This hotel is better than the one next door, but by saying so it does not mean that it is great. There is a better one a short walk up the road towards the causeway leading to the old town called Dahlak Hotel, which is owned by some Italian company.
The Central Hotel is government run and it somehow shows. It is rather sad looking with a choice of motel style rooms up the front near the car park and half a dozen seaside rooms. We stayed in a seaside room and paid a little more. Our room had an extremely noisy aircon and a quiet ceiling fan. We were happy to use the fan only with leaving the window shutters slightly open to let some cool air in at night.
The room was cleaned daily, but what can the housekeeper do about a place that is virtually disintegrating in front of her. The bed was actually very good with clean linen and the room was clean too, but the various bits of furniture were in the end of their useful life, even by the local standards.
The electrical installation was a range of styles of power outlets collected from all over the world. Most were falling out of the wall and either not compatible or not working altogether despite using all possible combinations of adaptors that one could imagine to get a battery charger going.
The bathroom was another experience with everything one looked at not working properly, ranging from leaking toilet pan, dripping taps, pools of water on the floor not draining due to incorrectly sloping floor and a very interesting shower plumbing. And no, there is no hot water, but what for in this climate. One could go on and on, but the saddest thing is that this town has no working water mains and water has to be brought in by a tanker. And that happens daily since most of the water is wasted through bad plumbing.
If possible aim for the last room in the seaside row, which is bigger and has a very good view over the sea. The other rooms are facing a courtyard with hardly any view of the water.
The courtyard tends to fill up in the evening with people sitting on chairs taken from the inside and watching a rather large tv for most of the night, often quite loud. There is really nothing much else to do in this town and if there is, like consuming food and drinks, then for most that would be well out of their range.
At night the meals, which are very tasty traditional style, are served in the courtyard as well as along the edge of the water which is rather nice.
The lounge is quite comfy but with dated seating and décor, quite retro really. The staff were doing their job, kind of, with becoming quite friendly after getting to know us as “regulars”.
One could attribute the state of the affairs to the overall state of the economy and the slow pace of rebuilding after a recent conflict and I think my review may sound a bit harsh, but overall this place was actually ok, after one got used to all the quirks and limitations. It felt like slipping back to the 70’s within the African context.
I think I have become quite hardened by my experiences of Eritrean tourism industry, so despite my long list of what was not quite to my liking I would stay again if visiting Massawa since this would be the best deal. Well, for now.