No one will mistake the Abuso Inn for the Tembo (a luxury hotel nearby), but it's 80% as nice for under half the price.
The rooms were very nice, well furnished and very well kept for a descent price. Its an excellent Stone Town Location being right in the centre of the Town.
But above all what made this hotel better than the rest was the exceptional service and friendliness of all the staff.
It's a family-run establishment, and everyone is very accommodating and pleasant.
I negotiated a lower rate for my two rooms, and there was a bit of miscommunication about this at check-out time, but the owner (Hamid) was quite pleasant about it and we reached a very reasonable understanding.
My wife asked the front desk where to get a Coca-Cola and they had them in stock for quite cheap (even by Tanzanian standards).
On one occasion, all they had on hand was warm Coke, so Hamid sent
his daughter out to a local shop to pick one up for her. That's the kind of
friendliness and service you can expect at Abuso.
Breakfast is unspectacular and basic, but quite nice -- eggs, instant coffee (almost everyone in Zanzibar serves instant coffee, don't hold it against them), tea, bread (loaf bread and chappati), excellent fresh fruit and juice. Breakfast is served on the roof of the hotel from 7-9 am and the view is very pleasant.
People don't go to Zanzibar to hang out in a great hotel -- they go for the beach, the sightseeing and the local culture.
course you want a pleasant place to return to when you are done with the day,
and the Abuso gives you that and more, without being an overpriced tourist
Four stars, just because my standard for "five stars" is a bit higher than this -- but for "value" definitely five-stars-plus!