The hotel is located near the sheraton/French Embassy/Hotel La Siesta. Its location is excellent. It hardly takes 5~10 minutes walk to the central market. You can take a sharing minibus for 50Franks (0.30 US$) or hire a taxi for 500 Franks (US$ 2.80) and they will drop you to the central market. Right opposite the hotel is a 24hour supermarket and across is a masjid/mosque. Breakfast and internet access is free. Hotel checkout is flexible and staff are very very friendly.
The Kempinski Palace is the only 5 star hotel in Djibouti and is very luxurious. It is about 10 minutes drive from the airport overlooking the port.
We stayed at the beginning of our trip and at the end so got to know the place fairly well. The rooms are very good - spacious with good quality furniture and very big beds. Bathrooms are excellent too. Our second room was a junior suite and the bathroom was really big and grand – I wanted to spend much more time in there. Both rooms had good views of the sea.
There is a dive centre, which we didn't use, located at the end of a walkway that stretches from the poolside to the end beach and the hotel has it own small man made beach.
The hotel has all the facilities you would expect of a 5 star. There are 3 restaurants. Lac Assal is the main restaurant and all the food is buffet. We didn’t try either the Tentazioni Italian, as it looked too formal and was very expensive or the beach restaurant.
There are a few bars. We preferred the Arabic style Sky Bar as you can sit outside and look at the Port lights and the Sea. The main lobby bar has live (not very good) music and is very busy so we only went once as the service is slow. The café bar serves coffee, tea and other soft drinks as well as snacks and pastries and overlooks the pool. The spa bar is at the guest only swimming pool. By the main pool there is a swim up bar which is very popular with day guests who are mainly military personnel and their families. This one gets very lively at times.
Both pools are a good size and pleasant to swim in. There is a fitness centre and spa by the guests only pool.
The rooms have internet access but I believe this doesn’t work so well, and there is a business centre next to the coffee shop.
Staff are very efficient and friendly.
The only criticism is the layout. The hotel is only has 3 floors so it is very spread out. It can take 20 minutes to walk from the room to the fitness centre. And the corridors seem endless.
We stayed for 6 nights on the dive boat MY Deli. It takes 12 people in 6 cabins.
The trip departs from Port Peche and is based around The Gulf of Tadjoura, Arta Ghoubet al Kharab and Mucha areas. See separate tips for each area.
The cabins are quite small as I expected and as the boat is quite old and built in the traditional style it is not as luxurious (I am told) as some of the dive boats in the Caribbean or Egypt. The bathroom is very small with toilet, basin and shower and guests are encouraged to conserve water by only having one shower a day. As there is no air conditioning (never bothers me, of course!) the cabins get quite stuffy so most people spend most of their time on the deck or in the small dining room just below deck.
There are 6 staff – the dive master, second in command, cook, boat mechanic and two guys in charge of the 2 satellite boats which are used for whale watching and diving trips and going ashore.
The daily itinerary varies depending on whether it is the season for whale sharks. It was when we went –
6.45 wake up call, coffee and biscuits
7.30 dive or snorkelling trip
10.30 whale shark trip
2.00 whale shark trip
4.00 dive or snorkel
6.30 night dive
The dive master holds a briefing before each dive/snorkel or whale watching trip to advise on what to see and where and safety precautions or currents. Each time we had a whale shark briefing the tune from “The Benny Hill Show” (An old British comedy show from the 1960’s) was played on the music system which always made us laugh. Every time I hear it now I will think of whale sharks!
The food on the MY Deli was quite good and was included in the cost of the trip, along with water. I expected more fresh fish. We had fish caught by the crew 3 times, also chicken, pasta and sausages quite a lot! The vegetables were very nice all the time and the pot of chocolate “Nutella” at breakfast was very popular after being in the sea! Drinks cost €2 for soft drinks, €3 for beer and €4 for spirits. The only other expense is a tip for the staff, €35 recommended, and hire of diving equipment if you don’t have it.
There is electricity on deck for charging cameras but limited sockets so you need to get there quick when your battery runs low.
The MY Deli is operated by Dolphin Excursions.
During the Whale Shark season you have the best chance of seeing them from a Live Aboard.
This place is pure luxury. A world class hotel to be proud of and the only true 5-star accommodation in the whole country. It is also one of the top hotels in Africa. The bedrooms are luxurious, the dinning is sublime, service is amazing and the hotel grounds are like that of s Sheik’s palace. Even the outside pool area looks like to cover of an expensive travel magazine. You can rent a room by the day if you just want to pamper yourself and enjoy a sunlounger in a tent around the pool overlooking the sea. You can also just come for a meal at one of all their all-you-can- eat theme nights. I went to the Mexican night where the price includes all drinks. I left heavier, drunker and happier than at any hotel I have ever dined at in Africa.
A true palace and worth it if you can afford it. Don’t even think about staying in the Sheraton – a completely inferior hotel.
You can’t get a better hotel for less than this hotel. I stayed 1 night for $10 less at a noisy place that SOLD me soap. The Hotel de France is more like renting a very large apartment. I had a kitchen, living room with furniture, satellite TV and a huge storage room. That was the ground floor. Upstairs I had a huge queen-sized bed, wardrobes, ceiling fans, air conditioning, an outside veranda with furniture, closets and a basic bathroom. It could uses a little cleaning here and there and some paint in a few places. By local hotel standards this is super cheap and I enjoyed my spacious accommodation. Security is on your front door 24 hours a day and they even have a place to braai. The centre of the town starts across the street. I loved this place.
They never seem to be full, I just showed up.
Tourist Camp du Day is a primitive campsite high in the Goda Mountains, and is the only available accommodation for anyone traveling to Forêt du Day National Park. Campers stay in domed huts similar to those used as housing by the local Afar tribesmen. A raised wooden platform keeps campers off the earthen floor (which can be crawling with ants). Although a blanket is provided, visitors should bring their own sleeping bags and pillows, as it can get quite chilly at night. There is no electricity in any of the huts, but kerosene lanterns cast a soft glow and add to the adventure of the camping experience.
Basic and unimaginative meals are cooked in a shack constructed of logs, and the dining area is in another similar shack. A generator supplies electricity for the cooking and dining shacks, so visitors are able to eat under fluorescent lighting.
And there is a shower, toilet, and sink located in a small concrete structure next to the camping area.
Hôtel la Siesta is a clean, basic hotel facing the Gulf of Tadjoura, just five minutes from downtown Djibouti City, and ten minutes from the airport. The hotel was closed in 2005 during a complete renovation, and reopened in 2006. Hôtel la Siesta has 34 rooms, each with a private terrace facing the sea. All rooms also have cable television and air conditioning.
Hôtel la Siesta features a pool in a garden setting, a poolside bar, a lobby bar, a nightclub (which is located far enough from the rooms that guests cannot hear the music), and an excellent outdoor rooftop restaurant specializing in French cuisine.
Entrance, lobby and poolside in need of renovation, but (at least on the 6th floor) the rooms have been reffurbished in a modern. elegant and luxurious way. One complaint: water in the bath/shower is only lukewarm.
Club. Casino. Nice swimming pool. Beach rather limited and sea not very accessible at low tide. Single 30,000 Djibouti francs, double 36,000 including (reasonable) breakfast.
This Hotel lies approximately 2 km south of the citycenter. It has rooms only with AC and own bathrooms with showers and toilets. The staff is friendly and helpful, but only french is possible.An overnight is 3000 Francs(17US$)
Ask a taxidriver for this hotel in the citycenter and he will take you to this place for 500 Francs (Nov 06)
The room is of a decent size with air conditionning and satellite TV.
The balcony overlooks the 'beach', a dirty, stinky strip of gravel with dirty water. The stink comes from the rotting seaweed.
The hotel pool is currently closed and does not look like it's going to re-open anytime soon. The back yard is a mess of broken tables, mud and drying linen.
No hot water, no water pressure beyond the second floor.
The above doesn't sound too great but believe me, for Djibouti it's good! At least the rooms were clean-ish and blissfully cool & quiet.
Not sure of the rate as the room was part of a package but a couple paid $40 to keep their room for a late check-in.
Update: apparently it's approx $90 in 2010 for a room here, which is an outrageous price for what you get, however, the choice of hotels is limited in Djibouti!
Phone (253) 350405 Fax (253) 356500
Located on a peninsula, the Djibouti Sheraton is a Sheraton standard international Hotel on a very nice beach, which has its own beach club. It was just down the Street from the Embassy were I worked.
We had to wait for the boat for more than a whole day, so we slept at the seaside in the dock. It was superb.
I guess this hotel was the best was i saw in the whole country and not only in the capital, Djibouti City !!!
Clean & organised but expensive !
Hotels in Djibouti City are overpriced in all categories. Even the cheapest dumps charge around 20 USD/night.
Note that air-con is essential if you want to get some sleep.
The best budget option I could find was the Hotel Banadir near the market, which was clean and friendly in addition to being "cheap".
Just a room with AC and three beds in it. Very less mosquitos (Dec 04)
walking distance from the European Quater of the city. Pay only 2000 DFR for a bed with fan and 2500 for a bed in AC room along with two others beds.
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