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All reviewsbole roadbig supermarkethigh stepreliable wifithe hotel is conveniently locatedbusiness triphotel restaurantaddis standardsethiopian dishesrooms are cleaneach morningedna mallexcellent hotelsaunaairportsummithairdryer
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Reviewed March 27, 2012

Still making the transition from a socialist economy, Ethiopia now has a growing number of privately-operated hotels and guest houses. Compared with the old state-operated enterprises (such as the old Ghion Hotel, which has some of the best gardens in the city, by the way) these new establishments are very entrepreneurial, which has both positive and negative aspects.

The Wassamar is a good example of this, being a new building wedged into a tiny space along a very busy road (Bole Rd, also known as Africa Ave.) and built over a supermarket (really just a largish grocery store); the entrance is so close to another hotel (KZ Hotel) that you need to look twice before entering to make sure where you are. Since there isn't room for a lobby on the ground floor, it is two floors up, and designed around an attractive atrium. A lot is packed into a small space: several computers with free Internet form the "business center" on one edge of the lobby, whose other edges are the entrance to a well-equipped fitness center, a bar, the entrance to the restaurant, the reception desk, and the elevators (lifts).

Most of the floors have (free) WiFi, but I found the connection unreliable, and used my own cable to connect to the provided Ethernet outlet. When the power goes off (frequently) a generator takes over, but the routers need to reset and interruptions are common.

I was initially given a single room which was tiny, had a door which did not close completely, and was located over a very noisy street. I was then offered a suite, which was quite a bit larger and the additional price seemed a reasonable deal (more on that later). The furnishings are well below international standard: somewhat clunky furniture with chipped corners or veneer comping apart, a badly located water heater in the bathroom whose power cable hangs just over the toilet, plumbing fittings which are a knock-off of name brands but poorly-fitting; and a high step just inside the bathroom entrance which seems a safety hazard. (Possibly there because the bathtub is too deep to fit into the floor otherwise? Not sure...); very dim lighting and a very noisy exhaust fan. The bed was reasonably comfortable and an oldish TV is in each room (living area as well as bedroom).

The cleaning staff are friendly and thorough,and laundry service is fast and inexpensive, quite unusual for hotel service. The minibar in the room has a basic selection (bottled water, soft drinks, local beer) and prices again were very reasonable. There is no A/C, but since Addis is seldom very hot this is not a big problem. There is no swimming pool, and indeed no outdoor area apart from a terrace adjoining the restaurant, which is right above the noisy road.

Prices in the restaurant are also inexpensive, though quality and presentation are iffy. Only a couple of Ethiopian dishes are on the menu (spicy portions of meat - "tibs" - in spicy berbera sauce, served with injera); after overcooked pasta and a soggy main dish salad, I stuck to the local dishes. At breakfast (included in the price) there is a counter in the dining area with a cook preparing eggs and waffles, but unfortunately no exhaust fan. Selection of breads and rolls was poor, but sliced fruit was excellent (especially papaya). Other breakfast items on offer I found completely unappetizing (rice with corn, boiled eggs fried in a crust, sausages of dubious color). A couple of blocks away is a Kaldi coffee shop (with a knock-off of the green Starbucks logo) which serves vastly better coffee and even freshly-made pancakes, which were far more appealing.

At the time I made the reservation I was told I was being offered a special corporate discount rate of $95 ($160 for a suite). At check-out I learned that this is in fact the "rack rate" and there is no such corporate discount. The credit card reader was out of service, and this caused another issue with the desk staff having to manually process a payment sheet (backed by a photocopy of my passport). The free shuttle to the airport is a useful service, but the 20-seat bus seemed a waste for a single passenger.

As the local market matures one can expect a shakeout and some realignment of pricing; a Novotel is under construction along the same road, which could offer stiff competition at the middle of the international market, while the new Radisson is said to be giving the Sheraton a real challenge at the upper end; the old Hilton has been allowed to deteriorate, though a renovation is promised "any day now." The state-owned Ghion has unique grounds but lags under bureaucratic management and quirky furnishings similar to the Wassamar. The Wassamar seems to be thriving due to over-priced alternatives, but I doubt that it can continue to be competitive as better-furnished and maintained hotels appear in a similar price range.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled on business
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5  Thank fredswartz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2012

A very comfortable, reasonably priced hotel in a great location – close to restaurants, bars and airport, and right above a supermarket. The rooms are small but clean. The staff are friendly and efficient; the breakfast was tasty. There is good internet and a business centre for those without laptops. We did not try the restaurant or gym.

Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank S B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2012

As many others have said, ever helpful and courteous staff. Facilities pretty good on the whole. Gym equipment worked and plenty of it. Restaurant had a reasonable selection of cosmopolitan recipes. Good bed. But loads of bits chipped or not working right. But this seems to be the norm in Ethiopia. I'd stay again if I return to Addis. Went out of town for a couple of nights and the place there was a bit dearer and no better. Best ask for a room at the back, no view but quieter. Wifi just about reaches most rooms. There is a wired connection but it only worked in one of three rooms I used...

  • Stayed: March 2012
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1  Thank BargaTim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2012

Wassamar hotel located in a place close to every thing you need, good rooms, good WIFI internet, room service also good but limited to 9pm (maybe 10pm not sure). comfortable beds. It good place for business travelers.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled on business
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5  Thank Resat_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2012

We spent two nights at the Wassamar at the end of January - during the African Union Summit. That being said, the rooms were very overpriced. However, when I asked them what their "usual" rates were, they were VERY competitive and reasonable.

We spent a couple of nights previously at the KZ hotel - which is right next door to the Wassamar - and the Wassamar just blows it away on almost every level. The lobby at the Wassamar is unlike a lobby you will find at almost any hotel in Addis. It's very "Western", in that it is all open up to the 8th floor. The staff was nice enough to put us on the 8th floor each night, and it was almost like we had the whole floor to itself.

You should definitely request the 8th floor when you visit.

The wireless internet was great - very fast and a router on each floor so there was no chance of not having a strong connection.

All in all, the finish at the hotel in the rooms, lobby, restaurant, etc. was very good for an Addis hotel (that is not the Sheraton, ha). The gym was almost as good as a gym you'd pay for monthly in the States, too.

Room Tip: Ask for the 8th floor. It is the quietest and most secluded.
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank EconometricsTX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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