Emerson on Hurumzi – magic mix of diverse cultures
January 4, 2018
Zanzibar is becoming more and more attractive to tourists all over the world thanks to its diverse culture, amazing turquoise – blue Indian ocean and pure white sands, and of course a strategic location close to world- famous safaris of Tanzania and Kenya, so you can relax after intense safari days or Kilimanjaro hiking. Despite all of that it still stays almost untouched meaning you can see local culture as it is, without any crazy crowds of tourists.
In all that abundance of eastern exotic incenses and spices, Indian carved ornaments, colourful and bright scarves of Swahili women is the essence of Zanzibar’s soul. A magic mix of diverse cultures is what makes this island so unique and attractive.
Emerson on Hurumzi is for sure a part of Zanzibar’s mysterious charm and history. I can hardly call it a hotel, I would rather say it’s sleeping like in a museum experience where each room is unique and restored as it used to look originally. You can imagine yourself a rich Arab living in 19th century or a powerful English colonizer… all that is a part of history of Emerson on Hurumzi and you can feel it once stepped into the place.
The building that today hosts Emerson on Hurumzi was built in the 1870s by the powerful merchant Sir Tharia Thopan. He served as a principal financial adviser to Sultan Bargash and was the head of customs. The roof top Tea House itself may have been designed as an observation point to control the activities of the port, which was located in the waters just in front of the nearby “House of Wonders”. Tharia Thopan stayed here only briefly before the building was sold.
It was then used by the Archbishop of Zanzibar and the folklore says that during this time Arabian slave owners were paid by the British to free their slaves in this building.
After that it was owned and occupied by a series of Ismaili and Arabian families over the years. The building was nationalized in 1967 and occupied by poor Swahili families until the early 1990s when Emerson Skeens and Thomas Green started the restoration of the building.
The inauguration of reformed Emerson on Hurumzi was held on February 2014. The historical building presently has 9 rooms ready for guests, six newly refurbished double rooms in the main building plus two double rooms and two suites in the Peace and Love wing of the hotel. All the rooms have a unique historical design and don’t look like any other hotel you’ve seen before!
The famous rooftop Tea House restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and sunset cocktails. Its cuisine is designed to marry the culture and style of the building with the distinct culinary heritage of the era, the menu celebrates the pleasure of oriental Persian and Omani dishes. Musicians from Dhow Country Music Academy play during dinner on Thursdays and Saturdays and on pre-booking. Everything to create a right relaxing atmosphere of Zanzibar.
Additionally Emerson on Hurumzi arranges amusing and interesting tours and excursions. Zanzibar Stone Town can offer a unique cultural experience, fascinating street life, a range of restaurants, interesting shopping, annual Music and Film festivals such as Sauti za Busara and ZIFF, and traditional music concerts at The Dhow Countries Music Academy.
Zanzibar is small and easy to get around. Nothing on the island is more than an hour or two away. You can experience excursions to the coasts, or boat trips to the marine parks, sandbanks and islands nearby. Spice tours, City tours, Cultural tours, Art and Architecture tours. And it worth to see it all!
Written by Alina Dyachenko for Luxuria Lifestyle