June 2014
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Hotel Review: Intercontinental Hotel, Addis Ababa


26-Jul-2011 04:35, SONY DSC-S950, 2.5, 5.8mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

Kevin’s take:

This is one of the “bigger” hotels in Addis Ababa, and is located next to a major road in an area where there is a lot of development. It is promoted as a five star hotel, and for this country it very well may be.

What I liked

Excellent service.

The staff was very courteous and showed a high degree of professionalism. A large staff keeps the place very clean, and they are very willing to give you advice on the local area, help you out if you need services such as a doctor or prescription medication, as well as point out where the local attractions are.  Everyone from the security to the reception, waiters, and cleaning staff are always smiling and greet you when you walk by.

Great amenities

There is a heated pool on the roof, live music downstairs at night, a gym, complimentary WIFI access and newspapers, and complimentary breakfast which is far superior to your traditional Continental Breakfast. The freshly squeezed juice in particular is great!

What was not as great.

Internet access

There is WIFI available in the lobby, but it would be nice if it extended into the actual rooms for cell phones. There is, however, an Ethernet jack in each room. The speed of the Internet is pretty bad, but this is not the hotel’s fault.


Again, this is not the hotel’s fault, but the electricity goes out quite often. The hotel has backup generators so this is usually not more than a minor inconvenience.

Made for businesspeople, not tourists

They don’t even have a map on site, something which the nearby Jupiter hotel was willing to provide. The hotel doesn’t expect people to walk outside but rather take a taxi. Taxi rates directly in front of the hotel are a little overpriced compared to what you can find nearby, but if you’re willing to brave the streets then you must also be ready to deal with the traffic, dirty and broken sidewalks, the beggars and poverty, the people who will try and be your “guide” or, denying that, simply want to “learn English” but 90% of the time really just want your money, and finally the occasional pickpocket.

It is not the people’s fault; if you were in that situation you would seize the opportunity to convince someone to help you out, too. Unfortunately a few people try to engage in scams and tricks, and some will try to pickpocket. Addis Ababa is not a physically dangerous city though, and most people are only in it for some food, clothes, and money to buy them new shoes or a pair of glasses. This is Africa, and this is something you need to adjust to.

Anne’s take (also available on Trip Advisor):

I have read a lot of negative reviews about this place, but I don’t see how they could write such things. I stayed here for 3 weeks for a business trip, and the service was wonderful. Anything you needed, they would bring it for you. I was very sick for almost a week, and they called a doctor for me, brought me fresh juice, and they even brought up breakfast free of charge. The room service was good; I ate in most of time, especially after I got sick from eating something outside the hotel. The cleaning maids were friendly and smiled at you everytime you passed by them. They would start making up the room very early in the morning, but I would already be gone to work by the time they got to my room. If you didn’t want to be disturbed, then all you had to do was leave the sign on your door.

The gym was very clean and big enough with a variety of machines. The view was very nice from the 8th floor (I requested a room on the upper level which was not a problem to get). The pool was nice on the top floor. I never did get a chance to go in, but I did touch the water and it was very warm even on a very cold night.

The breakfast in the morning was very good and plentiful. It was included in the price so I took advantage of it every morning. Fresh juices, hot and cold meals were available.

The open concept design of the hotel with its glass elevator doors is very interesting and clever. The bad thing about it is the echoing sounds that elevate all the way to the top, but that takes getting used to and eventually, you don’t even notice anymore.

The only thing I can say that was a bit hassling was the security at the front doors, as they would ask to search your bags everyday, even if they knew you. But I suppose it’s better to have that than not to.

All in all, for the price of $140 US a night, it’s comfortable, friendly and has all you need, especially in a place like Addis Ababa, where just outside the doors, your comfort zone vanishes completely.

I haven’t stayed at the Sheraton or the Hilton, but the Intercontinental is a good value for the price you pay.


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