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Review: the new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

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This is our review of the Skylight In-Terminal Hotel in Addis Ababa Bole Airport, Terminal 2.

Ethiopian Airlines, now Africa’s largest airline, connects a lot of passengers through its hub at Addis Ababa Bole Airport.

It is a surprisingly good airport to connect at, with a single main terminal building (Terminal 2) that means you never have far to walk. Security is cleared fairly quickly and then you’re ejected back into the departure gates, where you spend some time in the Cloud Nine business class lounge (review here) or the Star Alliance Gold lounge (review here).

But what if you have an overnight connection? Whilst the terminal is open 24 hours a day, and you’ll find some recliner chairs on the terminal concourse, I don’t imagine it is very comfortable spending all night there.

To solve this problem, Ethiopian Airlines has launched an in-terminal hotel that means you never need to leave airside. Similar to Plaza Premium’s Aerotel in Singapore, the Skylight In-Terminal Hotel also lets you pay for as little as 4 hours, so you aren’t on the hook for a full day.

Where is the Skylight In-Terminal Hotel?

The Skylight hotel isn’t just a new building attached to the terminal – it is actually located inside the terminal, on the ground floor.

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

The signage is very easy to follow and I had no trouble making my way to the hotel despite a somewhat convoluted route:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

After heading down a set of escalators you are faced with this rather discreet entrance.

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

Enter through the door and you’re greeted by a corridor with rooms:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

The hotel reception is about half way down:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

Inside the Skylight In-Terminal Hotel

The Skylight In-Terminal hotel has 97 rooms. Despite catering for a captive audience of travellers a surprising variety of rooms are available. The biggest difference is simply the size of the room:

  • Standard King/Twin (24sqm)
  • Superior King/Twin (28sqm)
  • Premium King/Twin (39sqm)
  • Deluxe King/Twin (47sqm)
  • Executive Suites (71sqm)

There are also rooms that meet accessibility requirements.

Prices vary from US$66 for four hours in a Standard room to $460 for 24 hours and bed and breakfast in a suite.

To check in you need both your boarding passes (arrival and departure) and your passport.

Rooms at the Skylight In-Terminal Hotel

I was able to see both the standard room as well as the very impressive executive suite.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what the business case is in offering five different room types, given that all passengers will be travelling light (hand baggage only) and staying for between 4 and 24 hours. Even the standard king room is a generous size, as you can see here:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

As this hotel is inside the terminal, almost none of the rooms feature windows. Those that do often feature internal windows.

The design is really classy and modern with Ethiopian touches, such as the traditional patterns on the wallpaper:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

It is just as smart as any new hotel I’ve been to recently in London.

There are two bedside tables on each side, plus a number of light switches for the room. A universal socket caters to plugs from most countries, plus there are two USB-A ports on each side:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

In the corner you’ll find an armchair and marble coffee table:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

Meanwhile, opposite the bed, you’ll find a desk running the full-length of the room:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

You also have a large flat-screen TV, kettle and tea making facilities, as well as a luggage storage rack:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

In the entrance is a wardrobe with a safe, robe and slippers:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

Whilst opposite the wardrobe is the bathroom with rainfall shower and marble floor:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

Amenities are Ethiopian Airlines branded, and include items such as a razor, dental kit, comb, shower cap and vanity kit.

The room was surprisingly comfortable. I wasn’t expecting an in-terminal hotel to be this well done or spacious, but it’s both. To put it in perspective, I felt it was even better than the Aerotel Singapore.

Executive suites at the Skylight In-Terminal Hotel

There are two executive suites which are even more impressive, and start at $186 for a 4 hour period.

They are, frankly, palatial, with a large living space on one side:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

.… and an extremely spacious bedroom on the other:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

In the centre you’ll find a bathroom with shower and bathtub:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

One oddity I did notice is that the bathroom has semi-frosted glass windows to the living room and bedroom – not exactly very private if you’re hosting a meeting and need the loo!

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

Other amenities at the Skylight In-Terminal Hotel

The hotel also features a large dining room with buffet service:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

This was empty when I arrived, although the buffet was still available. There was a small salad bar:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

Hot items included potatoes, rice, grilled vegetables, baked fish, grilled beef and, of course, injera:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

…. and, to finish it all off, some fresh fruit:

Review: Ethiopian's new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport

The food is the weakest part of the offering, to be honest, but as the hotel is within the terminal you can simply pop back onto the concourse if you fancy something else.

Conclusion

The new Skylight In-Terminal hotel in Addis Ababa Bole airport is impressive.

Unlike other in-terminal hotels I’ve stayed at, all the rooms are spacious – you won’t be squeezing into a tiny capsule room here.

The design and decor is inspired and wouldn’t look out of place in any hotel in London, bar the characterful local touches that remind you that you are in Ethiopia and not Bloomsbury!

The hotel is let down by the food offering, but with many more options literally on your doorstep this isn’t an issue.

You can find out more, and book, on the Skylight hotel website here.


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Comments (6)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Andrew says:

    “A universal socket caters to plugs from most countries, plus there are two USB-A ports on each side”

    The pedants of electrical nomenclature will be happy today 👍🏻

  • Greenpen says:

    Do you know the standard room overnight rate (b&b)? You quote 460$ for the suite but as you say, few people will be interested in this if connection.

  • JDB says:

    Skylight seems a funny name for a hotel whose rooms have no external windows.

  • Bagoly says:

    Minor fact: If booking either to or from Germany, Ethiopian has tie-in with Deutsche Bahn, like Lufthansa.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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