Al Mukalla Holiday Inn
An oasis of luxury in Yemen, owned by the Bin Laden Family who are originally from this area. Don’t expect this hotel to meet Holiday Inn worldwide standards although it’s the best place to stay in Al Mukalla and one of the best hotels in Yemen.
While only 7 years old, it’s already showing signs of age due to lack or proper maintenance (a common problem in Yemen). The carpet in the elevators and common areas wasn’t cleaned the whole time I was there. The bathroom fixtures are tired and the tubs have chips of paint coming off. There is a small swimming pool surrounded by a large bare terrace overlooking the sea (view of tops of trees). The beach area is nice. There is a well appointed dive (the receptionist can arrange diving) and fishing shed with toilets, showers and a rinse tank, but that too is not kept clean on a regular basis and the door of the toilet is rotting and has not yet been replaced. That being said, maintenance appears within minutes to replace light bulbs, electric sockets in your room should you have a problem. Each room boats a small balcony, but the wall around it is so high, you will be looking at concrete if you try and sit down.
I stayed here on a half board basis and there was a good selection of Arabic and Western food from breakfast and lunch. The lunch a la carte menu is a bit pricy and the Western food lack luster--far better to stick to Arabic mezze.
There is Internet access on the 5th floor rooms only and two computers in the business center (24 hour access for a reasonable 600 rials an hour).
The receptionists are very efficient and keep the place humming—most of the rest of the staff have little or no English. Laundry is a real problem. They don’t promptly come and pick up laundry no matter how many times you call. The best thing is to leave your laundry at reception. Same with delivery—ask reception to have them deliver this as they won’t deliver automatically. Also, they don’t have an effective system of keeping track of what belongs to who, so make sure you get all your clothes and don’t have someone else’s before you sign the receipt. The hotel has few guests (a few long term expats and Saudi expats) so this should not, however, be a big problem unless you are part of a group.
The hotel is a half hour’s drive from the airport and 10-15 minutes drive to the Mukalla city center.
The staff are lovely and will go out of their way to help you.
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