If you didn’t already know, visiting the ancient city of Lalibela in Ethiopia is an absolute must if you’re spending any time in this wonderful country.
Displaying some of the most incredible rock-hewn churches in the world, this is Africa’s Petra in all its glory… and with the half tourists!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely one of the most sensational places I’ve been in the world, to experience Lalibela is to step back in time to a world where mysticism and magic dominates.
Honestly, I can wax lyrical about this place, and I will do in a forthcoming blog post, but right now, I want to tell you about the fantastic Lalibela Hotel I found, perfect for those on a budget, who want to be right in the centre of the action.
- Top Budget Accommodation in Addis Ababa
- How Much Does It Cost to Travel Ethiopia?
- Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Lalibela, Ethiopia
My stay at Red Rock Hotel was kindly sponsored, but as always, all views are my own.
This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.
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And when I say right in the heart of the action, that’s exactly what Red Rock Lalibela Hotel was.
Perfect for solo travellers, everything could easily be reached within walking distance from the hotel door, which meant heading out by yourself – even at night – couldn’t have been easier or safer.
Being so centrally located, the Red Rock Lalibela Hotel is also perfect for those on a budget as you can avoid having to take tuk-tuks when heading out for dinner or to see the famous rock-hewn churches, which are just a 5-10 minute stroll away.
There’s also banks, shops, restaurants and the Ethio Telecom office (which, as I discovered, is very handy if you want to pick up a cheap SIM card) all just a 2-3 minute walk from the front door.
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Peaceful and Safe
But despite being in the heart of the action, Red Rock Lalibela Hotel, feels amazingly quiet, peaceful and safe.
It’s the perfect stop to relax after a long, hot day of sightseeing and with a great restaurant on site, if you don’t even feel like venturing out after all those churches, you don’t have to!
And because the food was so delicious and well-priced, I have to admit, that on more than 1 occasion I didn’t bother!
Can I recommend the Fasting Food option here – a delicious vegan Injera dish – which, despite being so flavoursome, I couldn’t even finish because it was so big!
6 PACKING ESSENTIALS FOR ETHIOPIA
#1 Headlamp – required for those all too often power cuts. I always recommend Black Diamond as the top travel brand in this area.
#2 Toilet Paper – most places don’t provide it, although Red Rock Lalibela Hotel does!
#3 Long, Thin Trousers – perfect for the cold evenings, hiking trips and conservative dress standards during the day.
#4 Good Camera – an absolute must if you’re looking to capture the incredible landscape and cultural practices of Lalibela. I love my mirrorless Sony A6000, which is light, compact and robust – ideal for Africa travel!
#5 Hiking Boots – necessary for dusty roads, walking to the churches and cold nights. KEEN’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot are a great option.
#6 Travel Scarf or Sarong – whether it’s covering your shoulders in churches, warding off the dust from your nose and mouth or wrapping round you at night as a shawl, this is a great multi-purpose travel item for Ethiopia.
Free Coffee, Free Wifi, Free Breakfast!
And it wasn’t just the food I loved here, but of course the coffee too!
In fact, Red Rock Lalibela Hotel, actually has a famous Ethiopian coffee ceremony set up right in the reception area, so there’s some of the country’s black gold available anytime of the day.
And not only is it available, it’s also FREE!
Yes free unlimited Ethiopian coffee. Does it get better than that?!
Well actually yes it does – there’s also free wifi and free breakfast!
This definitely makes the Red Rock Lalibela Hotel, the bargain of the century and here’s why…
Fantastic Value at the Best Spot in Town
From just $15 USD (price correct at time of publication) you can have your own private room at Red Rock Lalibela Hotel, with your own ensuite bathroom and private balcony.
But wait, this isn’t just any old balcony.
This is a balcony with stunning views over the whole valley.
And I mean the whole valley.
There are waves and waves of mountains as far as you can see here and perched on a hill, the hotel is the perfect place from which to enjoy Lalibela’s spectacular scenery.
From sunrise to sunset, you are treated to the most incredible landscape right from your bed (if you draw the curtains) and snapping the scene as the light changes across the day was something I spent way too long doing!
But once you get here, you’ll understand why.
Honestly, this place is breathtaking and Red Rock Lalibela Hotel, capitalises on this to the max.
But a setting alone, doesn’t make a great hotel, more often than not it’s the staff that do and here, they were marvellous.
With excellent English, friendly smiles and a wonderfully helpful service, I really could not fault this group of fantastic ladies.
In fact, I struggled to find any fault at all with the Red Rock Lalibela Hotel… even after wracking my brains for this review!
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And There’s More…
From the piping hot water here (a dream during the cold evenings here and trust me I like my showers HOT!) to the beautiful grassy garden at the back of the hotel, or the shady terrace at the front, there was literally nothing missing from this incredibly well-priced accommodation option.
There’s even a super cheap laundry service available to guests (my clothes came back in an afternoon) and a shuttle to the airport can be ordered for you for just 100 Birr (about $4 USD).
Sure, we had power and water failures, but what’s a night in Ethiopia without even of these things!
And anyway, I prefer my coffee by candlelight!
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2 thoughts on “Red Rock Lalibela Hotel: Right Place, Right Price”
We just came back from Lalibela, this past weekend (2-4th of January), and stayed at the Red Rock Lalibela. I have a slightly different perspective on the quality of this hotel. Our perspective comes from living in Ethiopia for 2 years and having travelled around Eth and Africa quite a bit.
First, the positives: (1) it is about 10-15 minutes from the church ticketing office, (2) the staff are friendly* (I’ll explain the * in a moment), (3) the hotel felt safe for a family with small kids, and (4) the breakfast was okay (eggs, toast, coffee).
Second, the negatives: (1) no water (or rather water between 7-8am and 6-7pm), which is a problem if you want to take a shower, wash your hands, or flush the toilet, (2) no hot water (it takes 30 minutes to heat up the water so you have to time it perfectly, and the tanks are small), (3) rooms are super dusty, (4) bathroom have massive water leakage problems (flooding) with toilet, shower, sink, and hose (maybe why the water is shut off), (5) power goes out a lot (no generator or backup), (6) sliding door in our room didn’t close and we had to tape it and stuff sheets in the cracks, (7) there is construction all around the hotel and bars, whereas there are plenty of other hotels close enough to churches that have no construction (i.e. noisy, dusty, no view), (8) rooms overpriced for what you get, and (9) manager was not forthcoming about any of the issues, even after multiple emails, and when I asked him why he didn’t mention the water or power he told me “if I did you would not have come…plus this is Africa…”
As you can imagine, I complained quite a bit to get these things fixed. To the managers credit, he attempted to fix the leaks, he turned on the water when asked, and he gave us a 10% reduction in the price. With that said, it took a lot of effort (intense discussion) on my part to get this done, and it was more of a discussion around just take it or leave attitude. Also, the women working at the hotel were nice and did what they could to help us out.
I find the recommendation of this hotel in the blog far from what we experienced. There are plenty of other hotels in Lalibela that offer more and provide better environment. If you are only going for one or two days, you can weigh the pros and cons but just be warned Lalibela is super dusty (no paved roads) and hot, and coming back to a decent room with water and power makes a difference.
Many thanks for the detailed feedback. I haven’t visited Red Rock since 2018 and it sounds like it’s changed quite a bit since then… and not for the better!
As I’m sure you can appreciate, I write blogs at the time, based on my experience, but can’t stay up to date with how the conditions may change over a number of years.
Updated feedback like yours, therefore, really does help other travellers out and I certainly appreciate you taking the time to leave so much detail.
Hoping the rest of your trip to Ethiopia was more enjoyable!