New hotels in Addis Ababa, Lalibala & Bahir Dar

We’ve just had a truly brilliant holiday in Ethiopia. My husband has been working there for a month in three since the middle of last year and I took the opportunity to join him this time – after he’d finished the bulk of his work there. Your book was invaluable and was with us at all times – despite it being a pretty hefty weight. We found virtually everything you said to be reliable.

I just wanted to mention a couple of places which have opened – or will – since your book was published.
Addis : we stayed in a recently opened hotel just off the Bole Road, almost next to the Edna Mall, called the Kaleb. The staff couldn’t have been more friendly or more helpful, the location was great, the breakfasts very good – although a number of the delicious pastries could have made a fantastic afternoon teas, or desserts after a meal, since these are both something I craved for in Ethiopia – and the wifi was – mostly! – reliable. We stayed a night and then returned for 3 more, ten days later. We paid $90 per night for this large and comfortable double room. The bathroom was smaller than it could have been but was fine – with good sized, thick towels. Having checked a number of other hotels in Addis – which I thought surprisingly expensive – this seemed pretty good value. It opened about three months ago.
Lalibela: We met a lovely Scottish lady called Susan who is in partnership with an Ethiopian friend in the building of, initially, a fabulous restaurant in a totally stunning location in Lalibela itself. It is on top of a hill with an almost 360 degrees view all round of the unbelievable countryside. It will have a more formal restaurant and a snack-type restaurant with numerous seating areas to drink in the view.  It is being built to a high spec. and uses as many natural materials as possible, blending into its surroundings, and yet modern and innovative in design. Ultimately they plan to build rooms in individual tukuls so that there is accommodation as well but they are trying to establish the restaurant first. It will be called Ben Abeba (‘Ben’ being Scottish for ‘hill’ and ‘Abeba’ being Amharic for ‘flowers’ : it is on a hill of flowers.) Susan is trained in Home Economics and is taking on the menu planning and training of the kitchen staff herself. There will be both Ethiopian food and international – including puddings and home baking! The official opening is planned for September so fingers crossed for success in that! I’m sure it’s going to be really beautiful and a treat – though not overly expensive – for anyone visiting Lalibela. There is a website for the restaurant although this is still fairly sketchy in its information. More will be added in the next few months. The website address is http://www.benabeba.com/
Finally, in Bahir Dar we got a fantastic deal! We’d booked in at the Ghion which was fine, if a little tired. As the new Kiriftu resort was right next door we thought we’d go for a nose and perhaps splash out on lunch. Somehow we got talking to the guy at Reception and he invited us to look at the rooms. How could we refuse?! They had a special package offer because the resort was not quite complete – swimming pool still being built and some extra rooms – and this included bed, breakfast, dinner, plus a massage, a manicure and a pedicure per day. Full price worked out at $199, but he said they were knocking 25% off so it would be $150. For us this was still too pricey, but we must have hesitated because he said that if we were interested he could do it for 50% off! We just couldn’t resist the treat potential! It’s absolutely beautiful and the staff are incredibly attentive and pleasant.
With best wishes,
Nicky Harris
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