At last count, thewere 560 carved doors in Zanzibar. The oldest door discovered in Zanzibar is dated AD 1694. When a house was built in Zanzibar, the door was traditionally the first part to be erected. The greater the wealth and social position of the owner of the house, the larger and more elaborately carved his front door. Many doors are studded with brass spikes. This may be a modification of the Indian practice of studding doors with sharp spikes of iron to prevent their being battered in by war elephants. In 915 AD, an Arab traveller recorded that Zanzibar island abounded in elephants, and around 1295 Marco Polo wrote that Zanzibar had ‘elephants in plenty’. However, there are no elephants here now, and the brass studs seen today are purely for decoration!
This is the entrance door of the The Dhow Palace Hotel, with its Arabian archways, authentic Zanzibari antiques and ornate ornaments, was originally an Omani mansion dating back to the 1870s. It is certainly one of the best hotels in Stone Town. The rooms are spacious, luxuriously appointed and the service is impressively friendly.
A beautiful hand-carved door studded with brass knobs welcomes you into the modest reception area. A central courtyard with a water fountain, makuti-thatch chairs and palm fronds provides a deliciously cool haven in the heat of the day.
The atmosphere inside this hotel is tranquil and relaxed which is a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of the Stone Town streets.