Mashariki Palace Hotel in Zanzibar is absolutely breathtaking and has service that is top-notch in Zanzibar and all of Tanzania as a matter of fact.
The staff treated us like royalty and performed extra touches throughout our stay.
For example, the night manager came to introduce himself in the evening while we were having dinner,
and the morning manager met us for breakfast to assist us with something we had mentioned to the night manager about (without asking for help).
They were more than accommodating with our requests and had the utmost in professionalism.
The hotel itself is immaculately restored and simply cannot be described well enough - it must be seen. As someone had mentioned earlier on this listing - even if you don't think you can afford it, think long and hard about passing this place up. In my opinion, it was worth every penny and simply is a jewel.
I'd prefer the prices to be about 20% lower given the amenities on offer, the
staff was so warm and the place so magical that by the end of the stay, this
became my favorite hotel in Stone Town.
The amazing restoration creates a "1001 nights" atmosphere which is magical. The hallways and semi-hidden alcoves with period benches and tables were deliciously atmospheric.
The entire staff were extremely helpful and friendly. Peter (the manager) helped me find an amazing hotel in Nungwi and even negotiated a discount for me.
Farooq (I hope I'm getting his name right - the assistant manager) drove me on the back of his motorcycle to get some medicine from a pharmacy after-hours when I got sick and even upgraded my room preemptively since it was low season.
A guy at the front desk offered to mail my postcards for me.
Time and again the delightful staff went out of their way to help me and make me feel welcome. I actually stayed one night at the Zanzibar Serena as well, and while this is almost certainly the best hotel in Stone Town by conventional measures, it lacked the magic and warmth of Mashariki Palace.
Mashariki Palace is right in the center of Stone Town. Right next to the House of Wonders and the lovely Forodhani Gardens and right off one of the main thoroughfares of Stone Town. Serena is a little more isolated in the Southern part of town (where more of the tourist-oriented stuff is clustered).
Price (maybe a little high for the standard rooms, but worth it for the nicer rooms):
The Mashariki Palace Hotel isn't for everyone. But if you want a warm-hearted welcome and to have the atmosphere and history of Zanzibar in your hotel room. This place is for you. At the very least, give it a try for a night or two. I absolutely loved it.