Carving Our Journey Through Stone Town

30 April 2021

‘Imagine you are staying in a hotel, filled with historic charm & stunning architecture from the roof to the door’.

Yehia Elmansoury – General Manager for DoubleTree by Hilton Zanzibar – Stone Town

Beautiful Swahili wooden carvings

DoubleTree by Hilton Zanzibar – Stone Town is to be found amongst the historical buildings in the heart of Stone Town a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an ideal place to begin your journey, exploring the winding alleys, amid the rich tapestry of cultural and architectural influences dating back to the 19th Century. The Island of Spices is also one of the top tourist destinations and a perfect spot for any ‘Instagrammable Moment’.

Upon arrival at the hotel, you are greeted by the team along with Hilton’s signature chocolate chip cookie, a lovely way to welcome guests!

As you the enter the hotel, you will notice an element of a traditional East African fixtures and furnishings, adding beauty and depth to the ambience. A century back, the building was an old Court House, and has undergone multiple changes over the years. It has since been lovingly restored and developed offering a charm of Swahili culture combined with the renowned cosiness and familiarity of DoubleTree by Hilton – a perfect blend of culture & comfort.

Despite the multitude of modern fixtures and fittings, the property still manages to retain its cultural and local identity and you catch glimpses of the beautiful Zanzibari designs throughout the hotel.

All the hotel furniture is lovingly hand-carved by 21 local wood carvers with intricate Swahili designs; their skills passed down through generations.

Some of the rooms have exotic views of the dhows on clear turquoise waters. The Stone Town Beach is a heavenly experience which allows guests to immerse themselves directly into the sensory Island of Zanzibar.

If you manage to bag yourself a room on the top floor, your view will overlook the bustling Stone Town markets.  It is the oldest part of Zanzibar, made up of ancient coral and limestone houses, palaces, and forts from the Omani era. Renowned for its carved wooden doors & a treasure trove of bazaars & galleries, there is lots to discover, so best to allow a couple of hours to walk around the town.

DoubleTree by Hilton Zanzibar – Stone Town is heavily influenced by the rich local historical architecture; on your travels you will get to see a lot of town houses with elaborated carved doors which reflect the cultural roots of the Swahili coast in Eastern Africa. Traditionally when a house was built in Zanzibar, the door was the first part to be erected. The greater the wealth and social position of the owner of the house, the larger and more elaborate the carvings.  The mix of Swahili, Arab, and Indian traditions is probably most notable in the design of Zanzibari doors.

A souvenir of Stone Town art can be found at the Darajani Bazaar (market) and it is certainly a great memorabilia to reflect on after a visit to this beautiful property, as well as a gentle nod to the talented local artists.

Click here to hear from others who have journeyed around the Island.