Emerson Zanzibar is made up of three organisations founded by the flamboyant Emerson Skeens.  He created two Stone Town hotels ‘Emerson Spice‘ and ‘Emerson on Hurumzi‘, rated as two of the best boutique hotels in Stone Town in 2020.  Then motivated by his big-hearted passion he also started the amazing ‘Emerson Foundation‘ for Zanzibar.

Discover the intriguing story of Emerson Zanzibar. How the larger than life, flamboyant Emerson D Skeens created three top restaurants in Stone Towne and two of the best exotic hotels in Zanzibar’s capital city.  Explore the magical guest rooms. Feel the beguiling charm of a restored palace. Hear the enchanting sensual stories that each room tells of a 1001 exotic nights. Flavour delicious authentic Zanzibari cuisine. Watch the breathtaking sunsets over Stone Town harbour from the rooftop terrace of Spice’s Tea House Restaurant. Walk and rest in the mysterious Secret Garden Restaurant.

But the story is not complete without you hearing the moving stories of many lives changed by Emerson’s big-hearted social conscience. He left a lasting legacy to future generations of thankful individuals and families.  The Zanzibar Foundation continues to make such a huge difference to the local community on this Spice Island of Zanzibar.  Every one of your senses will be enticed. But Emerson Skeens would encourage you not to be merely a spectator, but to be a part of this continuing story.

The 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 he is the changed lives of Zanzibaris.   

Read more about The Emerson Zanzibar Foundation here.

Emerson SPice

Stay at Spice

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, located in the distinctive Ruins of the adjacent garden and the ‘Tea House’ one of Stone town’s most renowned rooftop terraced restaurants.  Spice Hotel’s Tea Hose offers stunning sunset view over Stone Town and the harbour.  It offers an authentic stylish ambience, amidst the sound of the local calls to prayer from Stone Town’s many mosques.  

Read more about Emerson Spice here.

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Flavours of Zanzibar

Emerson On Hurumzi

Stay at Hurumzi

In the heart of Stone Town is a beautifully restored hotel that once was the home of one of the richest men in the Swahili Empire – Mr Tharia Topan who served as the principal financial advisor to Sultan Bargash. 

The majestic ‘Grande Dame’ of restored Zanzibar palaces has spectacular views.  Designed to marry the culture and style of the building with the distinct culinary heritage of the era.  The main house has particular historical significance since it was where the abolition and emancipation of slaves occurred in the 1870’s. 

The hotel combines the quality and style of the period in which it was built in the late 1800’s with the colour and comfort of the 21st century, a strikingly magnificent building with historical significance and unique style.


  Find out more about Emerson on Hurumzi here.

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Let us show you

Stone Town, The Real Zanzibar

Emerson Skeens – the man behind the 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. How would I make love in that space and narrative? Then, I set out to embody that in three dimensional space. To this old frustrated sculptor the process is exhilarating. 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.