REVIEW: An Unusual Hilton Experience at the Doubletree Stonetown in Zanzibar

Doubletree Stonetown exterior
Doubletree Stonetown exterior

Brilliant white buildings jostle for position in the UNESCO world heritage old town of Stonetown. Elaborately carved balconies and doors, fit to impale an enemy, show evidence of the town’s eclectic heritage, a mixture of Persian, African and Indian influences. Hidden in the shade of the labyrinthine alleys is the cool respite of the Doubletree Stonetown. It’s whitewashed walls and unassuming tiled entrance are a world away from a typical Doubletree property, and a welcome escape from the sweltering heat.

Stonetown sightseeing
Stonetown sights

Entering the Doubletree Stonetown

Entering the hotel reminds me of a Moroccan riad, with brightly coloured stained-glass windows, vivid seating areas in rich reds and golds and ornate, carved ceiling lamps. It is more boutique, boudoir than large scale chain hotel. Even better, our stay is free as we have used Hilton HHonor points to book.

Old town Stonetown hotel
Doubletree Stonetown reception

A Doubletree welcome

For anyone not familiar with the Doubletree brand, the hotels welcome guests with their signature cookies fresh from the oven. It’s a welcome treat after travelling for 16 hours, and the soothing juice that accompanies it, disappears in seconds.

Our room

Tucked away in the corner of the third floor, our room is simple but comfortable. The bed is less firm than typical Hilton beds and a great size. Cool coloured glasswork decorates the carved wooden furniture, very much in a traditional style rather than the characterless modernity of many chain hotels.

The large bathroom houses a shower but sadly the shower strength was more drizzle than downpour which was a little disappointing after our long journey.



Facilities at the Doubletree Stonetown

The hotel is compact, with only handfuls of rooms on each of the four main floors. The top floor is reserved for a tiny windowless gym and Taarab Restaurant and bar. From here, a balcony provides views out to sea, a great place for a sundowner. We are greeted warmly by Charlie when we pop up to enjoy the sunset, and he persuades us to return for dinner which does not disappoint.

Doubletree Stonetown rooftop bar
Doubletree Stonetown rooftop bar
Doubletree Stonetown sunset views
Doubletree Stonetown sunset views

Taarab restaurant

I select an entrée of crabcakes followed by curried octopus. Both are delicious and pretty as a picture. Charlie provides fabulous service and we witness an impromptu birthday celebration from the staff for a fellow guest. The singing and dancing reminds me of the celebrations before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a flamboyant, unembarrassed display of musical exuberance.

Book this hotel now


Guests seeking a vast array of facilities may find this hotel lacking, however the meagre facilities are more than compensated for by the traditional ambience which greets you as you enter this hotel.  It is great value in a fabulous location, close to old town attractions. The service lives up to Hilton standards and I would not hesitate to stay here again.


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About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips


  1. I love the Hilton HHonor points system. Hilton is sooo good for return guests! Nice that you got signature cookies on arrival and the view of the Doubletree Stonetown rooftop bar looks also amazing. It must have been a great experience!

  2. I want to go to Zanzibar soooo bad! I have read a lot about the Stone Town. The hotel looks really cozy with great views! If I visit one day, I will definitely book here!

  3. Wouldn’t mind a bit to stay in this unique Hilton hotel in Zanzibar. Amenities and facilities are fine wherever available but more often then not on a vacation, you kind of just want to relax and explore at your own pace.
    I never knew that DoubleTree had a welcome cookie for guests. I haven’t had the opportunity to experience the same yet.
    It would be a lovely experience to stay at this hotel for sure!

  4. The location of the hotel seems spectacular. We too are fine to compromise on frills if the location of the hotel is impecable, Also the Hilton name does ensure quality and standards that can be expected from the Hilton name.

  5. I love staying at hotels that are centrally located. I really don’t need a ton of amenities since I would be out exploring most of the time. I love that you get a welcome cookie and drink 🙂 That is always a pleasant welcome. It’s too bad that the water pressure wasn’t that great but other than that it sounds like a wonderful stay.

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