Kuriftu Resort and Spa

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Date of travel

January, 2016

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Culture / Sightseeing

We stayed at the “Kuriftu Resort and Spa”:https://www.kurifturesorts.com/bahir-dar on Ethiopia’s Lake Tana for two nights to visit the Blue Nile Falls and monasteries with colourful frescoes.

There are 28 individual stone rooms dotted all over extensive grounds. Our room 101 was on the ground floor at the end of an alley near the restaurant which meant we had total privacy. Before we entered the room, we could tell this would be a good stay – there was a huge wood covered, tiled veranda and at one end was a day bed with soft cushions which was big enough for four people to lie out on. At the other end was a wooden, goat skin covered two seater sofa and coffee table next to an open fire which you could arrange to be lit before 9pm.

The bedroom was equally spectacular: very large with a box at the bottom of the bed for two suitcases. There was no mini bar but a drinks cabinet held three types of red wine and two different bottles of vodka, glasses etc. Both still and sparkling water and fruit were provided. The four poster bed, with mosquito net, was prettily but impractically adorned with bouganvilla flower petals. There was good lighting all over and a desk with plug point. Two stone recesses in the wall on either side of the bed were painted with a coloured figure and the other with the martyr’s tower we’d seen in the distance in the town of Bahir Dar.

The bathroom was designed like a cave with lots of natural stone. Down a short corridor was the basin and to one side a separate loo and on the other a huge shower tiled in small turquoise tiles. There was plenty of hot water and a hairdryer worthy of a salon.
Included in our rate was an hour’s Swedish massage or 30 minute foot massage each day. However, because there was so much to see in the area, we didn’t have time to fit this in. Likewise, there was a large swimming pool which we didn’t have time to use.
On our first night we were invited to a welcome cocktail part on the lake side where we enjoyed sangria and canapés whilst watching birds come into a nearby tree to sleep for the night.

Meals were served in a huge dining room with high bamboo roof. Our guide Eskedar had reserved a table for us in pole position right next to an open log fire but not so near as to make it uncomfortable. A three course meal was included and I immediately spotted an unusual salad of spinach, anchovy, feta cheese and garlic croutons only to be told there was no feta or anchovies. We settled for sharing spring rolls accompanied by tomato chutney. We were also served a basket of assorted breads and saucer of three different dips ranging in spiciness from hot to very, very hot. They do not do bland in Ethiopia. I chose chicken teriyaki for a main which arrived as two legs and a thigh and so although it looked hefty, once the meat was off the bones it was manageable. There were a couple of roast potatoes which felt and tasted as though they were yesterdays which had been microwaved up and the sauce was pretty bland so it was not a great meal. Roy fare slightly better with veal in red wine with lots of crunchy carrots, cauliflower and broccoli.

After a shared chocolate brownie, we took a bottle of wine back to our room as we’d ordered the fire on our verandah to be lit for 8.30pm. We sat in front of a roaring log fire with Roy acting as chief stoker although our ‘fire girl’ did come and check on it once and put more logs out for us, until the last log had died down.

Dinner on our second night was slightly more successful with Nile perch Balinese style for Roy (huge and accompanied by a rice mountain) and Ethiopian Bonzena shiro with injera (small cubes of beef in a rich chickpea sauce) for me which was very good and reasonable in portion size, so I felt I could justify banoffe pie.

Breakfast had a pretty good selection of dishes but the service was slightly fussy in that they insisted on carrying your juice back to your table, taking you egg chef orders, ensuring napkins are in laps and bags tucked away on the back of chairs.

Wi-Fi was only available by the pool and at reception but credit cards were taken.

This was probably the best hotel we stayed in during our trip around Ethiopia.

Helen Jackson

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