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Now, an amazing oasis awaits travelers willing to push through the 40km of bustling traffic between Addis and Debre Zeit. The delightful new retreat, Pyramid Resort Hotel, built facing Bishoftu, the deepest of the seven lakes in Debre Zeit, sits on a 3,250sqm plot.
Designed by the Architect Iyassu Siraj, it features32exquisitely furnished 64sqm rooms, a lounge, meeting halls, spa, children’s corner, and a swimming pool.
The resort is decorated tastefully with décor that is primarily local. A young and upcoming designer, Ermias Shibiru, combined with Architect Tirsit Tekle‘s insightful creativity has given the place a relaxing and original look.
Daniel Assefa, 39, is the man behind the magic. He is jovial with a quiet energy and unassuming manners.
“I went to China three times but the materials I found there didn’t really inspire me. I came back to Ethiopia and looked for potential furniture designers and producers here, then I ended up setting up our own workshop to produce all the wooden and steel furniture in the resort,” Daniel said.
“I believe in giving a chance and opportunity for those with skill and potential to try their hand. That is why you have originality in the furniture,” he said.
Daniel is married and has two kids. Since his father passed away when he was in ninth grade he has been working in hotels to support his mother. His family has been in the hotel business for a long time, with Geberewoch and Bishoftu Afaf Hotels in Debre Zeit.
After finishing school he went into the importing and exporting business but his heart was still in the service industry. He set up Pyramid Paradise Hotel twelve years ago, and opened it for his own wedding. Talk about a double celebration!
When Daniel talks about Pyramid Resort his eyes light up;
“Of course I have a hotel in Debre Zeit but creating a resort is a dream come true, Debre Zeit is my home and building a resort is just a natural progression from the work I have done so far,” he exclaimed.
Daniel was allotted the plot through an eight million birr lease from the government. He relocated the Kebele office that was previously there and five years later, voila! A new style of resort came to the area, combining modern and traditional looks with a Mediterranean touch. Daniel says, Pyramid Resort offers luxurious rooms, a great view, a relaxing atmosphere, very good service at a competitive price and to top it all off, it is managed by Shewanch Kinfu, who brings his experience of working with Hilton Hotel Addis.
My dream was to build a complete resort with all the amenities, but with the limited space available, we decided to do the best with it and chose a Moroccan style. To achieve this however, says Daniel, the Bishoftu Hotel Association helped me a lot. The Association headed by Tadewos Getachew, is mainly set up to support the hotel and tourism industry in the area. Tadewos, who is the founder and owner of Boston Day Spy and Kuriftu Resorts and Spa, has been very instrumental to the success of this project from the inception to the design and construction says Daniel.
Daniel is also the Deputy Chairperson of the Tourism Council, an association that works to fill the gap in the industry. They provide guidance and support to improve the service and tourism sectors and help the government by working to attract tourists so that the sector will grow.
Daniel said the number of visitors to Debre Zeit has tripled in the last three years and even though they are seeing a large amount of local tourists, they are working hard to attract more foreign travelers.
“We want to build on the momentum we have,” he added.
Today there are roughly 400 beds in Debre Zeit, including all the hotels and resorts. And in the next two to three years the number of resorts in Debre Zeit will reach 21 from the existing eight.
Daniel recognizes that the heavy traffic on the road to and from Debre Zeit is a hindrance for now, but the problem will be alleviated when the new road to Nazareth opens shortly, he says confidently.
Soon there will be two roads feeding Debre Zeit from the Addis – Nazareth toll road; one in Dukem and another in Denkaka, just before Mojo. A third road that was planned for the Debre Zeit entrance, towards Adulala Resort is unfortunately said to be cancelled. ‘A pity for an area that is growing so fast,’ said visitors.
The 85 million birr resort did face challenges.
“The area is on volcanic rock so we didn’t have a machine in the area that could break ground, this made digging the basement difficult, they had to chisel their way down the old fashioned way,” he reminisced.
Lake Bishoftu is said to be 87 meters deep.
“People living in the area fish from it, so we don’t want to affect that,” says Daniel when asked if he will introduce motor boating or other recreational activities on the lake.
“Instead we are thinking of working with other resorts to create a hiking path for guests to walk around,” he said.
If allotted more land, Daniel hopes to build a tennis court and 100 more rooms. He has applied to the local government for the neighboring plots. When that is done, his next plan is to set up another resort in Langano.
Pyramid Resort was officially inaugurated Saturday December 14th in the presence of Abdulaziz Mohamed, Deputy President of Oromia Regional State and Amin Abdulkadir Minister of Tourism, other high officials, foreign dignitaries and over 500 invited guests.
The Resort employs 150 staff, and will recruit 50 more.