Ghion Hotel

, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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Ghion Hotel

, Addis Ababa

Rooms: 191

Ras Desta Damtew Ave - Addis Ababa - Ethiopia Hotel Website | | 1/513222
78 Traveller

Reviews - Ghion Hotel

A shocker!
Submitted by: Francine in 28/05/07
  • Age Group: 31 - 40
  • From: Germany
  • Traveller type: Business Traveller
This place is very strange, the food is really bad, unless you like Ethiopian cuisine which I unfortunately don't so I can't comment. I only learnt the other day that it had been bombed by terrorists back in 1996 so that might explain the general "vibe" that still pervades the place.

There was also a recent article in the Addis Fortune suggesting the government might sell it. it, to anyone who knows how to run a hotel.

Reception weren't exactly rude, just unhelpful, uncaring, inefficient and untruthful (especially with rates and what may or may not be included)

I don't know why you expect so much when you arrive, I guess it's because it is generally considered no. 3 hotel in Addis behind the Sheraton and Hilton. Let me just say that the step down from no. 2 to no. 3 is actually more like a precipice!
Fawlty Towers-government style
Submitted by: Bilby in 19/05/07
  • Age Group: 41 - 50
  • From: Australia
  • Traveller type: Family Traveller
The Ghion, where do I start? Even a month after returning home, the name "Ghion" evokes all sorts of feelings within me, some humorous, others less enjoyable.

When I look at our experience at this Hotel I have to try to drop my Western view and look at it in context with the cultural, social and historical landscape of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is struggling, even in Addis. Nevertheless, by international standards this place is a hospitality industry basket -case. This is a five star that hasn't had a cent spent on maintainence or staff training since it was built, resulting in today's 3 star Hotel that has the audacity to charge USD$120 per night.

Unlike most travellers, we spent considerable time (two separate weeks) at this Hotel, one week in the main section, another below the Gardens in the "Riviera Apartments". Now don't get me wrong, there are many positive aspects to the Ghion, security is very tight, the extensive Gardens are beautiful and the staff would be friendly if they weren't controlled by "jobs for life" government men (and the management are all men) who make their lives hell. It can be a quiet oasis from the city bustle.

Lets get down to some examples: the rooms.
There are no coffee or tea-making facilities, no spare pillows or blankets, no air conditioning, no written hotel guide giving you services or internal phone numbers, no city phone book, no hotel stationery or pens. If the TV works it has a barely viewable picture and many things don't work or are wired in a dangerous way that would have a Western Electrician dis-accredited.

Housekeeping comes through the door unannounced and at random over about 6 hours every day, doing any number of things but never the whole room at once. You want an extra towel? You've got to be kidding! In fact you are allocated one towel per person and that's it. They take your towels for washing in the morning and don't bring them back for some hours. That's right, you don't get fresh towels, you have to wait towel-less for them to come back!

We were left without towels for a day and a half after the housekeeping lady matter-of-factly explained that it was raining so they had to wait for the towels to dry! (OUR towels!)

The food on the Western menu is appalling, let's not mince words here. Like many people I have heard of places where the food has no resemblance to what you ordered but always thought this to be an exaggeration. Not at the Ghion, this is their speciality. There are people out the back with tall white hats on, but what they do I am unsure.

The service is odd. Lots of people standing around
but rarely do they ask you if you want anything. We asked to take
a piece of left over cake back to the room once and were met with
an almost hostile response. She went to her Supervisor. who went to her Supervisor, a request was sent back into the kitchen, a man in a white hat poked his head out of the kitchen shaking his head in disbelief at this outrageous request, finally an entirely different staff member emerged with a plate, lifted the cake onto it and sent us on our way.

While trying to book a room, it became apparent that the front office thinks that email is a strange, new, trendy form of communication and treat it with disdain. They may or may not reply to it ,and if they do, it could be 2 days or two weeks later. Until I threatened to report the Front Office Manager to the General Manager AND the Ministry of Tourism I was unable to make a booking. No less than 4 times prior to this did I politely request the room rate and booking confirmation. When I arrived at the Hotel reception straight from the Airport the Front Office Manager was not there to greet and apologise to me but to berate and insult me in front of his staff, demanding to know in an aggressive manner whether I had in fact made the complaint to the Ministry!

Basil Fawlty eat your heart out!

An Ethiopian friend of mine sorted out the matter, but the incident is instructive of the "untouchable" self-view management has in this goverment-run Hotel. Frankly management needs a kick up the proverbial. What potentially could be an excellent Hotel up there with the Addis Sheraton and Hilton is a shadow of its former glory on a downhill slide. Only the Ethiopian Government can save it now, by either selling it to private enterprise, or sacking the current management and putting people in place from the public sphere who know how to run a Hotel to international norms.

Maintenance is non-existent and staff HAVE been trained, but to an odd Ghion in-house standard, not just below international standard but in no way resembling anything the guest has come across before. This leaves you feeling oddly off-kilter during your entire stay, not knowing how to find anything, ask for anything, what you are likely to get if you do and in what manner it will be delivered. In any other Hotel in the world there is an across-the-board standardisation that simply doesn't exist at the Ghion.

Lest you think mine is just a skewed Westerner's view I had conversations with many African Ministers and their entourages who were staying at the Ghion for a conference. Over their stay they had asked Reception for simple things like international power adapters and in-room coffee facilities only to be disappointed. They all vigorously agreed when one Senior Delegate from Uganda exclaimed "And they call this a Hotel?"

I really hope somebody from the Ethiopian Government reads this
and does something about the maintenance, Management and Staff Training (the latter of course has been Management's responsibility anyway) The staff here should not be blamed, they are nice people in a bad system, poorly trained and led.

Ethiopia is an undiscovered jewel of World tourism, it's a wonderful place with wonderful people who deserve a wonderful
Hotel to be proud of. That place is not the Ghion Hotel.

Top Local Tips for Addis Ababa

thieves/beggars Staff and taxi drivers at the Ghion overstate the dangers outside the front gate as the Hotel employs the taxi drivers! Normal precautions, and walking is no problem.

Watch you posessions Be very careful - petty theft is common. They tried to steal my watch at security search in teh airport and nealy got away with it. Do not flash lots of cash you are asking for trouble.

Watch your pockets Addis is notorious for pick pockets so be very careful with your valuables.


Other names for Ghion Hotel

  • ghion hotel addis ababa
  • ghion hotel
  • Address: Ras Desta Damtew Ave - Addis Ababa - Ethiopia
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