“Sabean International Hotel”:http://sabeanhotel.com/index.php is centrally located in Axum, Ethiopia’s first royal capital city.
Although it had a lift, it wasn’t working, so we were pleased to find we were on the second floor.
Our room was of average size with interesting views: a huge pile of plastic water bottles and an even larger pile of steel cables. There was no AC, but there was a free standing fan. The left hand side bedside table drawer faced the wall because the table wouldn’t fit if it was the right way round and the person sleeping nearest the window had to negotiate clambering over an ornately out of place Queen Ann style arm chair to get into and out of bed.
Still the bathroom was light and bright with loo, basin, shower and hairdryer. The shower cubicle was so small and I couldn’t bend down in it to clean feet which were filthy from having to take my shoes on and off at churches. The water trickled somewhat but at least it was warm, unlike in the sink. Once again, there was a single pair of rubber flip flops in the bathroom.
Although there was a safe it was at the bottom and back of the wardrobe, requiring hands and knees and good eyesight – we settled on locking valuables in our suitcase. There was an empty fridge that wasn’t on and emergency battery powered lighting.
After a day’s sightseeing we went down to the ground floor bar at 4.30pm for a chilled Walia beer, to find a TV blaring out with a group of men drinking coffee and watching first of all a soap opera followed by a cookery programme.
The restaurant was on the first floor. Breakfast was a fairly desolate affair, with ready made toast, a very thin scraping of scrambled egg, and thick, gloopy papaya juice. Lunch was a la carte and good but huge – Roy only manage a third of his pasta but liked the fact the tomato sauce was served in a separate sauce boat. My fail safe dish of tuna salad also defeated me. Dinner was a buffet: tomato soup followed by a number of main dishes including tender chicken pieces, beef with a mix of vegetables, small fish goujons etc. Pudding was a banana. As with many of the Ethiopian hotels we stayed in, there were lots of groups, but the buffet never got overcrowded.
Having left the bathroom light on overnight for excursions, we both woke in the night to find the electricity had gone off (so everything on charge had stopped charging). However, at 5am when a cock crowing woke us up, we realised that there was a chink of light under the door and the small red button was glowing on the TV. We tried the lights and low and behold they were all working.
The hotel had one of the most uncomfortable beds of our entire trip (16 hotels) and probably in my entire life – to say it was like sleeping on a billiard table is not an overstatement. To ease the hardness, we took the duvet off and slept on it in an attempt to ease the hardness. However, I still left with fabulous memories of the sights of Axum but with a stiff back.