Africa: Addis Ababa, An ideal Getaway From Boisterous City Life
The earthy vibes, cool tones and caveman-like aesthetics of the Kuriftu Resorts is an epitome of nature at its finest. One can’t help but appreciate and fall in love with the simplicity of materials, form and décor with wood, stones, plants and other organic materials drawn from the natural world. This is especially because a natural, earthy atmosphere in many ways helps to comfort and soothe human nerves.
In fact, it has become popular knowledge that naturalistic interior and exterior building designs improve productivity. This explains why the Kuriftu Resorts and Spa in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, has become a national name, identified as the number one go-to spot for total relaxation, comfort, and general feel-good atmosphere for both locals and international visitors.
I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend the day after over four-hour flight from Lagos to Addis Ababa the previous day. In the resort are domiciled Boston Day Spa, Albash, waterpark and its cultural villages amongst other services, making visitors experience luxury at its pinnacle, yet in touch with nature.
With achingly perfect panoramas, Kuriftu Bishoftu is where luxury reaches its pinnacle and service is simultaneously warm, genuine and sensational. The atmosphere is great, the weather allows fresh breeze and the environment is serene. Visitors can rejuvenate themselves in a welcoming and luxurious setting with relaxing massages, facials, baths and body treatments.
With 92 rooms in the Kuriftu Resort & Spa Bishoftu, there is more than enough for families, friends and groups who visit the resort on daily basis. Some special features at the resort include the Kuriftu Water Park, beer & wine hall, lounge and resort Access. The accessible parking spaces, art installations, Banking Centre & ATMs and other guest services only make visitors feel home away from home.
Kuriftu Ethiopian Cultural Village
Also in the resort is the Kuriftu Ethiopian Cultural Village (KECV). This is Ethiopia’s premium outlet shopping centre, featuring over 100 exciting brand name stores in one location. The village truly features something for everyone, ranging from high-end luxury stores to family-friendly children’s clothing shops.
With a mission to provide an exhilarating space where guests can socially engage with Ethiopian crafts & activities in a comfortable, safe environment, the village has become the leader in promoting Ethiopian products worldwide by aligning itself with the nation’s changing history. The village, no doubt, is a ‘one-stop’ destination to find the champion products of Ethiopia.
The KECV is designed with the country’s rich history in mind. Using contemporary features, it utilises traditional thatched roofing methods as well as landscaping to capture the essence of Ethiopia. The shops consist of glass and wood facades to maximise visibility and accessibility. Its shops vary in size, ranging from 20sqm, 40sqm, 50sqm, 100sqm, and 200sqm spaces.
Kuriftu Water Park/ Gazebo
The water park, which opened in 2018 in Bishoftu, adds value to Ethiopia’s growing hospitality industry and creates a unique demand generator within one hour of Addis Ababa.
The project spans over 30,000 square meters and features a wide range of activities, such as two water houses, a boomerang slide, a spiral slide, a wave pool and performance centre.
In the heart of the village is the Kuriftu Gazebo where visitors congregate to relax, drink and dine. Adjacent to the Kuriftu Water Park and food court, shoppers can have a break from shopping and relax in a comfortable setting. With a mission to create a place where people would enjoy resting and each other’s company, Gazebo provides a place to dine and drink beer.
Boston Day Spa/Restaurant
Even though I didn’t have enough time to experience the spa service, people who did testified that it is an avenue to beautify and enhance appearances with custom hair styling, deluxe manicures & pedicures or consider the Moroccan baths, sauna and steam.
The spa gives visitors an opportunity to experience services where their bodies are pampered with massages, facials, baths, or body treatments.
Its unique retreat is designed for visitors’ comfort and nurturing; a place where people can abandon their cares, awaken their senses, and escape into a world of pleasure.
The Diplomat restaurant reflects the diverse international culture of Ethiopia, with a culinary experience that embodies traditional dishes. The restaurant offers wine pairings from Castel Wine to compliment every dish, and the highest quality service making visitors’ dining experience unforgettable.
Kuriftu’s partnership with Castel Winery brings visitors a selection of Ethiopian premium wines located in the small but enchanting towns of Lake Tana, Adama & Bishoftu. At Castel-Kuriftu Wine House, there is eclectic wine list at affordable prices.
In addition, the Kuriftu Albash, Ethiopia’s premier department store offering a wide-range of luxury products, is carefully curated to bring together the best of Ethiopian fashion and is a must-see for style aficionados. Located at the Kuriftu Ethiopian Cultural Village in Bishoftu –adjacent to the Kuriftu Resort & Spa – Albash has two unique stores.
As a top-up to the resort services services, the Lounge not only offers a carefully crafted food menu with a medley of cultures but an exquisite cocktail menu prepared by experienced Ethiopian Mixologists. Kuriftu Lounge Djibouti is truly the best location in Djibouti for a dream wedding, corporate events and birthday parties.
Ethiopian Skylight Hotel
After a memorable experience of nature cum beauty at the Kuriftu Resorts and Spa, we headed back to the Ethiopian Skylight hotel, a modern, classy and luxurious hotel at Addis. The hotel is currently the newest and biggest in Addis. Business Class and transit passengers with Ethiopian Airlines are accommodated in the hotel.
Ethiopian Skylight Hotel is located at the heart of Addis Ababa, just five minutes away from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Meeting international standards with outstanding quality of service, Africa’s commercial hub awaits you.
A total of 373 stunning rooms with relaxing and superb designs are suitable for both corporate and leisure travellers. I particularly enjoyed spectacular city view from my room. Comprising three luxurious restaurants – All-Day Dining Restaurant, the biggest Chinese Restaurant in East Africa, and a Traditional Ethiopian Restaurant (to be opened soon), and bars heighten visitor’s hotel experience. The Lobby Lounge and the Front Lobby are spacious enough for social and business meetings.
Grand Ballroom which can accommodate 2000 guests at a time is divided into five individual halls along with spacious foyer area, accommodating 500-800 guests. It is ideal for tailor-made social events, weddings and conferences. Three separate day-light and two other VIP private meeting rooms are fit for visitors’ corporate meeting demands.
The outstanding facilities of the hotel include, outdoor swimming pool, mini-golf courses, spa/massage, gymnasium and health centre.
Taichi Chinese Restaurant
Inside the hotel is the Taichi Chinese Restaurant, located at the lower ground. The restaurant showcases the finest Cantonese cuisine plus Sichuan specialties, dim-sum, accompanied by fine wines and traditional teas. Its six private dining rooms are tailored for business banquets and elegant social dining. The menu takes inspiration from the traditional market experience emphasising the combination of five spices in Sichuan (roasted Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and fennel seeds). Chef is from China.
The Lobby Lounge is one of the hotel’s stylish attractions located at the lobby. With its contemporary look that is spacious, modern and inviting with a selection of appetisers and finger foods, the Lobby Lounge is ideal for corporate meetings’ reception.
All-Day-Dining Restaurant, located at the upper ground floor, avails the foremost perceiving sense of taste in a high-volume, full-service modern and inviting restaurant with a selection of international buffet. Chef is from German.
Also in the hotel, there are presidential Suite, Grand Suite, Executive Suite, Corner Suite, Superior Suite, Executive room, deluxe room and Superior Room.
Unsurpassed in elegance, the top-level suite of 195 sqm space with Airport and City view like no other. It has two separate living rooms with working and dining area. Amenities include sound-insulation for a peaceful stay, 52-inch LCD TV with international satellite channels, complimentary high-speed WI-FI and broadband internet, individually controlled air conditioner with heading system, complimentary coffee and tea-making facilities and turn-down service.
At the Executive Suite, visitors can enjoy this 90 sqm suite with king-sized bed, spacious living area, separate shower and tub. Visitors can also take delight in their city and airport views through floor-to-ceiling windows and, outdoor balcony and guests can enjoy the executive lounge access.
National Museum, Ethiopia
Apart from business, people travel for three reasons: Education, entertainment for relaxation. While the last two reasons were achieved at Kuriftu and Ethiopian Skylight hotel, the national museum was another opportunity to learn. It was indeed a mix of knowledge on history and a time for sight-seeing.
The museum houses Ethiopia’s artistic treasures. It contains many precious local archaeological finds such as the fossilised remains of early hominids, the most famous of which is ‘Lucy’, the partial skeleton of a specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. Recently added to the basement gallery is a display on Selam, found between 2000 and 2004. This archaic fossil is estimated to date to 3.3 million years ago.
In 1936, the concept of a museum was first introduced in Ethiopia when an exhibition was opened, displaying ceremonial costumes donated by the Solomonic dynasty and their close associates. The current NME grew from the establishment of the Institute of Archaeology, which was founded in 1958. The institute was founded to promote and facilitate the archaeological research mission in the northern part of Ethiopia by French archaeologists.
Let’s look at Stone statue from Addi-Galamo, Tigray Region (dated 6th-5th century BCE), part of the National Museum’s collection. The statue is inscribed with a phrase in South Arabian, ‘For God Grants a Child to Yamanat’.
The museum started its activities by exhibiting objects from these excavation missions. With the establishment of the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage Administration in 1976, the idea came up to open a National Museum. This was supported by the Government. The NME began to operate under the National Act which provides for the protection and preservation of antiquities, and has legislative authority governing all sites and monuments throughout the country of Ethiopia.
The collection on show at the National Museum is ranked among the most important in sub-Saharan Africa, but sadly, many of its exhibits are poorly labelled, lit and displayed. Far away the highlight is the palaeontological exhibition in the basement, the home of world-famous Lucy. Her 1974 discovery in the Afar region of northwestern Ethiopia changed our understanding of human origins forever. This section is well labelled in English, so if your time is limited, spend most of it here.
On the basement level, you’ll find two remarkable casts of Lucy, a fossilised hominid and easily Ethiopia’s best-known ancient inhabitant. One lies prone, while the other stands much as it did some 3.2 million years ago, truly hitting home how small our ancient ancestors were. The real bones are preserved in the archives of the museum.
Also here is the fossilised evidence of some amazing extinct creatures, like the massive sabre-toothed feline Homotherium and the gargantuan savannah pig Notochoerus.
The periphery of the ground floor focuses on the pre-Aksumite, Aksumite, Solomonic and Gonderian periods. The wide array of artefacts includes an elaborate pre-1st-century-AD bronze oil lamp showing a dog chasing an ibex, a fascinating 4th-century-BC rock-hewn chair emblazoned with mythical ibexes, and ancient Sabaean inscriptions. The middle of the room hosts a collection of lavish royal paraphernalia, including Emperor Haile Selassie’s enormous (and rather hideous) carved wooden throne.
On the 1st floor, there’s a vivid display of Ethiopian art ranging from early (possibly 14th-century) parchment to 20th-century canvas oil paintings by leading modern artists. Afewerk Tekle’s massive African Heritage is one of the most notable pieces. Another painting depicts the meeting of Solomon and Sheba. Note the shield of the soldier next to Solomon, which is engraved with the Star of David and a Christian Cross.
The artist must have forgotten that this meeting is said to have occurred long before the birth of Christianity.
The 2nd floor contains a dusty and poorly labelled collection of secular arts and crafts, including traditional weapons, jewellery, utensils, clothing and musical instruments.
English-speaking guides are available for free (they should be tipped afterwards) and help to bring things alive. But, the agricultural artifacts that help to explain their culture contribute to making the time spent at the museum worth every minute.
By IFEOMA OKEKE