A short history
Kisiwa House was constructed in 1840 by Nassor ibn Abdullah Al Barwani. A wealthy and influential Omani merchant. The property was amongst one of the first buildings in Stonetown. It was built during the reign of the greatest 19th-century sultan of Oman, Said ibn Sultan, who made the islands his home in 1837.
Kisiwa House has been in the same family for generations; it has been recently renovated and faithfully restored into a luxury boutique hotel. The impressive wooden staircase and the ornately brass-studded door that date back to its construction over a 170 years ago, opens up to share a lavish collection of private antique furniture, brass fixtures, persian rugs and original photographs. The decor concept is a fusion of opulent authenticity that boasts the very essence of Zanzibar history.
Sulaima bint Salim Al Barwani was one of the most emblematic owners of Kisiwa house, she was offered the estate as a wedding present by her brother Khalfan. Sulaima, a woman of great wealth and character, was one of the wealthiest people in Zanzibar at the beginning of the 20th century. In her later years Sulaima chose to live on the top floor of the building leaving the rest of the house to her children and their respective families. This led her to affectionately be known as “Bibi wa Darini” meaning rooftop grand mother. Today, Kisiwa House belongs to her great grandson.