Zanzibar Palace Hotel, Stone Town, Zanzibar $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Housed in a refurbished 19th-century villa, the Zanzibar Palace Hotel is an elegant addition to the Stone Town scene. The nine-room Palace doesn't stray far from the script written by its competitors—think high, timbered ceilings, richly embroidered silks, and ornate glowing lanterns. It's the meticulous attention to detail, though, that helps the Palace to stand out. The colorful collection of colonial-era bric-a-brac is thoughtfully edited and transcends what in other hotels could come off as an Arabian Nights rip-off. No less impressive are the palatial en suite facilities, ranging from private balconies overlooking the city to in-room spa treatments and massive stone tubs for two. Our favorites are the Farizah, located in the palace's former ballroom, and the Suite Dunia, with rooftop views to the sea. For all the royal treatment, though, a little warmth would go a long way in making this palace feel like home. Staff often seem to be walking on pins and needles, and while the kitchen dishes out competent takes on Swahili and continental cuisine, you'd do well to pass on the funereal dining room for one of Stone Town's livelier eating options.