The Sheraton sits near the original founding spot of the city. Emperor Menelik’s wife decided she didn’t like it up on Mount Entoto, which he captured in 1896 and came down to the plains to build a palace at the hot springs. The grand colonial style hotel has sat here for the last 50 years, an impressive run, when you consider the disruptive and violent history the city has seen over those five decades.
Although its glamour has faded somewhat the Sheraton is still the best place to stay in the city, and is full of business people passing through on their way further into Africa or back out. The hotel is surrounded by landscaped gardens which are pretty pleasant to stroll around in the evening and they offer a great respite from the chaos of Addis’ busy streets.
When I visited the entire hotel’s AC was stuck on hot, making each room a sauna. This resulted in having to sleep with the door to the balcony open, and thankfully because of the quite heavy security it’s pretty safe to do so. Hopefully this has been fixed, although the maintenance men didn’t seem particularly interested in fixing it quickly.
There are a few different drinking and dining options within the hotel. It’s said to have the best Indian restaurant in town, it’s certainly the most expensive and with only a handful of tables, booking might be advised. No matter how cheap the rest of Addis is to people more used to living in the West, the Sheraton seems to have taken its overall pricing guide from the latter rather than its physical location, so make sure you have a credit card to hand. The downstairs bar, all dark woods and red leather, is fine for an after dinner drink and it’s private and quiet.
Breakfast can be taken on a shaded patio in the mornings on the ground floor, and there’s a decent spread if you’re into endless breads and pastries.
The Sheraton is also the place to get married in Addis, so don’t be surprised to see more than one wedding party on a weekend afternoon. The bride and groom form a procession through the lobby, which is videoed, and then they disappear to one of the banqueting rooms but it’s interesting to watch if you’re waiting around.