Emerson Zanzibar is made up of three organisations founded by the flamboyant Emerson Skeens.
He restored Emerson Spice Hotel and Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel, still rated two of the best hotels in Stone Town. Each hotel has an amazing rooftop restaurant. In Emerson Spice there is also the magical Secret Garden Restaurant.
Motivated by his big-hearted passion for the local community Skeens formed the Emerson Foundation for Zanzibar. The Emerson Foundation is still making a difference in the community today.
The intriguing story of how the inspirational Emerson Dewey Skeens created three top restaurants in Stone Town and two of the most famous and exotic hotels in Zanzibar, could have come straight from Arabian Tales of 1001 Nights… Find out more….
Recommended Holidays in Tanzania
Explore mainland Tanzania’s classic African Bush safari adventure. Maybe add Zanzibar’s breath-taking coast with clear azure sea on the Spice Island’s stunning white sands. Then immerse yourself in the timeless, authentic sounds, tastes and sunsets at an Emerson Zanzibar hotel, with truly magical rooftop views in the enchanting Stone Town (UNESCO World Heritage site).
Experience the Real Zanzibar
Stay at Spice Hotel
Looking for a place to stay in Stone Town to experience the real Zanzibar?
An inspired and lovingly restored Merchant’s House, this Boutique Hotel has eleven stylishly furnished rooms structured around an airy central courtyard.
The hotel hosts two of Stone Town’s top restaurants: The Secret Garden, in the distinctive ruins of the adjacent garden and the Tea House one of Stone town’s most renowned rooftop terraced restaurants. Emerson Spice Tea House offers stunning sunset views over Stone Town and the harbour. It offers an authentic stylish ambiance, amidst the vibrant, mystical and magical sounds of the city – including the call to prayer from Stone Town’s many mosques.
More about Spice
Stay at Hurumzi
Looking for more than just accommodation in Stone Town to experience the real Zanzibar?
In the heart of Stone Town is a beautifully restored palace of one of the richest men in the Swahili Empire – Tharia Topan who served as principal financial advisor to Sultan Bargash.
The majestic ‘Grande Dame’ of restored Zanzibar palaces has spectacular views. The building is designed to marry culture and style with the distinct culinary heritage of the era. The main house has particular historical significance as it is located where the abolition and emancipation of slaves occurred in the 1870’s.
The hotel combines the quality and style of the late 1800’s when it was built, with the colour and comfort of the 21st century. A strikingly magnificent building with historical significance and unique style.
More about Hurumzi
Flavours of Zanzibar
Two Hotels, Three Restaurants
There are two Emerson hotels with three distinct restaurant experiences. Both Emerson Spice Hotel and Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel have a restaurant in their Rooftop Tea House. Both Emerson Hotels’ Tea Houses serve sunset drinks at 18:00 and dinner at 19:00. There is only one sitting. Our Chefs are happy to cater for dietary requirements, but Emerson Spice is more suited to those who enjoy fish & seafood.
The Tea House at Emerson Spice has a smaller, more intimate, Rooftop Tea House. At Emerson Spice, a daily-changing, set five course, seafood tasting menu is served.
The Tea House at Emerson on Hurumzi was opened in 1997. This Tearoom is higher than it’s sister in Emerson Spice. The seating is Swahili Style on thick Persian rugs with low tables, and usually a singer & band performs during dinner. The menu comprises delicious authentic Zanzibari cuisine.
There is a magical, secluded, walled garden at Emerson Spice, ‘The Secret Garden’. A romantic, magical haven from the hustle and bustle of Stone Town. Great for a quiet rest and a beverage. There’s an a la carte menu for you as well and this restaurant serves dinner from 17.00 – 21.30
Rooftop Tea HousesIndulge all your senses as you dine out for Lunch or absorb the stunning Sunset Dinner at either of Stone Town’s renowned rooftop restaurants. More than a meal, this experience offers a simply breathtaking 360-degree view, accompanied by the sounds of a city quietening for sun-down. This whole evocative evening is described by many guests and travellers as a “truly ‘movie-like’ memory”. Make your choice:
- Emerson Spice offers a five course seafood based tasting menu, which is prepared daily for dinner by our Zanzibari chefs.
- Emerson on Hurumzi offers a three course menu based on local Zanzibar cuisine fused with oriental Persian and Omani influences.
The Secret GardenNeed a break from the hustle and bustle of Stone Town streets? Take a spiced coffee or cold beverage in the haven that is Stone Town’s Secret Garden. Just metres from the vibrant streets of the city you will be instantly and miraculously transported to another dimension. Step into the ‘timeless’, tranquil and magical world of the ‘Secret Garden’. The romantic and secluded Secret Garden is open for Lunch and Dinner and has a Zanzibari-inspired a la carte menu. Look out for our ‘Step into the Soul of Zanzibar’ live music or art events hosted in the Secret Garden with performances by The Dhow Countries Music Academy and many other local artists each week.
Zanzibar Tea Ceremony
The Emerson Zanzibar Tea Ceremony is held at Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel. It introduces guests to the Zanzibar food culture and Stone Town as a melting pot of cultures.
The seating is on low chairs and on “Swahili style” cushions. The guests are shown the tea spices, how to mix them and also learn about the traditional tea and coffee drinking culture of Zanzibar, while enjoying them with traditional appetizers and sweets.
The Tea Ceremony is held in the Roshani Room at Emerson Hurumzi, which is also available for private parties or functions.
Authentic Local Music, Art & Live Events
Step into the Soul of Zanzibar
Zanzibar is like no other place on earth. For centuries, this Indian Ocean island off the coast of Africa has lured explorers, traders, adventurers, and romantics of all kinds. It is a land of contrasts; a place to delight the senses. With us you will be able to experience the island’s many pleasures, along with Zanzibar’s celebrated hospitality.
Join us at one of our regular evenings of live music, art exhibitions or other hosted cultural events. From Food Festivals to Film Festivals we are at the heart of this vibrant pulsating Spice Island capital.
Follow our social media channels to keep up-to-date with the very latest in what is happening in Stone Town, Zanzibar.
The Man with a Dream
“Spaces are magical, always have been for me. Since childhood, often when I walk into a space for the first time, I’m confronted with a narrative, a feeling, a history, some characters. Like Jaques, in “As you Like It,” there is a myth, an opera, a film or a play stretching out on stage before me. These stages present themselves for me to play on and, for even more fun, to play with. The romantic and erotic are always embedded in the space.
May I ask the visitors of Emerson’s Zanzibar’s hotels to indulge with me and perhaps join in by feeling the archetypal stories that inspired the designs of each room. For all the mad romantics that remain among us in a digital age, here’s the scoop”…
Andreas Viestad is a Norwegian food columnist and TV chef, and an acclaimed travel food writer. He writes: “I first came to Zanzibar in 1992, and at that time the island had just come out of a nearly thirty-year period of decline. During the years of the Tanzanian experiment with African socialism Zanzibar had been more or less isolated.”
Where Heritage Meets Passion
Read some of our latest articles and travel blogs. Find out more of the culture, history, art, music and gastronomy of Zanzibar. The magical, timeless story can be experienced in either of Stone Town’s two famous ‘heritage’ boutique hotels.
Emerson Zanzibar is a home-grown brand located in the World Heritage Site of Stone Town. Two unique hotels where culture, history, design and art have richly fused together to create exclusive award-winning experiences – with its partner Emerson’s Foundation, the beating heart of community and environmental engagement.
Emerson’s Zanzibar Foundation
Emerson Skeens believed in Zanzibar, in Zanzibaris, and their potential to create a vibrant and self-sustaining future that uniquely reflects the rich history and cultural heritage of these islands. So a fund was established to support individuals with exceptional talents in artistic and academic fields. It assists local organizations that preserve and enhance the culture of Zanzibar.
The foundation is non-governmental, non-political, non–commercial, non- religious and non–profit making. But it is certainly changing the stories of many people.
Emerson’s legacy through his exotic Stone Town hotels and top restaurants is still changing the lives of Zanzibaris.