By- Yoadan Tilahun
My Unsolicited Review
In this space, in the heart of our beloved city, the freshness and yet the familiarity of it all merges effortlessly, in here ethnic lines blur to give focus on all things Ethiopia and fills us with eternal pride – and pride, our pride, as the world knows, knows no bound.
Hyatt Addis Ababa has given us a bouncy canvas on which we can jump up and down with tremendous joy as we dip our toes in the pool, sip coffee-fused cocktails, smell fresh cinnamon cloves, feast our eyes on the crafts of our artists, and delight our palette from freshly picked avocados from local farmers. Yes we are known for being proud people for many reasons, and this building that from the outside looks like a white fortress has shown us why we need to continue to be proud of everything we call our own.
I have traveled to many parts of the world, stayed in many hotels that make my heart pitter-patter with jealousy, I have built great relationships with numerous hotels in Addis Abeba and continue to conduct mutually beneficial businesses with many; but none of have captured my heart like the interior design of Hyatt.
It has modern décor like many hotels found around the world, it’s tastefully laid out with impeccable details including the furniture selection – it’s impossible not to notice these elements. But what stole my heart are not the comfortable couches and lounge seats found in the various outdoor spaces – but rather the out in-plain sight, but easy to miss Ethiopian-ess of the space.
You walk through the lobby and your sight is assailed by blue chandeliers that make you go, “Hmmm, don’t know about that,” until you are told they are endemic birds to Ethiopia and you go, “huh, didn’t know that, okay, maybe they are not that bad”.
You keep walking and you are welcomed by smiling staff dressed in stylish outfits, with a touch of African fabric in various styles. Different, indeed, but awesomely different when you learn that it’s locally designed, produced and delivered!
The walls are adorned with beautiful art and each and every item is locally sourced and produced by our own talented creative artists. An art I may have overlooked in a gallery looks perfectly fitted just for this or that that wall.
The ceramic pots have new life breathed into them as they sit polished and centered on modern imported tables. The main restaurant called The Kitchen features a burst of colors from baskets full of Ethiopian spices to elegantly placed hand-woven “sefeds” on the walls, as well as ceramic bowls finished off with interwoven wickers – I have never seen these before – have you? All locally available, where have I been? Or is it the ability to empower our local artisans to step up to the opportunity and deliver to international standards?
The table napkins? Also locally sourced cotton, soft with just a touch of color. Thirsty from the good kind of envy – please sip homemade lemonade made fresh from local fruits and spices. No wait, yes you are right, that’s a metal straw you are sipping through! Sustainable much?
The columns that usually assault our senses in other hotels, blend at the Hyatt perfectly with the design and color tones of the hotel. Some of the columns are wooden mimicking the typical embroidery found on Ethiopian traditional dresses!
Look further past the restaurant and you see slightly different columns mimicking coffee trees that lead you into a lounge bar that celebrates Ethiopian coffee through a variety coffee infused cocktail drinks.
Everywhere you look, you see a piece of Ethiopia packaged and presented in a creative way. This love affair takes you further into the bedrooms as the carpets welcome you into Addis Abeba, literally (if you are good at reading maps). The carpet in each room is a map of the city!
When you are ready to have some coffee after a long flight or early morning wake-up call in your room, the small coffee packets are all local brands – packaged to fit in the palm of your hand and ready to be consumed through a French press. Giddy over this space, I take a closer look at the metal work on the fence and discover it is all made out of Ethiopian alphabets. I should bring my kids here for a pop quiz!
What I love and appreciate about the management of Hyatt is the length they have gone to source locally and ensure the products are of international standard – showing us, the locals, what is possible in our own backyard. I am certain it would have been easier to source from China or Dubai, but no, they made a conscious decision to empower Ethiopian producers.
Note: Written by a fan – NOT commissioned by the hotel at all.