Introduction to Hotels in Addis Ababa
If you’re planning a trip to Ethiopia, there are a lot of logistical challenges, not the least of which includes finding a hotel in Addis Ababa. The good news is there are a lot of options. And regardless of where you end up, you’re bound to love the warm and friendly Ethiopian culture.
There are more than 300 hotels in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With so many options, it can be hard to pick the right one. It’s an important decision though. The hotel you stay at can make or break your trip.
Especially in a country like Ethiopia, where you probably don’t speak the native language and it could be your first time here (or even your first time in Africa), it is critical to find the perfect place to stay.
But how do you pick? This is a definitive guide to help you understand the best hotels in Addis Ababa. Find your home away from home without the stress and enjoy your Ethiopian holiday.
About Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa, the New York of Africa, is the capital of Ethiopia. Nicknamed “Shegar” by locals, it’s the fifth highest capital city in the world at 2355 meters above sea level. There is an estimated 7 million people living in Addis Ababa. That’s about half the population of Tokyo. To put it in another way, Addis Ababa and Chicago are almost the same size (around 500 square kilometers), but there are 2.5 times more residents in Addis.
What To Do
There are a lot of things to do in Addis Ababa. Although the most popular pastime is drinking coffee in a cafe. Which is fitting since Ethiopia was the first country to discover coffee.
Politics & People
Addis Ababa carries significant political importance. Partly because it’s home to the African Union (AU) which is an enormous institution that dictates policies and implements programs across the continent. Because of that, most embassies (like the American, European, etc.) are double in size–regular consular & visa services plus a dedicated wing to serve the AU.
Because of Ethiopia’s growing size and rapid economic development, Addis Ababa has been visited by many political leaders including former President Obama in 2015.
These days Addis Ababa is a bit of a melting pot. You’ll find people from every country and Ethiopians from every one of their 80 tribes calling it home. It also welcomes immigrants from surrounding African and Middle Eastern countries (with Eritrean, South Sudanese, and Syrians topping the list). The diverse city contributes and still reflects the beauty of the Ethiopian culture.
History of Hotels in Addis Ababa
The first hotel in Addis Ababa, Taitu Hotel, was founded by Empress Taitu in 1905. Hotels have popped up ever since thanks to the influx of international tourists.
- 1990: 64,000 tourists
- 2013: 680,000 tourists
- 2024: 815,000 tourists (estimated)
If the 2024 estimated figure is correct, it will contribute $2 billion USD to Ethiopia’s GDP.
In the next five years, the hotel industry in the country is expected to create over 1 million jobs which is almost 4% of total employment.
Who Owns the Hotels in Addis Ababa?
Hotels in Addis Ababa are owned by different players including local entrepreneurs, international brand chains, and even the government. Although since 1995, the government has privatized 34 previously government owned hotels as an overall movement to stimulate the private sector.
Star Ratings of Hotels in Addis Ababa
Despite hundreds of hotels in Addis Ababa, almost half of them aren’t eligible for a star rating. This is according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism who trained 50 local assesors to conduct the first star rating program in 2014. Most cited non-compliant fire, hygiene, and sanitation requirements for reasons of denial.
How do Star Ratings of Hotels in Addis Ababa Actually Work?
In case you’re wondering, a hotel has to have at least 11 rooms to be considered. After that, it is assessed on 12 different categories like parking, gardening, safety and security, housekeeping, the kitchen, and more. Criteria like decor, lighting, escalators, and size of space also contribute into the decision.
The evaluations add up to a total score of 2249 points correlating with an overall star number & title. Hotels receive their final grade based on their overall percentage of the total points possible.
- 5 Stars = “Exceptional” | 80%
- 4 Stars= “Excellent” | 70%
- 3 Stars= “Very Good” | 60%
- 2 Stars= “Good” | 50%
- 1 Star= “Acceptable” | 30%
How Do You Pick a Hotel in Addis Ababa?
As a tourist, the floor tile used in a hotel (which yes– can contribute to a star rating) might not be your most important criteria. According to the Hospitality Net, most travelers choose a hotel based on 6 critera including:
1. Value for Money
It’s important to pick a hotel in Addis Ababa that has a competitive and affordable price. The price can fluctuate depending on the season (it’s usually cheaper in the summer which coincides with Ethiopia’s rainy season).
Traffic can be extremely slow and time consuming so it is important to choose a hotel in Addis Ababa that is in a good location within walking distance of main attractions and restaurants. Most travelers enjoy “Bole Area” best because it’s close to the airport, shopping, restaurants, and dozens of cafes.
3. Local Experience
It’s also important to choose your hotel based on safety and accessibility. Addis Ababa is generally quite safe especially in the daytime. But the nicer areas of town include Bole, Sarbet, Old Airport, and Kasanchies.
Most hotel options are only in Bole or Kasanchies though. Old airport has none. Sarbet has only a few. They are still nice neighborhoods to explore, but won’t offer much in terms of places to stay.
The big choice will come down to Kasanchies verse Bole. They are both busy areas so in terms of quietness, they are about the same. The difference is that there much more things to do in Bole including more options of restaurants and cafes.
That’s why, whatever hotel you chose, most traveler do indeed prefer Bole. And in terms of safety and accessibility it is on par with the other neighborhoods.
4. Accommodation Type
Travelers also pay attention to the type of accommodation. For example a family with small children doesn’t want to stay in a backpacker hostel. Most hotels, however, will meet a wide variety of customers. You can tailor your accommodation by choosing the right room type. Typically, most hotels in Addis Ababa offer rooms for singles, for couples, with twin beds, deluxe rooms with more space, or suites that includes a living room.
5. Ease of reliability and booking
Travelers also want to stay in a hotel with easy booking and ability to refund in case of cancellation. For this reason, international brands can be easier to work with.
6. Accommodation details
Travelers also want to pay attention to extra details that matter to them– and one of the best ways to do that is finding pictures from guests who stayed there.
Hotels in Addis Ababa Extra Critera
In emerging countries like Ethiopia, it’s important to look for extra criteria when choosing your hotel in Addis Ababa. Standards that seem obvious to international guests might not be widely available in all hotels. Extra consideration for hotels in Addis Ababa should be:
Safe & Secure
Because you are traveling with your passport and other valuables, make sure you choose a hotel that has a safe in each guest room. It’s also important to choose a room with a secure lock. For this reason, international brands do well.
If you are renting or driving your own vehicle, make sure the hotel has proper parking. Parking is hard to find in Addis and parking on the street will result in scratches.
Free & Fast Wifi
Make sure the hotel has fast and free wifi. Occasionally, the Ethiopian government has shut down internet nation-wide. This means even nice hotels in Addis Ababa will lose wifi for guests, and there is nothing to do about it. If you see negative reviews about internet on hotel platforms make sure it wasn’t during a wifi outage which would have equally effected travelers at all hotels.
Addis Ababa is not a quiet city. Car honking, loud music, and people on megaphones can be heard at almost anytime of day. For light sleepers, it’s best to bring ear plugs with you no matter where you stay. Additionally, it’s important to stay at a hotel that can block out some of the noise through double glazed windows.
If you have a sensitive stomach, it’s best to choose a hotel that is competent in global food preparation standards. Breakfast buffets are also a nice perk for the guest wanting a healthier morning start–especially since many restaurants in Addis are known for being a bit too “oily” for many travelers.
Additionally, food allergies is a relatively unknown problem in Ethiopia. If you are highly sensitive to nuts, gluten, etc. then it is imperative you choose a hotel with an international chef who is more likely to understand and take preventative measures with allergens.
Addis Ababa has very mild temperature year round. That’s why most homes and buildings in the city don’t contain air-conditioning or heating units. If you are the type of person who always runs a little too hot or a little cold, make sure your hotel has air temperature settings in each room.
Unfortunately, in Addis Ababa there is not a huge awareness and inclusion of buildings to accommodate injuries or disabilities. If you are arriving with a wheel chair, walking impairment, or other mobility challenge, make sure you choose a hotel with ease of entrance, width in rooms, and any other special consideration for your need.
Cheap Hotels in Addis Ababa
Budget travelers interested in cheap hotels in Addis Ababa need to be aware that the industry is very much, “You get what you paid for,” up to a certain level. While it can be tempting to go for a very cheap price, remember that basic standards in your home country most likely aren’t available here. It’s better to pick a reasonable price that has the amenities and standards you are looking for.
Using Hotel Review Platforms to Choose
It’s not neccessary to avoid a hotel because it has a few bad reviews. Every hotel will have some, and if anything it shows that the reviews are authentic and can be trusted.
Try and guage whether the problem was a one time issue or a systematic problem that will impact you. Additionally, check to see if the hotel responded to the negative view. If they did, it is a good sign that the hotel cares for their customers and is actively working to make their service better.
Best Team at Hotels in Addis Ababa
Something always goes wrong when traveling. It comes with the territory. That’s why, more than anything, the level of staff training and hospitality of your hotel makes the most difference. How do you actually tell if the hotel has good, caring staff? One way is to check out the reviews. Another method is to email the hotel before you come with questions about your upcoming trip. A good hotel should respond within 24-48 hours.
Tips for Hotels in Addis Ababa
1. Make a reservation
It’s highly recommend to make your hotel reservation before you come. Addis is home to several African Union summits and other events that can fill up hotels quickly. Plus, many hotels have special offers which give you a discount for booking in advance, and who doesn’t love the chance to save some money?
2. Book an Airport Shuttle
Walking out of Bole International Airport can be overwhelming with taxi drivers clamoring for your attention and the hundreds of other exiting passengers all looking for rides or loved ones. Book a hotel that includes a free airport shuttle. That way the driver can meet you inside the airport with your name on a sign and a stress free ride back to your new home away from home.
How do Hotels in Addis Ababa Compare to Hotels in Other African Cities?
Addis Ababa, just like the Ethiopian culture overall, is very unique. Combine that with the country still being very undeveloped, and you will find that the hotel industry is also very different than other African cities.
According to one expert in African tourism, the biggest differentiator is a lack of brand presence.
For example, by 2022, Addis Ababa is expected to have 30 international brand franchises. To put that in perspective, Tanzania currently has around 50, Kenya has approximately 68, and South Africa has a stagering 430+ branded hotels.
Travelers staying in an international branded hotel shouldn’t notice too many differences in the actual hotel experience– as brands strive to be consistent in each country.
You will of course get a great Ethiopian culture infusion in your hotel with Ethiopian traditional food, local drinks, and special cultural touches. While there are lots of things to do in Addis Ababa, the city is considered more underdeveloped than others (like Nairobi and Johannesburg) so that will also contribute to your experience.
About Best Western Plus Hotel in Addis Ababa
The focus of Ethiopia is changing and a new district is emerging. Contemporary, worldclass, luxurious, diverse; connected to its heritage and to the world. At the heart is Best Western Plus Addis Ababa. With contemporary mix of bespoke art and first class comfort, our hotel is an oasis welcoming business and leisure travers to this most timeless of cities.
Let u share with you why we think you’ll love staying with us at Best Western Plus Hotel in Addis Ababa…
Best Western Plus History
Best Western Plus Addis Ababa is part of an exclusive group of 4000+ independent owned hotels located in the world’s most stylish destinations. Started in 1946 in Phoenix, Arizona with just one hotel, we are proud to be celebrating 70 years of hospitality across 100+ countries.
Best Western Plus Addis Ababa Team
At the helm is newly appointed General Manager, Ivan Luna, who is from the lovely country of Spain. With years of experience in hospitality, he is excited to infuse touches of European elegance with the word-class experience you expect from Best Western Plus.
Our team also has several experts from Turkey, as well as our lovely Ethiopian staff bringing you the world class hospitality this country is known for.
For any questions or comments, please contact our team who will love to assist you.
Where is Best Western Plus Addis Ababa?
Best Western Plus Addis Ababa sits at the intersection of the city’s most important arteries, connected to all business, financial and entertainment activities. It is perfectly placed to enhance all Ethiopia has to offer, and is the idea base from which to explore Addis Ababa.
We are ideally located approximately 1 kilometer away from Bole International Airport. Situated in the Bole neighborhood, Best Western Plus Addis Ababa is next door to the top malls, movie theaters, restaurants and cafes. Within walking distance, is the newly built sports stadium home to athletic events of all nature.
The hotel is just 5 minutes from the European Union by car. The headquarters of the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission and UNECA Conference Center are also within easy reach.
Discover a Host of Nearby Attractions:
- The National Museum
- Red Terror Memorial Museum
- Ethnological Museum
- The Mausoleum of Menelik II
- The National Palace
- Holy Trinity Cathedral
- Medhane Alem Cathedral
- Friendship Business Center
- Edna Mall
- Makush Art Gallery
- Several Other Thing to Do in Addis Ababa
Our rooms are designed for the modern traveler, but also to take advantage of our location and the views across the city. Light, airy, and contemporary, they showcase Addis Ababa at its very best.
The hotel offers an option of five different room types including:
- 104 Standard Rooms
- 48 Deluxe rooms
- 8 Corner Suite Rooms which include a private living room
Guests will enjoy complimentary:
- Power breakfast buffet
- High Speed WIFI
- Airport shuttle service
- Access to the Health Centre
Every room is equipped with:
- Private Balcony
- Wireless Internet Access
- Room Controlled Air Conditioning
- 24 hour room service
- In-Room Safe
- Tea & coffee Maker
- Double Glazed Windows (for your peace and quiet)
What to eat when staying at Best Western Plus Hotel
Our restaurants provide an experience of world class gastronomy, from Turkish contemporary cuisine to international menu. Our bars offer environments that are lively and social or calm and romantic. Whatever the occasion and whatever the mood, our guests can find the perfect setting in one of our three restaurants and bars, plus a patisserie- each offering a choice of atmosphere, cuisine, and styles.
Each space is inspired and named after a location in Addis Ababa:
….offers indoor and outdoor seating, Ferenssaye Legasseion is a cafe, bar, and restaurant all in one. It’s an inviting and lively setting. The kind of place where interesting conversation just naturally flows. It also features the most incredible happy hour in all of Addis Ababa.
…is the comfort and class you crave while traveling. Situated on our first floor, our international menu boasts food that will satisfy all guests. For dinner, enjoy our cultural touches that feature a different international cuisine each night.
…is where it gets really fun. Set on top of the 10th floor, the large open window designs give you a beautiful view of the city and surrounding hills. This is the perfect place for a romantic date, a large group outing, or to catch up on your favorite sports with our large screen tv’s. Janmeda Sports Bar opens full time this September 2019!
…is our pasty shop located on the ground floor beside our lobby. The Ethiopian cuisine is delicious, but what it lacks is desserts. That’s where we come in. Indulge your sweet tooth with the most mouth-watering, out-of-this world desserts.
Our Head Chef
…is from Turkey. He has “wowed” guests all over the world with his special recipes and Turkish influence.
Other Dining Options
Guests wanting to explore the city and grab a bite to eat outside the hotel can enjoy the fabulous nearby restaurants. Authentic Italian, Arabic, and Asian food are just some of the options. There is also several tasty Ethiopian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants nearby. If you’re craving something familiar, Pizza Hut is located directly across the street.
Nightlife in Addis Ababa
Guests wanting to enjoy the lively Addis Ababa nightlife will find us perfectly situated near lounges, bars, and clubs. Most are within walking distance or under 5 minutes away by taxi.
Our Health Center
We have space to relax, to exercise, and to be pampered.
The Best Western Plus Addis Ababa Health Center embraces the philosophy of living well, our sublime spa enriches and renews the body, mind, and soul.
Offering professional services coupled with personal attention in an exclusive environment. Indulge in an uplifting rejuvenating experience with comprehensive range of offerings for both men and women. It includes choice of sauna, steam, and massage. Keep fit and have fun at our state of the art 24 hour gym supported by our personal trainer.
Our Social Impact
Best Western Plus is proud to create jobs and employment opportunities with competitive and fair wages in Addis Ababa. Our aim is to grow with societies and communities in which we take part.
Just one of the ways we achieve this is by highlighting locals artists and changemakers. For example, on World Photography Day, we are honored to partner with Aziz Ahmed, a local Ethiopian & National Geographic photographer, who has spent the past two decades raising awareness for endangered species like Ethiopia’s endemic black lions.
We also work hard on reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to an eco-friendly environment.
Best Western Plus Hotel in Addis Ababa
Our promise to you is convenience, simplicity, exceptional value and supreme service. Whether you want to meet, dine, or unwind, the hotel provides the finest amenities and services for you needs at heart.
The choice of hotels in Addis Ababa is just as wide and diverse as this magnificent city. Wherever you end up, we home you have a wonderful trip!