Addis Ababa and Bishoftu hotel reviews

Emma writes:
I’ve been in Ethiopia for a few months – just staying in Addis Ababa and Bishoftu/Debre Zeyit – so I thought I’d do a bit of a review of the places I’ve stayed.
Salayish Park & Lodge – Debre Zeyit
I loved this place. I went for a few days and have ended up staying about 3 weeks in total. It is just out of Debre Zeyit (also called Bishoftu) which is about 1 hours drive south of Addis. At the moment, the trip is annoying, because the road is really busy. So, it’s better to go early in the morning (around 7am). There is a new highway being built though, which should be open sometime in 2013, and that will cut the trip down to an easy 30 mins.Salayish has about 5 thatched huts in a beautiful garden, and one hilltop room which is bigger and has views over the lake. The place is really peaceful and unpretentious. The rooms cost around 380 birr a night , and I think the hilltop room costs around $80 a night. The huts are basic, but very clean, and they are spaced around the garden so that you get a nice sense of privacy. The food is good, although the menu is small – they could really expand it.

They have a nice little menagerie of animals – a horse, goat, chickens, cows, turkey etc etc as well as a heap of birdlife in the garden. They also have a traditional distillery where they make tej (a type of honey wine) and araki. Sitting around a campfire at night, listening to the crickets and drinking tej is probably the highlight of my stay in Ethiopia (so far!)

One quibble I have with the Bradt Guide description of this place is that it calls it one of the most ‘peculiar’ spots in Ethiopia.  I really didn’t find it peculiar, just rustic.  I met another traveller at Salayish who said to me that she liked how Bradt called it “peculiar” because it put other people off going there and she had it all to herself.  (Hmmm…not sure that was quite the aim of the writer of the guide!!)
Elame Resort – Debre Zeyit
This little resort is on the same lake as Salayish (Lake Babogaya), although it doesn’t have lake views. I didn’t stay here, but I looked in the cabins and talked to people who did stay here and they really liked it. The cabins are spaced around a lovely garden with lots of quirky little statues, and the whole compound is very quiet. I think the rooms cost around 600 birr a night. The food there is awesome, because at the moment they have a chef from the USA working there and training the staff. I think I had the best roast chicken of my life there, followed up by strawberry sorbet. Yum, yum…I highly recommend the food!
Lisek – Debre Zeyit
Lisek is a large, new resort that has almost finished construction and will be opening in the next month or so.  It is across a little lane-way from Elame and about a 200 metre walk from Salayish.  I met the owner and have done a tour of the place.  It is MASSIVE.  Heaps of rooms, all cascading down a steep hillside, with a big swimming poo.  There’s a lovely eating area at the bottom that goes out over the lake. I don’t know how much the rooms will cost – someone told me but I forget.  I think around $100 a night. Even if you can’t afford the rooms, it would be a nice place to go have dinner or a swim.
Mr Martin’s Cozy Place – Addis
I stayed here for a few weeks when I first arrived in Addis. I stayed in one of the larger family rooms, which was really good value at around 380 birr a night (sorry, I can’t remember the exact price!) The room I was in had 3 beds, a sitting area, and a fridge. Even though it faced onto the main courtyard it was extremely quiet. I also stayed for a few nights in one of the smaller rooms, which was next to the communal bathroom. This wasn’t such a great experience because the sound-proofing wasn’t very good and every time someone went into the bathroom it felt like they were walking into my room! But, I am an extremely light sleeper, so most people probably wouldn’t have a problem with this.The staff at Mr Martin’s are really friendly, and the cleaning staff were good (I had the cleaner in my room quite often whilst I wasn’t there and nothing went missing). The compound itself is very quiet, because it’s back off the road, down a lane-way. It’s very secure as well.

The main drawback for me was the location. It’s out in Bole and feels a bit like staying in the suburbs – not much around, although there are a few nice places to eat in the area. I recommend Oh Canada, and also a nice little Lebanese place whose name I can’t remember. But, you get there by walking out of Mr Martin’s, turning right at the end of the lane and walking down through the intersection. The restaurant is one of the first buildings you pass after crossing the intersection.

 

Itegue Taitu – Addis
I’ve been at Taitu for the past month and have stayed in a few different rooms, all in Block A. Apart from the filthy bathrooms and maids who steal stuff, this place is great. Block A is set back a bit from the old building and the rooms on the top floor are really quite nice – apart from the bathrooms. They have cupboards and bed-side tables in the rooms, and some have nice views out over the garden. I find block A to be very quiet, so if you are a light sleeper this would be a good option. The rooms are around 345 birr a night.

The patio area at the Taitu is a lovely place just to hang out, and I really like the Piazza area because it has a bit of atmosphere, and some nice little cafes.

Just be aware though, that the maids at the Taitu do occasionally steal, and that complaining to the management isn’t going to help much. My solution has been to never let the maid into my room without me being there watching the whole time. Most of my friends at Taitu do the same thing – the maids will often ask for my key to clean my room but I don’t let them have it. That has worked for me. (I don’t mean to say that all the maids steal, or that you’ll lose everything you own…but it is an issue.)

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3 thoughts on “Addis Ababa and Bishoftu hotel reviews

  1. Stuart Dickson says:

    I know that can be a problem in many hotels around the world but i would like to put in a positive note for the Taitu Hotel. I forgot my binoculars there(stashed them near the bed leg and forgot em) Three days later (after the penny dropped)I went on the of chance they may have been found, happily the cleaning lady had turned them in and were waiting for me at the managers office. How nice is that. Stuart.

  2. emma says:

    Hi Stuart,

    Just saw your reply. Yes, I didn’t mean that everyone steals there – I also had a leather bag returned to me when I left behind in my room by my cleaning lady. (That happened after I wrote this post or I would have mentioned it). I guess I just meant that it is really worthwhile to be careful with your possessions. Taitu has good lockers which you can buy your own locks for, so they are totally secure, and I think using them is a great idea.

    • Stuart says:

      Thank you for that, i do tend to get protective of Ethiopians because in amongst all the hassle Feranji get and the thievery that does go on, there is- this amazing sweetness to Ethiopians(especially in rural areas)that you cannot help but admiring and wanting to be part of.So little returns become whopping returns.I must admit it took three visits and 12 months to feel it, and I’m so glad I got it. Now it will be a place I will always venture. Selam Stuart.

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