The Jupiter International Hotel — Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Although I have not rented a room and slept there, the Jupiter International Hotel has been a “home away from home” during my time in Addis Ababa. I have found the staff, the atmosphere, the food and managers much more than pleasant. There is a hospitality that I have never experienced in any of the hotel chains I have patronized back in the States. I come to the lobby bar of the Jupiter 3 or 4 mornings per week to use their free Wi-Fi, have breakfast and when I work into the afternoon, lunch and drink or two. 🙂

As an environmentalist, one of the things I really appreciate about the Jupiter is their interest in environmental responsibility. In one of their promotional publications they indicate that:

  • This hotel is locally owned by Ethiopian nationals,
  • They buy most of their food locally,
  • They use energy saving light bulbs and
  • The hotel has water and energy saving strategies at both of their sites in Addis Ababa.

This is a good way to start a new century in which energy issues will be central to all of our lives all over the globe. In my opinion, localization should be on everyone’s agenda all over the planet. It’s actually a survival strategy, a prescription for a healthy, vital planet.

Jupiter International Hotel has been a great place to write and also have significant unexpected meetings. For example, recently while waiting for the Wi-Fi to kick in, which is a problem all over Addis Ababa, I struck up a conversation with a handsome young man in business suit with dreadlocks whose name is Alula. I quickly discovered that he was born in Ethiopia but grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and most recently lived in Chicago, Illinois, my hometown. We talked about things political, cultural, environmental and spiritual and a mentoring program he helped to create within some of Chicago’s inner city charter schools for African American males.

After a while Alula needed to leave for another meeting, but I remained doing my work. A few hours later he returned and by then we had Internet service in the room again. I greeted him and he found a seat toward the back of the room and started working again himself. The next thing I knew a young woman greeted me warmly. She is in fact the daughter of the late Prime Minister Melus of Ethiopia who died suddenly in office last year. I didn’t recognize her at first, but she reminded me that we met a week or 2 previously when my Ethiopian sister Elsa who is owner of the Black Rose nightclub, brought me to a house party at the home of one of our extended family members. We had given this young woman a ride to the party and back. She then waved at Alula and I asked how do you know him? She said that we were both at his father’s house at the same party. I then ended up connecting some important dots. Alula is the son of my exes, ex. That’s the reality of blended families in our global village! The conclusion: Oh! We’re family! This was all quite funny to both of us.

I came to the Jupiter so often during my stay in Addis that people greeted me like an old friend. I was definitely a regular! Toward the end of my 3-month stay, one of the managers gave me a tour of the hotel. I got to see several beautifully inviting guest rooms in warm, restful tones, 2 conference rooms, a business center, workout room with saunas, as well as a rooftop restaurant currently under construction.

If at some point I am able to bring my higher education students here for a semester-long experiential education course, I would love for Jupiter to possibly house the students as they first arrive to begin their semester’s introduction and be the last place they stay and debrief before going back home to the US. All that is far from a done deal, but I have had some good conversations and relationship building with the management. They have also provided leads to other possible partners or people resources that might be helpful in establishing an educational partnership here in Ethiopia.

If any of you world-traveling readers make your way to Addis Ababa, I recommend a stay or visit to the Jupiter International Hotel, a local, world class, family owned business. Reflective of the name, the food there is also international (Asian, Ethiopian, Italian, Indian, German, Middle Eastern) and of a good quality. I often notice classic American jazz on the sound system and one night a week there is live jazz in the bar. Along with that, there is always a warm, graceful hospitality that always feels sincere. And if that is not enough, consider that from week to week and month to month, there is usually and international mix of guests staying at the Jupiter from just about every continent. I wish to extend a special thank you to Samuel, Fikerte, Abraham and other staff members for your care and attention during my weekly visits.