This is my 6th or 7th stay in Hargeisa since APR13. The Ambassador has been my first choice and I have come to regard it as a second home and many of the staff as friends.
I stayed at the 'other' hotel downtown due to the Amb being full and was relieved that after 3 nights I was able to move to the Ambassador where I was welcomed and immediately felt at ease.
Location is within 5 minutes of the airport 9free shuttle if you pre-book) and on the edge of a plateau overlooking the city. This gives it a nice airy feel as well as a cooling breeze. Views out to the distant twin hills or 'Breasts of Hargeisa', which are worth a trip to for some exercise and a wander about the desert. Book SPU and support though.
It's a large site and offers standard rooms, suites or villas, depending on your needs and price range. My standard room is en suite, comfy bed, hot water, steady power and free-wifi. It's cleaned daily to a high standard and laundry is returned pressed same day if you hand it in before 0800, laundry costs extra.
The lobby offers comfy chairs, a big screen TV (with BPL footie) * wi-fi, and a choice of snacks, cold drinks and decent tea and coffee. It can get a bit noisy (esp on a Friday) as it's a large space so business meets can be a problem. There is a business centre with pay by the hour PCs / printer / scanners. A cash machine is installed but non operational at present. The staff on The Lobby are excellent.
For private meets you can hire various sizes of work-rooms / offices all the way up to large halls, where the locals hold weddings or workshops / conferences. These can get noisy!
The restaurant is in the terraced garden and offers a good selection of meats and fish in various styles e.g. grilled / kebab etc. Most is good and tasty and served after free veggie soup & bread. Staff are attentive. Obv no pork or alcohol. There is room service for a small extra fee.
Breakfast is a choice of cereals / porridge / fresh fruit / eggs / tea and coffee with nice fresh OJ for a bit extra. It's nice to sit outside on the patio after brekky with a cuppa and start the day slowly : ) Staff who run the breakfast service are friendly and helpful.
A Taxi into the city and back is about $20, the Reception will order a service they trust but be sure to agree a total fee / time before you get in the cab. I would not recommend going into the city after dark but it is possible to walk about during the day, although white people are still pointed at as a curiosity and be prepared to pay non-local prices if you want to shop. But the locals are mainly friendly (some are eccentric) and many speak some English, so smile a lot and buy some fruit off the stalls. The mangoes are lovely.
The Ambassador compound is fronted by Airport Road that runs down into town with armed security provided by SPU. Barriers and good stand off all around the site and it is possible to do some shuttles in the secure road to the rear. No safe room. The on site gym is only adequate and the tennis court is broken surfaced but can be used for a bit of exercise / sun.
The only downside is that, in common with many hotels that are open plan, tiled in style, noise carries a long way so when someone closes a door or moves furniture, everybody knows about it. The keys fobs are large metal slabs and these clang against the doors at all hours. The cleaning ladies are friendly and efficient but do start early. There is a mosque on site and one across the road so you will get to hear the many calls to prayer through the loudspeakers from 0430 on. So if you must have peace and quiet to work / rest, please bear this in mind and bring h/phones & earplugs.
The Ambassador aims high 'to be the best' and gives it a good shot, they are always improving, training and listen to suggestions. Costs are reasonable (each to his own and if you are a long-stay / regular, then ask for a discount??) food good and service is attentive, with special mention to Muqhtar and Mustafa for their great service.
It's a popular hotel with both locals and visitors and it's my first choice. Book early or be disappointed.
Plans to expand later this year will mean building works so check first.
P.S. There is a rumour that Ethiopian have / will started flying regularly direct from Addis into Hargeisa now that the runway has some asphalt on it!!
- Also Known As:
- Ambassador Hotel Hargeisa Somalia/Hargeysa