After one false start at a bad location, we managed to find a great guest house in an amazing location in Addis: DS Guest House. Previously, we’ve stayed at the Weygoss Guest House for extended stays, and it is still a good option for adoptive families or Addis first-timers. However, we are not first timers, and we wanted something more central, away from the Bole construction chaos… and better value for the dollar (birr).
This little guest house has been our home for two weeks, and we are definitely coming back!
The best two things about the guest house are the staff and the location. The staff is super nice… The cook and cleaner Getu is a really nice friendly lady; the guard Asanage is a real cutester with a smile of gold and the warmest “Welcome!” every time he lets us in. The manager Zerihun used to be a guard five years ago, but by sheer hard work became the manager and is running a great little home. He’s pretty entrepreneurial, so he is just short of having his professional drivers licence so he can do tours. He’s also got some English lessons lined up, which should help with many customers.
The location is 90% fabulous. It’s right in howlet neighbourhood, across the street form the Axum Hotel, just off Haile Gebre Selassie Avenue. It’s an up and coming neighbourhood, with lots of shops, bank machines, coffee places etc. just two minutes’ walk away. We held countless meetings at the Kaldis just down the street. There are two bank machines right across the avenue that worked on occasion for all of us. A local pizzeria a two minute walk away was a great option for emergency meals, and the supermarket, open late, provided us with yogurt and even cheap Italian wine. Our favourite bar for tibs, Elsa, is also right around the corner.
The only downside of the location is that – the bars. Consider this neighbourhood like a downtown in a modern Canadian city… Often less frequented at night. The only real businesses going on after 9pm are bars and the “oldest profession.” So you want to either cab it, or be at home, at night.
That said, it’s super easy to catch cabs or minibuses to almost anywhere. The other side is that it’s easy for cabs to find their way back, which means less ambiguous fare estimations and clearer negotiations. Our meeting partners also found it very easy to come to our hood any time we wanted to get together too.
There is a long L shaped driveway (newly cobbled) back from the street to the big green gates. Note that the signage is pretty horrible for the guest house, so look for a lamp on a sign that says guest house, or tell your driver it is behind the kitfo place. Inside the gate, there is a little house that they call the “apartment” with two bedrooms, as well as four rooms in a row with private baths. The whole compound is surrounded by the typical high walls, but is full of green plants, a few places to sit outside, staff house, staff kitchen, and a fair sized courtyard. The WIFI router is in between the row of rooms and the apartment, so you can get WIFI somewhat regularly, as long as the cellphone network is working.
Tawnya and I stayed in a private room for the first few days while our elders were in the apartment. The single room (queen bed) was spacious, had a reasonably comfortable bed, a desk, a wardrobe, and a private bath. The shower was a bit splashy but thanks to an instant hot water heater, it was always hot. Low water pressure, but hot.
We were happy to move into the apartment later. The little house has a living and dining room, as well as a small kitchen, which has doors into the house and into the courtyard. There are the two bedrooms with hard double and 3/4 sized beds, and nice big wardrobes for bags. The bathroom is also splashy, despite the dolphin shower curtain and the sunk shower base, but the water is hot and has a lovely stream in the shower. Yeah! Hot showers are not something I take for granted in Ethiopia.
At the time of writing, the standard fare was $29 for a single room, $55 for the apartment. Breakfast is included… You order the night before. I highly recommend the chocolate croissants! Of course, negotiate for an extended stay.
Probably the only downsides of the guest house are the nightlife, a shortage of towels, occasional cooking smells, the door that won’t close easily. Also, they clean with Dettol, so everything is sterile, but the floor is sometimes gritty.
I highly recommend it! Feel free to mention my name when you book (Arnica) so I have a great deal waiting for me on my next trip! Lol
Contact: Zerihun, the manager : 0913 305 652 or 0925 413 539. Remember you have to drop the 0 from some places in Ethiopia. From Canada or the US, you drop the 0 and add 011-251 at the beginning. He has email but I have no idea if he checks / answers it: firstname.lastname@example.org
Directions for a driver / taxi. Close to Axum Hotel in howlet on Haile Gebre Selassie. Turn off the HGS at the supermarket across from the Axum Hotel. It’s the first black gate (to the driveway) on the right.