Best hotels and hostels in Ethiopia

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Simien Mountains National Park

    Limalimo Lodge

    Now here's something really special – one of the best places to stay in Ethiopia. The location is the best in the Simiens, with incredible views from the terrace; the architect-designed look is clean-lined and contemporary, and the lodge supports local development projects and was built by members of the local community. Rooms are supremely comfortable with massive windows and lovely day beds. Local building materials (eucalyptus poles in the ceiling, rammed-earth soils for the walls to keep the heat in) were used throughout. Meals are also outstanding, and there are plenty of activities on offer, from half-day visits to the local village (per person US$5) to early-morning yoga, traditional Ethiopian foot massages and walks in the vicinity for fine views and the chance to see five primate species. A US$10 conservation fee (included in the room rate) goes towards a newly built local school. Shiferaw and Julia are warm, welcoming and knowledgeable hosts.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray

    Wukro Lodge

    Finally nearing completion during our recent visit, Wukro Lodge has been worth the wait. The rooms feature traditional designs – split levels like many local homes, walls carved from the rock like the region's churches, traditional building materials and even 'soil' ceilings – and all have fabulous views over the surrounding valleys. Add in eminently reasonable prices and we're already hooked. But it gets better. There's a large pool in the shape of the Ethiopian map, a restaurant with sweeping panoramas, a spa and steam bath and a small area given over to local female artisans producing traditional crafts. The owner, a former chemist, also plans an on-site microbrewery…

  • Top ChoiceLodging in The Western Highlands

    Negash Resort

    Negash Resort is probably the best hotel in western Ethiopia. Accommodation comes in a range of styles, from tribally decorated rondavels to stylish rooms in the ‘Addis Ababa’ block. The service is excellent, there’s a decent restaurant serving European and Ethiopian dishes (mains from Birr120) and there’s a cool bar situated halfway up a graceful old tree. It’s all centred on a swimming-pool complex fed by a hot spring (during quiet times they might empty the pool) and surrounded by lush gardens that are home to all manner of birds, monkeys, tree hyraxes and dik-dik. The restaurant can also prepare a picnic for you to take to Wenchi.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray

    Korkor Lodge

    Set on a rise southwest of Megab, this lovely place has stone cottages built from local materials (sandstone walls, olive-wood floors, eucalyptus ceilings) and with fabulous views of the surrounding mountains. Luigi and Françoise are warm and knowledgeable hosts and while the place was a work-in-progress when we visited, it's already a fine choice and will just get better with time. As part of the project, they have planted 4500 trees and when they mature this place will be a real oasis. There are also plans for wi-fi and most of the energy already comes from sustainable sources. The turn-off is just before the road to Maryam Korkor as you come from Megab.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Southern Ethiopia

    Bale Mountain Lodge

    What a find! This exquisite lodge, a favourite with nature lovers, is set in the Harenna Forest at an altitude of 2400m. It features three well-proportioned stone cottages and five rustically chic 'forest cottages' in a lush property. They're all sensibly furnished and have views of Mt Gushuralle. Another plus is the cosy restaurant, which serves excellent Western dishes. The ethos here is laid-back, ecological and activity-oriented. Prices include one guided activity (birdwatching, walks to a nearby waterfall or to Mt Gushuralle) per day. Game drives cost extra; knowledgable guides will take you to the Sanetti Plateau for some serious wolf-spotting.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Eastern Ethiopia

    Doho Lodge

    If you’re looking to rehabilitate your travel-worn body and mind, a surprisingly relaxing retreat is this small lodge just outside the northeast park boundary. Opened in 2014, Doho Lodge feels wonderfully secluded, with nine well-designed, Afar-style cottages on a low ridge overlooking a tiny reed-fringed lake. Food (Birr90 to Birr160) is a plus and is served in an atmospheric open-air restaurant with top-notch views. There's electricity in the evening only. Activities include swimming, boating on the lake, bathing in a pair of artificial pools fed by hot springs, wildlife watching, guided walks and village visits.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Addis Ababa

    Itegue Taitu Hotel

    Appear in the dream of an empress! Built at the whim of Empress Taitu in 1907, and nearly burned down in 2015 (most of the rooms survived), this is the oldest hotel in Addis: the main building is virtually a museum piece full of beautiful old furniture and high ceilings. The rooms upstairs in the main building are large and easily the best. The newer block contains a wide range of rooms, including some passable doubles. There are plenty of facilities, a lovely garden in which breakfast is served and an excellent restaurant. All up it offers a cash-strapped overlander a classy experience for very little coin.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Southern Ethiopia

    Buska Lodge

    By far the best place to stay in the Lower Omo Valley, Buska has well-built, stone-and-thatch green tukuls and rooms amid plenty of trees and flowers. It's ideal for camping as well; the campsite also has ‘islands’ with concrete pads, thatched roofs and beds, and there are excellent facilities. It’s east of town, 1km off the Weyto road. Another drawcard is the widely acclaimed restaurant (mains Birr60 to Birr120), which provides an enjoyable dining experience with well-executed food. Massage is available. The generator runs from 6.30am to 8am and from 6.30pm to 11pm.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Bahir Dar

    Kuriftu Resort & Spa

    There’s lots of new luxe lodging going up in Bahir Dar, but this attractive spot will surely remain one of the best. Kuriftu’s large, refined stone-and-wood cottages are filled with lovely furnishings and artistic touches. Be sure to request a lake-view room: they hardly cost any extra. The service is excellent and the shady grounds ooze relaxation. It also has presidential suites. When we asked if you had to be a president to stay in one, they replied, ' all of our guests are presidents'. Nice.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Southern Ethiopia

    Aregash Lodge

    The only thing of interest in Yirgalem (ይርጋለም), Aregash Lodge is one of Ethiopia’s most lauded lodges. The 16 Sidamo-inspired thatched huts are rustically plush with bamboo furniture and lots of space, while the grounds are home to 100-plus species of bird and black-and-white colobus. Hyenas come to feed during the evening coffee ceremony. The excellent buffet meals, with vegies from the garden, cost Birr260. Walks to local villages are available. It's outrageous value.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Gonder

    Lodge du Chateau

    Doing things its own way, this owner-managed spot next to the Royal Enclosure has the friendliest service in town, attention to detail and a real commitment to community involvement. The rooms are nicely decorated and have good mattresses, renovated bathrooms and Gonder's best breakfast served in a dining room–lounge perched high to make the best of the valley views. Ask about its innovative local excursions. It also has a small book exchange and sells its own honey.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Arba Minch

    Paradise Lodge

    This upmarket lodge staring straight at the national park’s ‘Bridge of God’ features comfortable Konso-inspired huts (many of which have lake views) built from stone and wood; the most sought-after have a terrace right on the clifftop and cost the same. Amenities include two top-notch restaurants, a swimming pool, steam baths, a gift shop and ATMs. Prices include airport transfers. It’s perched between Sikela and Shecha, up a very rough 1.9km road.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Bahir Dar

    Grand Hotel

    Opened in 2015, this 16-floor, 125-room skyscraper has the best views in Bahir Dar – whether facing the lake or the town, you'll find it hard to tear yourself away from the window. The rooms are large, lovely and filled with light, and best of all, prices have fallen as much as threefold since the place opened – outrageous value. There's a gym and plans for a panoramic restaurant on the 16th floor to go with the one down by the lake.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Southern Ethiopia

    Kanta Lodge

    Kanta Lodge is a friendly, comfortable place with lovely valley views and two types of rooms. The tightly packed tukuls are simply designed but attractively decorated and the standard rooms are unadorned but functional. Kanta is also the top spot to dine in Konso, with a tempting menu (mains Birr80 to Birr120) and an outstanding stone terrace. There’s no ablutions block for campers, but if a room is free you can use it.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Northern Ethiopia

    Tim & Kim Village

    Just over the hill west of Gorgora, this Dutch-run spot is in an idyllic lakeside valley. The six solar-powered thatch-and-stone cottages are cosy and the welcome is warm. Tim leads day and overnight canoeing and trekking trips and you can paddle your own tankwa. Meals are normally only available for guests, but with notice day guests (Birr120) are usually welcome. Some proceeds go toward community projects.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray

    Gheralta Lodge

    In a word: fantastic. This lovely Italian-owned, African-themed lodge has great facilities and service and many guests declare it their best night in Ethiopia. Rooms in the stone buildings are large and lovely. Don’t miss eating at the restaurant, which provides a set Italian-inspired menu (lunch/dinner Birr210/250) that may be some of the finest food you eat in Ethiopia. Book as far ahead as possible.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Harar

    Grand Gato

    This great collection of 14 stylish suites – at what is possibly the first hotel with an ounce of character in Harar – is perfect for well-heeled travellers who are after some sophistication. Spacious rooms with pristine bathroom and balcony are awash with calming tones, boldly accented by carpet or laminate floors and lavish furniture. Ask for a room at the rear of the building, which is quieter.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Lalibela

    Hotel Maribela

    Of all the hotels lined up along the ridges that face out over the valleys and mountains, this is the one we like best. With just 15 rooms, it has a more intimate feel than most and the rooms are filled with light and a light touch that gets the mix of modern and traditional just right. The balconies, some with day beds and cushions, are perfect. It also has a good restaurant and friendly service.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Addis Ababa

    La Source Guest House

    Finally, Addis has produced a guesthouse with style. It’s sparkling clean, with constant hot water, and even has that rare thing – character in abundance. All rooms have local textiles and artworks; some have furnishings made of twisted tree branches. Service is friendly and, very unusually in this price bracket, it offers a free airport shuttle. The front-facing rooms can be very noisy.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Addis Ababa

    Sheraton Hotel

    One of Africa’s elite hotels, the Sheraton has long been the standard bearer for luxury accommodation in the capital. Its rooms are uber-luxurious and its facilities mean you barely need to leave your hotel, with every need – spa, restaurants etc – serviced on-site. Whether or not that's a good thing is entirely your call, but needless to say, it’s an absolute treat to stay here.