Best hotels and hostels in Northern 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray

    Vision Hotel

    If only all Ethiopian budget hotels were this good. Overseen by the professional Geshu, and with one of the faster wi-fi connections we came across in Ethiopia, it's an excellent place. The rooms are clean, well-sized and reached via a courtyard with more greenery than most places at this price. All in all, it's excellent value for money.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Lalibela

    Old Abyssinia Lodge

    There were just three tukul -style rooms here when we visited, but they certainly caught our eye. Stunning wood furnishings, many with intricately carved traditional local designs, inhabit stone-walled rooms that are lovely and large and come with good-sized bathrooms. The balconies have wonderful views. It's very quiet.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Simien Mountains National Park

    Pension Everlasting

    Our pick of the budget options in Debark, Pension Everlasting has a friendly English-speaking owner and a fine little restaurant where mostly local, organic ingredients are used. The rooms are fairly similar to those elsewhere, but the quiet location and friendly service are what stand out.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Mekele

    Planet Hotel

    With Mekele's classiest hotel rooms (at least for now – there's a five-star hotel under construction next door), the four-star Planet looks out over the new stadium with warm colour schemes in the rooms as well as comfortable beds and strong wi-fi.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Simien Mountains National Park

    Sona Hotel

    With undoubtedly the best rooms in Debark, Sona Hotel is a good choice. It has a bar, probably the town's best restaurant (mains Birr80 to Birr120) and the rooms at the front have views out over the town.

  • Lodging in Simien Mountains National Park

    Simien Lodge

    At 3260m this is Africa’s highest hotel. The thatch-and-stone tukuls are large and comfy, although many travellers feel they don’t get nearly enough for the price. Despite the location, rooms are on the dark side and the under-floor heating does little to take the edge off freezing nights. That said, the food is excellent and its commitment to local projects is admirable. In 2016 the lodge won first prize at the Skal International Sustainable Tourism Awards – this place puts solar energy front and centre and it also supports numerous local development projects. There's also a bar, a community handicrafts shop and a van for picking up guests in Gonder. Ask about its work in rehabilitating the Saddique Amba monastery – the trek there is stunning.

  • Lodging in Lalibela

    Lalibela Hudad

    This peaceful ecolodge in the hills above Lalibela (five hours by foot: many people use mules, and it's possible to drive to within an hour's walk) has stone-and-thatch tukuls, incredible views and resident gelada monkeys. Despite the high price, the tukuls are very simple (shared drop toilets) though hot showers and decent food (lunch and dinner Birr100) are available. Of course there’s good walking in the area: the summit of Abuna Yosef is about four hours away.

  • Lodging in Gonder

    Gonder Landmark Hotel

    Lording it over the town's northern end and with terrific city views from most rooms (avoid the 'Mountain View' rooms), the Landmark is an excellent choice if you like modern, light-filled rooms. The suites may look like they didn't quite know what to do with all that space, but even the standard rooms are some of the nicest in town. It becomes even better value when prices drop if things are quiet.

  • Lodging in Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray

    Kuriftu Resort

    Still under construction at the time of our visit, the new Kuriftu Resort (part of a chain with excellent hotels elsewhere in Ethiopia) is one to watch. With its back to sheer cliffs and with expansive views, the resort will have large rooms built from ferrous stone and thatched roofs. It's well signposted off the road from Megab to Dugem.

  • Lodging in Bahir Dar

    RahNile Hotel

    Opened in 2015 with a decent city-centre location, RahNile gets the important things right. Modern, well-sized rooms are rather lovely, especially those with a king-sized bed, which come with a free 30-minute massage. All rooms come with a buffet breakfast, free tea and coffee and a free airport shuttle. There's an on-site restaurant.

  • Lodging in Lalibela

    Tukul Village Hotel

    The prices here haven't risen in years and that makes them even better value. While many tukul -rooms in Ethiopian hotels are dark, here they're filled with light and look out over a lovely garden area. The traditional furnishings and decor are nicely deployed, the bathrooms are large and the location's nice and central.

  • Lodging in Lalibela

    Sora Lodge Lalibela

    A friendly place out on the tip of one of Lalibela's many ridges, Sora Lodge has a modern main building with tidy rooms and sweeping views from the upper floors, as well as nicely decorated tukul -style rooms, also with terrific views. It grows many of its own vegetables for the on-site restaurant.