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“Mixed bag”
Review of Ghion Hotel

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Ghion Hotel
Ranked #91 of 124 Hotels in Addis Ababa
Reviewed March 12, 2012

The Ghion definitely has both pro’s and con’s. The pro’s: it’s very safe, set within a big, beautiful garden with lots of birds and protected from traffic noise. My room was large and had comfortable beds, a balcony, and a TV with both CNN and BBC World. Good wifi is available in every room (for a fee). The hotel has an excellent traditional restaurant with a great show featuring music, song, and dances from different parts of Ethiopia. There’s an ATM off the lobby along with several fairly good souvenir shops and a business center.
On the other hand, the whole hotel is very shabby, and the cleaning staff, although very nice, did a poor job, especially in my bathroom. I tried giving a daily tip – it didn’t help. I upped the tip, but that didn’t help either. My toilet had to be fixed every day. Most of the time the water didn’t get hot until the end of a shower. A couple of days only scalding water came out of both the hot and cold taps. There was an uncovered electrical outlet in my room, which was separated from the room next door only by a thin wall with a locked door (clearly a suite divided in two). The food at the "western" restaurant was very poor.
Breakfast was OK, especially when you could get a freshly made omelette to order. Service could be very slow, however. The staff at the reception and in the lobby bar varied between being surly and very pleasant.
I stayed at the Ghion with a group, and all of us had a mixed experience. Some didn’t get TV reception at all, whereas others were pleased with the standard of cleanliness.
In other words, the Ghion is a mixed bag. I’m not sure I would want to stay there again.

Room Tip: Try to get a room at the back of the hotel, as there's a lot of noise from people and vehicles i...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Catwoman02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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157 - 163 of 270 reviews

Reviewed February 25, 2012

I know this hotel has had very mixed reviews but we thought it was great - US$117 a night for three and we were after gardens, pool, space etc and certainly couldn't afford the Hilton or Sheraton. Ok, there is some bumbling - first they said we had breakfast included, then not, then instead offering a 15% discout, then back to free breakfast. And, significantly, not mentioning that the bill had to be paid in US dollars unless you have receipts for exchanging foreign cash to Birr. However, when we looked at the first room and grumbled slightly as it was a double with three beds squashed in, the room manager automatically upgraded us to a corner 'suite' with separate lounge (it was definatley low season). The beds were comfortable, everything was spotlessly clean (albeit tired and dated), the pool area was great with lots of local families there for a day out. Admittedly, the food was patchy but it's a great location and easy walking distance to some great restaurants. For some reason, most of the staff were rather grumpy to say the least - esp in the bar and restaurant - and why they insist on silver service given the standard of food is beyond me. That said, I'd definately recommend it. The last tip is that the lobby bar plays host to a number of prostitutes, sitting quietly, drinking a sprite all evening. But they were harmless, seemed to know all the staff, and weren't an annoyance.

Room Tip: corner rooms have huge wrap around balconies
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank TWP64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2012

The strongest positive that the Ghion has is its gardens. If you are into birds as we were it is a great place to start a trip to Ethiopia. We saw over 20 species while casually walking around the grounds. The room that we had and its furnishings was adequate but if you wanted to take a shower it was about a 10 minute wait for hot waterOur unit was in a group of bungalows set apart from the main building and this probably explained the long wait for hot water. Service at the hotel dining room was good, but the food was at best adequate. It is best to not rely on a credit card here, or in other areas of Ethiopia, since connections are often down. Must hotels will change US currency as well as pounds and euros at very close to the international rate

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Art H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2012

Stayed at the Ghion at the start and end of a two week tour of the Ethiopian Highlands. Although in the city centre the hotel is back from the busy road and set in well-kept gardens. All very peaceful, secure and serene! Reception and restaurant areas are spacious. Reception and porter staff are efficient, cheerful and helpful.The problem is with the rooms, bathrooms and with the restaurant service. Our bedroom was very small. Electrical fittings looked dangerous. The TV did not work. Plumbing is a disaster ( choice of scalding or cold water ) as mixer broken. Shower hose did not reach to the wall bracket. Toilet seat was loose and cistern did not fill. Major refurbishment is urgently required! In fairness, the towels were new and fluffy.
Service in the restaurants was very slow especially at breakfast time. There were lots of staff standing around but no coffee available. Scope for a time and motion study and some training here!
Despite all of my negative comments the hotel has a certain faded charm.
Take care when walking outside the hotel. A group of children mixed in with some of our group and attempted to snatch necklaces and bags and pick pockets. Leave ALL jewellry at home and use the hotel safe books for other valuables.

Room Tip: I'm not sure there is such a thing.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank peartree69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2012

It's hard to say whether this place was ever great. Truth is, everything about it now is average. As part of a tour group, I stayed in 4 different rooms during our 2 week journey round Ethiopia. Two rooms at the start (the lock broke on my first one!), one room in the middle and one as we were leaving. They were all virtually identical in layout and general shabbiness.
Buffet breakfast was OK but didn't get re-stocked unless you asked - and then only grudgingly. Which leads me to the overall service, which for the most part I found to be downright indifferent and rude. I arrived one day before the rest of my group. Until they arrived, I was charging food and drink to my room - standard practice you'd think? When the front desk staff realised that I was now part of a group, I was no longer allowed to sign for extras, cash only, and when I went out for a walk, they refused to give back my key until I settled the previous bill. I was all set for a stand up row until they backed off.
As others have said, the gardens are fantastic - see my photos.
There are a couple of decent restaurants close by: turn left at the end of the drive for Chinese, turn right for Italian at The Cottage (longer walk). But be careful - one of our group was mugged only 100m from the hotel. I know it can happen in any big city but these kids are well organised, quick and brazen.
Final note - I couldn;t get the wi-fi to work after buying a very expensive voucher.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank malcognito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2012

The Ghion has a certain iconic status - and therefore feels it does not have to work too hard. It is set in huge grounds, ones which are splendid and, for birdwatchers, a great treat - although we did get told off for looking at trees over the wall as that was the grounds of the President's palace! We were given a suite in a block near the main building. The bedroom was large and well-appointed with a good-sized bathroom, sadly with lukewarm water and a shower curtain which allowed water to spray across the room. Attached was a sitting room with comfortable chairs and TV - and another bathroom. Clearly this had been used as a bedroom in the past. There are three restaurants/bars and they varied in quality. A lunch was poor, slow to arrive and, for once, insufficient in quantity. Supper was better - in a different restaurant, but chilled tomato and avocado soup became hot tomato soup! A set menu lunch the next day was very good, and an evening meal OK. In general, could do better. Service was poor to good. The whole place needs a good shake-up.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Diomedia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2012

I've stayed at the Ghion several times over the years and I like it. It bears its scars as a government run operation clearly but has its charms. It is safe and secure and stands in its own grounds. The common areas are a little dated but very clean and well maintained. There are some very helpful individuals running commercial units (bookshops, etc,) in the lobby. The rooms are dated but I've always found them immaculately clean, bathrooms too. I've found you sometimes need to run the hot water for a while before you get a hot stream but I've never not had one, I'm sure it's possible problems sometimes happen. The Breakfast buffet is good and they will prepare eggs to order. Some staff are better than others (some are highly professional by any standard), but many are charming if a little slow, English (and other languages), is not universally spoken, this can lead to misunderstandings. There are time consuming paper-work obsessed routines to paying bills, this could be improved. The grounds are outstanding, lovely and worth strolling in. The Ethiopian restaurant beyond the somewhat arid European style restaurant room is very nice, sometimes has music and dancing, and the food is excellent, eat there (this rule applies to most places in Ethiopia), or there are many modern Ethiopian eateries nearby along with a Chinese restaurant around the corner (banks too, Dashen banks have ATMs), on the square. This hotel is fine if sometimes a little odd (so is Ethiopia), I commend it unreservedly anyway.
I'm glad someone here mentions the nocturnal roaring Lion, no one ever believes me.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Windowseatview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ghion Hotel

Address: Ras Desta Damtue Avenue | Around National stadium, Addis Ababa 1643, Ethiopia
Location: Ethiopia > Addis Ababa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#23 Spa Hotel in Addis Ababa
Price Range: $50 - $55 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Ghion Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 195
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ghion hotel which is popularly known as "the Garden palace hotel of east Africa" is located in the heart of down town Addis Ababa in spacious verdant compound,adjacent to what was once the jubilee palace of emperor Haile Selassie I. Opened in 1951, the Ghion hotel has for years distinguished itself as the hotel where heads of state or governments and other VIPs stayed. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ghion Hotel Addis Ababa

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