Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Guest house review: Yeka & Yebsabi

From an IAN mom who traveled in January 2010:

We stayed at the Yeka first, and then moved to the Yebsabi. We had originally wanted to stay at the Yebsabi, but everyone else in our travel group was staying at the Yeka, so we figured, "Why not?" Here are my thoughts...


Unprofessional. I reserved TWO rooms online, and even called and confirmed this. When we arrived, they only had one room and said, "Oh, sorry." Other than put a roll-a-way bed in the room, they did nothing to remedy this. The room was filthy, with dead flies in the bathroom. The glass shelves in the bathroom were broken and jagged. The towels were thin and had holes in them. There was a free standing bathtub with a shower curtain that was not nearly large enough. There was one cabinet in the bedroom that used to lock, but was broken, so there was no safe place to put your money or valuables. They didn't provide any bottled water, and instead filled a pitcher from a source downstairs, which didn't give me too much confidence in it. Breakfast was included, but I thought it was substandard. There was one cook and one "waiter", but it took them forever to get anything. They were constantly out of coffee. Now, I will say that they were full, as our traveling group was large, but all of these things seemed like they could be easily remedied. Our room was on the third floor, and we found out that all of the upper rooms had no water pressure whatsoever. I mean, literally a trickle!

They had a computer in the lobby, but only dial-up connection, which made it completely useless. The walls were paper-thin, and we could hear everything going on in the room next to ours. We were picked up at the airport (along with other families), and farmed out to 2 taxis. They did nothing to protect us from the beggars/scammers in the airport parking lot, and we wound up having to "tip" them unnecessarily. It was about 25 minutes from the airport. It was noisy at night with barking dogs, and the Sunday call to prayer seemed as though it was right outside our window. There was a nice garden area outside with a merry go round in it, but it was old and not up to American safety standards. One little boy got hurt playing on it during our trip and had to go to the hospital. Needless to say, I don't recommend the Yeka. I know that there were families in our group who liked it here, but we definitely did not! We have traveled all over the world (including other 3rd world countries), and I can safely say that the accommodations were well below standard.


This place was the polar opposite of the Yeka! Incredibly accommodating staff, and very professional. We had a suite with two adjoining rooms, each with their own locking door, and a common living area. It also had a kitchen in the room with 2 refrigerators. They provided several bottles of water daily, and there was beer, wine, water, and soda available for purchase from a refrigerator "mini bar". The place was immaculate, with a floor you could eat off of. The rooms were cleaned daily, and they provided fresh towels every day, even when we hung ours up to reuse them. The towels were thick and wonderful. The bathrooms each had an enclosed shower, with as much water pressure and hot water as you could handle. They even provided baby bath tubs upon request. The bed mattress wasn't very comfortable, but it was the same as the Yeka, so I guess that's all they have to choose from there.

They had an actual programmable room safe in every room. There was also a TV in each bedroom, although we didn't watch it. They had wireless internet available in the lobby, and cable access IN THE ROOMS, so we were able to bring our laptop and use it successfully. The food was awesome! David is the chef, and he was so nice. He'd even translate for us so we could talk to our son. Breakfast was standard fare, as well as eggs cooked to order. Even donuts one morning! Great coffee. All you had to do was tell them if you wanted to have lunch and/or dinner there, and it cost about $5 per person. Again, amazing food. There was also a nice restaurant right around the corner called the Zebra Grill that we highly recommend. They were able to change all the money we desired at the front desk with no problems, so we had no issue of trying to find a bank. They would call taxis for us whenever we needed one. Even the uniformed guards who worked the front gate of the compound were nice!

We had very few complaints. I wish that they would have closed the front door of the compound courtyard so that Shimeles could play out there without fear of him running out the door into the street! But the doormen were also very good at catching him before he escaped! It was a bit noisy at night, since the main shopping area around there is right around the corner, but it was nice to have the shopping available. Also, they have the same barking dog problems as every other guest house in Addis. We brought a white noise machine and it was probably the best thing we brought on the trip with us. (Marpac Sleepmate -- get it at Amazon.com for about $50). It was incredibly close to the airport -- I'd say about a 10 minute drive. All in all, we HIGHLY recommend the Yebsabi. Maybe it seemed so great because of our terrible experience at the Yeka, but we really really liked it there.

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