The Hilton Addis Abeba is the granddaddy of US-inspired hoteliers in Addis. It’s located on a steep hill and it is in close neighborhood to the Radisson Addis Abeba (Review), Intercontinental Addis Abeba (that one is fake and not part of IHG) and also rather close to the Hyatt Regency Addis Abeba (Review).
Check-in was one of the slowest and most rude ever. There were three agents (apparently it wasn’t a busy time) and my agent was wordless, cold, devoid of words and just plain bitchy when she muttered something. I asked to speak to the duty manager pretty quickly who came by and was slow to reply but a much more pleasant person to deal with.
I asked for a suite upgrade – something that is always shaky with my Hilton Diamond status. I was told the hotel is oversold and no rooms at all are available. I went to hilton.com and asked why every single room category was still on sale for that night and I was told the website does NOT reflect actual room inventory. This was the exact same reply I got at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur (Review) and several suites would open up. The duty manager insisted to accompany me to my room. Too bad two out of three elevators were broken but she offered to take me using the delivery elevator upstairs.
The room was decent but the balcony had dozens of old cigarette buds – I can’t see how housekeeping can not see that. Seconds later a suite just opened up – huh, luck would have it and the suite was indeed spacious but in a rather sorry condition. It seemed easily 45 years since the last refurbishment. The bed was in good condition though and so was the Premium Wifi at 20 Mbit.
However, almost nothing else was even up to Motel 6 standard. What was great though was the lovely view over Addis.
I went down to the gorgeous outdoor area which was teeming with locals making use of the cheap day passes. This can add charm and liveliness to a hotel or it can be simply too much – I found it to be the latter on this warm Sunday. The pool does not look like much but is quite wonderful – run with geothermal waters. The water is really warm which helps given Addis’s odd weather of heat in the sun and freezing temperatures in the shade.
The tennis courts are in excellent upkeep and free to use. Rackets and even tennis partners can be organized for just a few dollars.
With warming spirits, I set sails for the Executive Lounge. To my surprise, it must have had some refurbishment and looked very nice. The biggest surprise are the stunning views over Addis – quite amazing.
While the property is quite far off from the road the shoddy windows seem to amplify sound instead of keeping it out. I counted 25 different dogs barking loudly at night. I called down to verify times for breakfast at the Executive Lounge and was told 11 AM. This being a Monday morning I inquired again and was told 10.30 AM for sure.
You will not be suspired to hear that at the time I went up at 10.01 AM the breakfast service was being removed already. Shocker.
The Hilton runs a convenient airport shuttle for $10 (one-way) as well.
In sum, I’m split on the property. The location has magical views and completely removes you from the pollution of Addis and the pool area is fantastic. Also, the super-fast Internet and solid food at the lounge were a highlight. However most of the staff is plain rude and hapless and the rooms (incl. the ‘Executive Floor’) are several decades past a much-needed renovation. Next time, I’ll do what the locals do – stay somewhere cheap and come by and buy a cheap day-pass ($10) to enjoy the pool!
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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