THE FIRST HOTEL
ON ZANZIBAR ISLAND
History of Zanzibar Hotel

During the 1930s, 1940s and until November 1950 Imperial Airways and then BOAC operated flying boat services from Southampton to colonial possessions in Africa. The aircrew resided in the hotel during their stopovers en route.

After the revolution in 1964, the hotel was given to local ownership where years of neglect saw it deteriorate to a sad decrepit state. In 1999, an Omani with a dream began the long process of reviving the building and transforming it into the magnificent hotel it is today.

Oscar Baumann, the Austrian explorer and cartographer, was appointed Consular General to Zanzibar by the Austro-Hungarian Government in 1896, the same year he mapped the first detailed plan of Stone Town. According to his map the area and buildings what are now The Zanzibar Hotel were the "Commando Polizeitruppe" (housed the troops of the German city police).

Sir Lloyd William Mathews, KCMG, Royal Navy Lieutenant and First Prime Minister of the Zanzibar Government purchased the house in the late 1800's and converted it into a hotel, the 1902 records show that the name Zanzibar Hotel was used, thus becoming the first purpose built hotel in Stone Town. The present day restaurant is named in honour of his legacy.

From 1923 to 1956, the hotel was sold to a Mr Gulan Hussein Mohd Nasser Gindani resident in Mombassa, who renamed it the Pigalle Hotel. Seyyida Sheikah binti Salim bin Khalifan el Busaidia, related to the former ruling family then purchased the hotel for Tsh 60,000 with an annual rent of Tsh 6,000 who reverted back to the original name Zanzibar Hotel.

 

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