What are your room rates? Can I be sure that the prices displayed on your website are always up-to-date?
All our rates and discounts are posted on our home page (www.zguesthouse.com) and they are always our latest and most up-to-date prices. If there is a change to our rates, we will announce it on our website well ahead of time and change the rates we display on the home page as soon as the rates become effective. So you can be confident that the prices you see on our site are the most current ones. In addition, if you make your booking at a certain price, you will not be charged more than that price even if our rates go up before your arrival date. However, if our rates go down, your payment will be recalculated at the lower rate. So the sooner you book your reservation, the better to make sure there will be space available for you, even if your trip is months away.
How do your discounts work? What do you mean by daily, weekly and monthly rates?
We have three different levels of pricing for each of our Suites, all based on how long you stay with us. We have a standard daily rate (e.g., US $29.95 per night), which applies to any stay that is less than a week (6 nights or fewer). If you stay for 7 or more nights (but fewer than 30), you will receive a discount on every one of the nights you stay by paying the weekly discounted rate (e.g., US $27.95 per night). For example if you stay for 8 nights, we will use the weekly rate multiplied by 8 nights to arrive at your total cost (in this example, the total would be 8 x US $27.95 per night = US $223.60). Lastly, we have a monthly rate with a substantial discount (e.g., US $22.45 per night), which applies if you stay for 30 days or longer. The math works the same way as with the weekly rate above (number of nights x per night monthly rate). However, if you stay for less than a month but your total comes out to more than what the monthly total would be (for a full 30 days), we will charge you the lesser amount of the two.
Are there any additional charges that I should expect to see on my bill that are not included in the room price?
There are absolutely no other charges you will see on your bill. Of course if you use our other services such as laundry, beverages, phone, Internet, extra beds, etc., you will see charges associated with those services on your bill. You will find a beverage and laundry service price list in your suite. For any other services, please ask us what the current rate is before using the service. A Value-Added Tax (VAT) of 15% is already included in the price of your room and the prices for all of our other services, so there will be no additional taxes or service charges whatsoever added to your bill.
What will happen once I submit my reservation on your website?
Once you submit your reservation online, we will contact you by email within 24 hours. If there is space available, we will confirm availability and the details of your reservation. We will also ask you to confirm back to us (within 72 hours) that all the details of your reservation are correct. If there is no space available, we will also let you know within 24 hours and may offer you an alternative option to consider, such as staying with one of our affiliate guest houses that share our philosophy of providing clean, comfortable and affordable alternatives to the expensive hotels in Addis Ababa. If you are interested in the option we offer you and do accept our offer, we will confirm your reservation, send the details to our affiliate and ask you to confirm that the details in our records are correct. We will also send you a reminder a few days before your trip to make sure that your plans have not changed at the last minute.
Will I be charged anything if I cancel my reservation for any reason and without giving you any advance notice?
If you make a reservation with us, you can be confident that we will honor your reservation and will not, under any circumstances, give your reservation to someone else. We do not engage in the practice of overbooking expecting that some guests will cancel their reservation. This means that our business may suffer if you book a stay with us (especially a long one) but decide to cancel (especially at the last minute). At the same time, we realize that unexpected things come up that might force you to change your travel plans. Therefore, if you need to cancel your reservation before your arrival, we will not charge you anything but we do ask that you please notify us as soon as you are aware of the changes in your travel plans. We will honor your reservation and we only ask that you show some consideration to us in return. If you would like to cancel your reservation after you have checked in, we once again ask that you give us as much advance notice as possible. If you have less than a week remaining on your reservation when you decide to check out early, we ask that you give us at least 24 hours’ notice or accept a 1 night charge (if you decide to check out right away). If you have a week or more remaining, we ask that you give us at least 48 hours’ notice or accept a 2 night charge. If you have a month or more remaining, we ask that you give us at least 72 hours’ notice or accept a 3 night charge.
What currencies and payment methods can I use to pay for my room? When do I get my bill?
We only accept payments in US dollars, Euros or Ethiopian birr. At this time, we do not accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, etc), personal checks or bank transfers. If you will be carrying any other currency other than those listed above, you can exchange those into birr at any of the local banks in Addis Ababa. There are several banks that are within a short walking distance from our guest house. If your stay is a week or shorter, all payments will be billed on the day that you check out. If you stay for longer than a week, payments will be billed weekly. We also encourage you to settle your bill in advance if possible.
How do I use your free airport pick-up service? What do I need to do to make sure I am picked up when I arrive?
If you are interested in taking advantage of our free airport pick-up service (we recommend that you do!), let us know your flight arrival details when you fill out your reservation form (you can also let us know by email or phone). In our confirmation email to you, we will ask you to check the flight arrival details to make sure they are correct. When you arrive at Bole International Airport, your driver will be waiting for you in the parking lot outside the international terminal holding a sign with your name on it. Please make sure you exit the terminal and walk all the way down to parking lot, then keep an eye out for your name when you reach the parking lot.
Can I get an entry visa at the airport or do I need to get one before I leave for Addis Ababa?
The Ethiopian government allows travelers who hold passports from the following “tourist-generating” countries to obtain an entry visa once they arrive at Bole International Airport: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, and United States. If you are traveling on a passport from any country other than those listed above, you will need to obtain an entry visa at an Ethiopian embassy or consulate before you depart for Addis Ababa. IMPORTANT NOTE: We recommend that you contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find out the latest rules and regulations as they change from time to time.
What time can I check in to my suite? What time do I have to check out?
Check-in time is at 12:30 PM local time, while check-out time is at 11:30 AM local time. However, if you arrive before the check-in time and your room is not occupied, you may check-in at the time of your arrival.
If my flight arrives after midnight or in the early hours of the morning, will I be charged for the first night?
Yes. Since our check-in time is not until 12:30 PM local time, you will need to book the previous night so you can arrive from the airport and be able to check-in to your suite right away if your flight arrives after midnight or early in the morning (as a number of flights do), even though your first night may only be 8 to 12 hours long. If you prefer not to be charged for the first night, we can come pick you up (from the airport or somewhere else in the city) at around noon, so that you can check-in at 12:30 PM.
Can I have extra beds added to my suite if I have my family or friends traveling with me? How many of us can fit in each suite?
For the Apartment Suite, yes, you may have up to 2 additional single beds added to your suite for a charge of US $5.00 per night for each bed (this is in addition to the extra US$4.95 per night per person, for a total of US $9.95 per night extra). However, the Single Suites cannot accommodate any additional beds as there is not enough room given that there is already a queen size bed in the Suite. Complimentary baby cribs are also available upon request and can be put in either type of Suite (Apartment or Single). There can be a maximum of 4 people in each Apartment Suite and a maximum of 2 people in each Single Suite. This is assuming that 2 people share a queen size bed. If each person needs his or her own bed, then there can only be a maximum of 3 people in each Apartment Suite and a maximum of 1 person in each Single Suite.
Do you have air conditioning or heating in your suites? What is the weather like in Addis in general?
No, we do not have air conditioning and heating systems installed in our suites as they are not required to live comfortably in Addis Ababa. Many first-time visitors to Addis Ababa are pleasantly surprised to learn that the climate here is very mild and temperate (unlike a lot of other parts of Africa). Even though the city is located in a tropical latitude (about 9 degrees north of the equator), its high altitude of about 2,400 meters (7,900 feet) above sea level makes the climate a lot cooler than what it could otherwise be. It is sunny for most of the year (October to June), while the rainy season lasts for about three months (July to September). Generally speaking, the temperature stays at the “room temperature” point (around 20 – 25 OC or 65 – 75 OF) for practically the entire year. During the rainy July to September months, it may be a little colder (especially at night) as it rains just about every day, therefore some heating may be required to maintain your comfort. If you are visiting during these months, we will be happy to supply you with an electric space heater upon request.
Are there any good restaurants in the area? Are there any bars or night clubs nearby?
There are several good restaurants within walking distance of the guest house. The closest one is the Armenian Club restaurant, which serves dinner after about 5pm. They have a good selection of meat and vegetarian dishes at reasonable prices. The next closest restaurant is Serenade, which is a gourmet restaurant that is highly recommended by many visitors. Serenade is also only open for dinner. A third restaurant is Blue Tops, which serves both lunch and dinner but is closed on Mondays. Here you will find a wide variety of items on the menu from sandwiches to entrees. (The banana split ice cream is a specialty and is highly recommended for desert! J) There is also a Pizzeria nearby that serves delicious pizza pies and is open all day. Please refer to the map of our neighborhood to see where each of these restaurants is located. For nightlife aficionados, there are unfortunately no bars or night clubs located in our immediate neighborhood as we are located in a quiet, residential area of Addis Ababa. Most of the popular bars and night clubs are located near the city center and Bole areas (near the airport). If enjoying good nightlife on your trip to Addis is important to you, we have some affiliate guest houses that are located in central Addis Ababa and Bole areas that share our philosophy of providing clean, comfortable and affordable accommodation that we would be very happy to recommend to you.
Where is the nearest convenience store or grocery store (supermarket)?
There are two convenience stores (kiosks) located right across the street, about 50 meters from Z Guest House. These stores carry basic supplies like bottled water, soft drinks, dry groceries and many other packaged products. If you want a more extensive assortment of products to choose from, there is a grocery store within a 10 – 15 minute walk from the guest house, in the Arat Kilo area. In addition to the basic supplies described above, this store carries fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) and a better selection of packaged products as well as health and beauty products. Just ask us what the best place to go is depending on what you are looking for and we would be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
How far is your guest house from the city center? How far is it from the Hilton and Sheraton hotels?
We are located about a 10-15 minute drive from Meskel Square, which is considered the geographic center of the Addis Ababa. We are about a 5 -7 minute drive from the Sheraton and a 7-10 minute drive from the Hilton.
Is your guest house in a safe area? Should I be concerned about my safety in general while in Addis Ababa?
Z Guest House is located in a quiet, residential and (most importantly) safe neighborhood. Addis Ababa in general is considered to be one of the safest cities in Africa. Violent crimes are almost unheard of and just about the only thing you have to be careful of are the pick-pockets in certain busy parts of Addis Ababa. It is recommended that you visit busy areas of the city such as markets without carrying a lot of cash, jewelry, personal effects or large bags. We can also provide you with a complimentary safe to store your valuables if you are interested.
What kind of transportation do you recommend I use to get around in Addis Ababa?
The most convenient way for guests who are unfamiliar with Addis Ababa to travel around the city is to hire a private taxi (these are blue and white sedans, sometimes yellow). Depending on where you need to go, you agree on the price with the taxi driver before you begin your trip. The charge can range anywhere from 20 birr to 100 birr or more (US $2 to US $10 or more) and is usually negotiable. If you are interested, we have several blue and white private taxi cabs that serve our guest house, so just ask us to call one for you and what a reasonable fare is for where you are going. It usually takes anywhere from 5 – 15 minutes for one to arrive at the guest house once you call. Another way to travel for the more experienced person is by taking the blue and white mini-bus taxis. These operate more like city buses in that they have a fixed fare and travel a fixed distance. So this will involve some walking to a place where you can flag one down going where you are headed. The typical fare costs anywhere from 1 birr to 3 birr (10 to 30 US cents) and you may be sharing the minibus with up to 12 other people. If you are traveling a fairly long distance, you also need to know where to get off and switch to another minibus, etc. This is not recommended if you are new to the city and are not sure where exactly you are going and how to get there. If you are going somewhere close (within walking distance), a third way to travel is of course on foot, which is absolutely safe and can be enjoyable as you observe firsthand what life is like in Addis Ababa. There are also a lot of points of interest within walking distance that you can explore. See the maps on our location page for more details.
How can I rent a car in Addis? How much does it typically cost?
If you would like to rent a car during your stay in Addis, just let us know when you make your reservation and we can make the arrangements for you ahead of your arrival and let you know the costs. If you do not need the rental car right away, you can feel free to let us know after you arrive and we can make the arrangements for you or put you directly in touch with several rental car agencies so you can make the arrangements yourself, whichever you prefer. Costs for a small city sedan can range from anywhere around 300 to 600 birr per day (US $30 to $60 per day) without a driver, depending on availability and the season. If you require a driver, the cost may be up to 50% higher. You will need an international or local driver’s license to drive the car yourself. If you need a 4x4 (Land Cruiser, Land Rover, etc) or van for trips outside the city, the rates will be in the 700 to 1000 birr per day range (US $70 to $100 per day) depending on availability. These types of vehicles usually come with a driver, which is included in the price. IMPORTANT NOTE: All prices and exchange rates are subject to change and are only provided as a general guide, not as specific quotes.
Where can I find a good swimming pool if I want to go for a quick splash?
There are several options if you would like to go for a swim. The swimming pools at the Hilton and Sheraton are probably your best bet, but the cost is anywhere between US $10 – US $30 per person. There is also the thermal swimming pool at the Ghion Hotel (with an Olympic sized cold water pool and a 10m diving platform). The entry price is much lower (around 30 to 50 birr or US $3 - $5 per person). Another option is the Filwoha Hotel’s pool, which is fed by hot springs and is more appropriate for a sauna or massage. The entrance fee is priced around 25 birr (US $2.50) per person. IMPORTANT NOTE: All prices and exchange rates are subject to change and are only provided as a general guide, not as specific quotes.
If I have a whole day with nothing to do, what would you recommend that I go do or see?
There are many attractions within walking distance of the guest house that you can easily explore. Of course what you will want to go see will depend on what type of things interest you. If you like museums, there are two very good museums within walking distance. The first one is the National Museum which houses the remains of the famous “Lucy” human ancestor who is about 4 million years old and was discovered in Ethiopia in the 1970s. There is also a Natural History Museum on the campus of Addis Ababa University. The nearby Lion’s Zoo may also be of interest to you. Another point of interest for a lot of our guests is the campus of Addis Ababa University, which is one of the oldest university systems in Africa. If you are interested in visiting historical churches, there are several that may be of interest to you, like Kidist Maryam and Selassie Churches, which are part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Mercato, the largest open market in all of Africa, is also a popular destination for many of our visitors. We also recommend going up the Entoto mountains to enjoy a breathtaking view of Addis Ababa from about 3,000 meters above sea level.