial palace, The House of Wonders.

Further stories say that in the 1880’s this building was where British authorities paid Arab slave owners to free their slaves. It is said that the name Hurumzi comes from “Huru – MUUZE”, meaning “let them free”. Still not verified by the complex maze of Zanzibar archive records, these stories add to the mystery of this impressive building on Hurumzi Street.

The building has survived yearly monsoons, numerous inhabitants and various governments. After the revolution in 1964, Zanzibar engaged in an experiment with socialism along with Tanganyika, what is now known as mainland Tanzania. Regretfully, this caused the grave neglect of Stone Town and its treasury of heritage buildings including the Hurumzi house.

In the 1980’s Zanzibar was re-opened to international investors. Starting in 1991 investors Thomas Green and later Emerson Skeens were able to convince the local authorities to lease them the site in order to restore it to its former glory in the manner of a hotel. The main restoration began in 1994 and continues today in the way of minor revisions and maintenance. The hotel then took on the name Emerson Green. Splendid rooms are available for guests to enjoy along with the delicious dinners served in the well-known Tower Top Restaurant, while the Kidude Café Restaurant, located on the ground floor, offers excellent lunch and dinner menus in Arabian style and air-conditioned comfort.

All rooms receive fresh flowers, bottled water, and fresh jasmine flowers on the pillows at bedtime.

Peace and Love Wing: The new western wing addition to 236 Hurumzi is named the “Peace of Love” wing in honor of the small lively square that it overlooks. This wing features the most original and luxurious suites that the hotel has to offer. Most rooms boast balconies, or verandahs all with spectacular views of Stone Town, the Indian Ocean and on clear days the coast of continental Africa.

Residence Hotel 240 Hurumzi: There are six guest rooms in the newly restored building located at 240 Hurumzi, that adjoins 236 Hurumzi. All six rooms are elegantly furnished with Zanzibar beds and antique furnishings. These rooms are located off spacious corridors on the two top floors. Each floor has access to its own fully equipped shared kitchen. Guests may opt for varied formulas of daily, weekly, or monthly occupancy and also may opt out of breakfast service on a room only basis. Each room has its own particular charm and each room is named for an important figure in the history of Zanzibar.

List of Rooms

236 Hurumzi
Main House Rooms
Peace of Love
Wing Rooms
240 Hurumzi
Residence Hotel
North Room Suite Tour Bargash Room
South Room Suite Pavillion Livingstone Room
East Room Blue Room Salme Room
West Room Keep Suite Siti Room
Ballroom Suite Suite Rose Tipu Tip Room
Gallery Room Suite Sultan Topan Room
Lavender Room Seyyed
Crystal Room Green Room
Zenana Room Amber Room
Kipembe Room

Tower Top Restaurant
236 Hurumzi, being the second tallest building in Stone Town offers a view from the Tower Top Restaurant which lies high among the minarets, temple towers, church spires, and there is a beautiful view of the stars at night. It is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary eating venues in the world. Located on the roof of the building, it makes guests feel as if they’re on top of the world as they sip exotic drinks and watch the sun disappear into the Indian Ocean. The Muslim call to prayer accents the eastern setting of Arab-style pillows and small tables and the Hindu Temple chimes remind visitors that they are far away from home.

A typical menu meal consists of appetizers of local vegetables, seafood, small canapés, soup or salad, a main course of fish or chicken with vegetables and spice scented rice and, finally, dessert with tea or coffee and after dinner drinks. Vegetarians can easily be accommodated, with prior notice to the chef.

All rooms include a small buffet breakfast served in the Tower Top Restaurant from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Check In/ Check Out
Check in times are flexible and check out time is 11:00 a.m.