Overall I was really surprised by the quality and high standards of the hotels we stayed at in Ethiopia. I found them very friendly and welcoming and extremely well run.
One exception was the Heritage Plaza Hotel in Harar. It looks great from the outside – but as they say looks can be deceiving!
The staff are hard to find as they don’t identify themselves in anyway (except for the cleaning team who wear a uniform of sorts) and cannot be found at reception. You are ignored if you go to the reception desk and there is no way of calling anyone. We eventually worked out that the group sitting in the outside ‘lounge’ were actually staff as were those sitting at the tables in the café – where we were made to feel so unwelcome we left without being able to get a drink. In fact during our stay there were far more ‘hangers-on’/staff than there were clients.
The first room we were shown was so dirty and bug infested (I still have the bites) that we refused to stay there and after three rooms we settled as we had no other option. The bed linen, floors, chairs and the mosquito nets tied in a knot and hanging from the ceiling (nowhere near the bed) were so filthy that you were afraid to touch them.
I have mobility difficulties and after climbing up the three flights of stairs to the restaurant and bar was none too pleased to find it locked up – yet dinner was due to be served. Having come all the way back down again the man on the desk when asked where we could get a meal and a drink said there was nothing available and yet he had let us go all the way up there! Whilst breakfast was included in our rate we were unable to get anything to eat because the staff were in the café helping themselves and refused to serve us.
The room above flooded our room and soaked my bed – nothing was done about it. ‘What do you want me to do’ was all that was said.
Thankfully this was the end of our journey and so we knew that Ethiopia had so much more to offer. If this had been the beginning I think it would have ruined our trip. This hotel does a disservice to Harar and to Ethiopia.