A Delight – Cloud 9 and Skylight In-Terminal Hotel

When I was invited to Germany, I thought it would be great to again experience Ethiopian Airlines. When I mentioned this, the energetic and lively Bilen Arefaine, Regional Director of the Indian Sub-Continent, said it would be great as you can also visit our new Skylight In-Terminal Hotel as well as the renovated business class lounge. She was right and it was truly an amazing experience.

Cloud 9 – Ethiopian Business Class

Ethiopian Airlines remains the largest and fastest-growing Airline in Africa, and having experienced it several times, I have to admire the hospitality that the airline provides apart from the inflight comfort. This time was no exception.

Ethiopian Business Class – Cloud 9 makes you feel special. Traveling on Cloud 9 has multiple advantages – an additional baggage allowance, an exclusive C9 lounge access, and priority boarding. Most of the airline’s long-haul Boeing and Airbus aircraft feature fully flat Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 layout. The Boeing 787-9 aircraft has a more striking 1-2-1 layout, while the new A350 aircraft features a staggered 1-2-1 layout.

While I flew 4 sectors – Mumbai – Addis – Frankfurt – Addis – Frankfurt, my experience on A350 was the best. The cabin and seat on the airline’s new A350s are quite comfortable and can give a run to other global airlines. As with most Ethiopian airlines, the business class seats were a combination of bright red and green, Ethiopian’s signature colors. They reclined to a lie-flat position, but the footwell on these seats can be narrow and constraining when reclined in the fully-flat position. Another interesting addition to the product that I noticed is they have a large storage cupboard with a mirror and additional handset behind the headrest. Very useful to keep your spectacles and phone in a safe place while sleeping (frequent travelers will recall their specs and mobiles falling off/under the seat). Amenity kits in Cloud 9 come in three distinct colors taken from the Ethiopian national flag – green, yellow, and red.

I found the Ethiopian Airlines flight crew to be very kind and professional. As always, their traditional Ethiopian attire impressed me. The crew came round with a pre-departure drink, either champagne or orange juice. On the food side, there is plenty of choice, and you won’t be going hungry.

Skylight In-Terminal Hotel

Ethiopian Airlines has launched an in-terminal hotel (transiting guests never need to leave airside), the Skylight In-Terminal Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole Airport. The new main terminal building (Terminal 2) is very easy to navigate with most departure gates in a straight line.

On arrival, the signage is easy to follow and through a set of escalators, you enter the hotel. Surprisingly one has to walk halfway down through a corridor of rooms to reach the hotel reception. Adjacent to the reception is the dining area – quite spacious and an excellent spread of delicacies.

I had the pleasure of meeting the hotel manager Kirubel Henok who took me around the hotel. The hotel has 97 rooms and for an in-terminal hotel surprisingly has 5 categories of rooms, from the Standard King/Twin to Executive Suites. There are also rooms that meet accessibility requirements. “Our rooms are quite comfortable with a starting size of 24 sqm to 71sqm. Each room has an armchair, a marble coffee table, a working table, two USB-A ports. This is very convenient for business travelers including corporate people who instead of spending time in the lounge can do their work, have a quick meeting, a video conference with all privacy. Diplomats transiting also prefer our hotel,” said Kirubel Henok. I had to agree as it was much bigger and better than most in-terminal hotels.

The hotel is available for stays from four hours up to 24 hours.

Cloud 9 lounge

The new Cloud 9 lounge at Addis Ababa with 5,000 sq. mt (an upgrade that was long overdue) is quite large – the lounge has a series of rooms which stretch all the way to the other side of the terminal with large skylights and sculptural light fittings. With a capacity for 600 passengers, showers, a wide selection of F&B including the famous Ethiopian coffee ceremony it’s worth a visit. In addition to the large seating areas, the lounge has a nap area, prayer rooms. Surprisingly the buffet (a variety of refreshments, cold and hot snacks) is at the rear of the lounge and is the most crowded area. The best part is (over many global lounges) is one need not worry when to board their flights as a staff will personally come to announce the departure time for each flight. There are separate lounges for Star Alliance Gold and Silver passengers

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