Maribela is the finest hotel in the town of Lalibela, northern Ethiopia. Long known as one of the country’s most interesting tourist destinations, the town is a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its range of ancient rock-cut churches.
Named for the Amharic word for Lalibela, the Maribela Hotel combines modern luxury and traditional textures. The reception area sets the tone with its extensive use of exposed local red and brown stone, dark wood and wickerwork. The high-ceilinged restaurant continues the theme, giving a delightfully local feel and the opportunity to eat in or outdoors, and is adjoined by a very comfortable lounge area in which to enjoy a pre-meal drink. The furnishings are plush and locally-sourced, much of it wooden and ornately carved, and there are flashes of bright Ethiopian arts and crafts in the lampshades and other fixtures. The home-cooked food on offer is both local and continental and there is a full bar available, as well as a terrace.
The location of the Maribela Hotel really comes into its own in the rooms themselves; the hotel is at the edge of town, and each of the 20 rooms has a private balcony with day-beds from which to enjoy the panoramic mountain views. The rooms come with single, double or twin beds, mostly four-posters with attractive traditional engravings; all rooms are en-suite and have a light and airy ambience. The furniture, as in the restaurant, has been selected both for comfort and for the local feel of the materials and carvings.
Activities at Maribela Hotel range from exploring the architectural heritage and culture of the town to trips into the mountains.