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Ethiopia is not best known for its fine hotels. Hot showers are generally speaking still a luxury and places with genuine charm are few and far between. Here are our selection of the nicer places to stay in Ethiopia;
Addis is first and foremost a conference city and hotes cater primarily for visiting politicians, delegates and business-men. We’ve looked hard, but have yet to find any charming boutique properties here, and find ourselves in the rare position of recommending the international chain hotels.
Radisson Blue Addis: Incredibly slick new hotel that doesn’t drop a beat from the international standards of the Radisson chain. Rooms are tasteful, well sound proofed, high tech and spotless and there is a first rate spa on site. The location is central, right next door to the Intercontinental with lots of new building going on all around. The Radisson Blue doesn’t have a swimming pool, but does have a small courtyard terrace and buzzing branch of a popular Addis café chain on site. Staying in the Radisson isn’t going to give you much of a sense of Ethiopia, but if you want a comfortable room without compromise after a long flight, the Radisson is a very good option.
Hilton Addis: The Hilton in Addis is a massive 500 room institution which is partly owned by the government and part owned by the International Hilton chain. It is the kind of place we would never normally consider, but with the paucity of alternatives on offer, it is a sensible choice if you are looking for a reasonably comfortable room and a relaxing pool area. The rooms are slightly sub-Hilton standard, but are well above average for Ethiopia. The reason for staying here though is the expansive leisure facilities, with a pleasant pool area and bar, tennis courts, squash courts and mini golf.
Intercontinental Addis: The Intercontinental is not currently part of the international Interncontinental group, is nevertheless a good option. Rooms are comfortably furnished, and the cafes and restaurants in a buzzing courtyard at the centre of the building. The main reason for staying here is the lovely roof toop swimming pool and bar area, a rarity in Addis.
Regency Addis: The Regency Addis has some of the best rooms in Addis at a very good price. Friendly service, free wi-fi and slick clean, modern rooms that surpass anything the more expensive Hilton or InternContinental can offer. There is a standard restaurant / bar area, but no outdoor space worth talking about. A solid mid-range option.
Ghion Hotel: Government owned institution where rooms and staff are seriously in need of a good make-over. There is a pool (think holiday park) and very well kept extensive gardens, and offers good value for the price, but apart from that, there is little to commend the Ghion.
RAS Hotel: A reasonable budget option in a great location. This historic hotel (the second oldest in Addis) once housed Nelson Mandela, but its glory days are long gone. Rooms are reasonable for the price range, food is good in the main restaurant and lovely traditional Ethiopian restaurant and there is a pleasant pavement terrace to sit and watch the world go by. As long as you don’t mind a fairly basic room, then this is an ok budget option.
Kuriftu Lodge Lake Tana: Because of the wealth of attractions in Ethiopia, it is all too easy to find yourself skipping from one place to the next without the time to take it all in and just relax and indulge a little. The Kuriftu Resort on the shores of Lake Tana is the perfect place to do so. There are 14 spacious luxurious traditional stone cottages (28 rooms in total, with one room on the ground floor and another on the first floor) set around a gorgeous pool, with breath-taking views of the lake. The resort has been sensitively developed (which is more than can be said for its neighbours), the service is excellent and free massage treatments are included in your stay. Compared to what is on offer elsewhere in Ethiopia, it is well worth a splurge. It can be a little noisy at night and the 4 twin rooms are set at the road side of the property without pool / lake views.