The Best Hotels to Book in Benin

Book a stay in La Casa del Papa for a back-to-nature experience in Benin
Book a stay in La Casa del Papa for a back-to-nature experience in Benin | Courtesy of La Casa del Papa / Expedia
Stuart Butler

The origin of Voodoo, Benin is a land laced with magic. Anyone who spends time in this West African nation will come home with improbable tales of witches, ghosts and sorcerers. But there’s more to Benin than voodoo magic. Cotonou, the commercial capital, is a regional centre for art and has long tropical beaches, lapped by the Atlantic, while the north is home to the best national parks in West Africa. To explore all that natural bounty and cultural riches, first you need a base. Here are the best hotels in Benin, all bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Maison Rouge, for art lovers in Cotonou


The pool area at Hotel Maison Rouge Cotonou has wooden decking and four sun loungers
Courtesy of Hotel Maison Rouge / Expedia

Entering this small hotel, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d walked into a modern-art gallery. Fish sculptures are splashed up one wall and weather-stained driftwood creations add an exclamation mark to the common spaces. The highlight, though, is the gardens, which are enclosed by desert-red walls and wrap around a long swimming pool – perfect for a few early morning or evening laps. The complimentary afternoon tea and cakes are a nice touch, too.

2. Hotel Acropole, for timeless charm


Cars are parked outside the Greek-style blue-and-white Hotel Acropole
Courtesy of Hotel Bergs / Expedia

The Acropole is one of those delightful hotels that has real time-worn character to it. Sure, the rooms have seen better days and there are certainly more modern options in town, but the Greek-run blue-and-white hotel has a relaxed charm that makes it irresistible if you’re in search of ye olde Benin. Tables and chairs are set on a shaded street-side terrace for people-watching and there’s a long, dusty wraparound bar propped up by old timers; join them to catch up on all the local gossip.

3. Azalai Hotel de la Plage, for beach lovers


The large lagoon-style pool at Azalaï Hotel Cotonou sits right by the Atlantic Ocean
Courtesy of Azalaï Hotel Cotonou / Expedia

It’s all about location at the Azalai Hotel de la Plage. One of the original hotels in Cotonou, it has cornered a patch of ground that’s both right in the city centre and on the beach. The rooms are all of an impressive size and there’s a big swimming pool that makes for much safer bathing than the nearby ocean, which has strong and unpredictable currents. Despite the central location, it’s surprisingly quiet here.

4. Hotel Ibis, for contemporary comforts and Voodoo sculpture


The Ibis Hotel in Cotonou has a brick driveway and a large, orange facade
Courtesy of Hotel Ibis / Expedia

Why mess with a tried-and-tested format? Well, at this hotel in Cotonou the rooms are as clean, functional and bright as you’d expect from this well-known chain hotel. But the communal areas, decorated with bold contemporary art prints and eye-catching miniature sculptures depicting the Voodoo culture of Benin, give this Ibis an upmarket feel. The expansive grounds are shaded by manicured palm trees and there’s a busy restaurant. It’s close to the airport and a beach.

5. Golden Tulip Le Diplomate, for mingling with movers and shakers


The modern pool area at Golden Tulip Le Diplomate has sun loungers and parasol-shaded dining tables
Courtesy of Golden Tulip Le Diplomate / Expedia

With Cotonou – the bustling economic capital – becoming an ever-more important destination for local and international bigwigs, who come here for a mix of business and leisure, the number of hotels catering to smartly suited guests grows. The Golden Tulip (which doesn’t have any tulips in sight) is one such hotel – set a short way back from the ocean waves and close to the airport. If you opt for one of their well-equipped, individually styled rooms, you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with movers and shakers from all over Africa.

6. Hotel Villa Les Orchidées, for an intimate guesthouse stay


The traditional-looking Hotel Villa Les Orchidées has Juliet balconies and a purple front
Courtesy of Hotel Villa Les Orchidées / Expedia

Les Orchidées is more of a small, friendly guesthouse than a hotel, which means it had to do something to stand out from its more formal competition. So they ran with a purple theme a few miles. The dazzling colour scheme now means it’s impossible to miss. Colour aside, though, this is a refreshingly low-key place in a good, quiet location. The simple but highly polished rooms have everything you’ll need and perks include a terrace bar and a thimble-sized pool for dipping.

7. Novotel Cotonou, for extensive mod cons


The pool area at Novotel Cotonou has modern Bali beds right by the water
Courtesy of Novotel Cotonou / Expedia

You know exactly what you’re getting for your money at this upmarket chain hotel. The compact rooms have extra-thick mattresses on the beds, double vanity sinks in the bathrooms, and are given a little local colour through wall-length art that channels the unique brand of Benin magic. The extensive landscaped grounds attract plenty of exotic birds while the vast pool complex attracts visitors of the two-legged variety. On particularly sultry days, you’re bound to appreciate the Arctic air-con in your abode.

8. Noahgarden Hotel, for getting the basics right


The tower block building of Noahgarden Hotel has brightly coloured balconies
Courtesy of Noahgarden Hotel / Expedia

Looking as if it were built out of giant, multi-coloured Lego blocks, this hotel in Cotonou offers spacious, tiled rooms that do the basics well enough. The staff add a little extra excitement to your stay by practicing origami with the bath towels to make them look like swans and other animals. While the location, out to the northwest of the city centre, isn’t really walkable to the city attractions, it’s a short taxi ride to the restaurants and sands of Obama Beach.

9. La Casa del Papa, for a coastal retreat near Ouidah


The wind blows palm trees and the Atlantic Ocean at the pool area at La Casa del Papa
Courtesy of La Casa del Papa / Expedia

La Casa del Papa sits serenely beneath a grove of coconut trees on an empty stretch of beach, a short drive southwest of the historic town of Ouidah, known for its prominent role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The butter-yellow cottages are light and airy and have plenty of classic charm, but also come with modern amenities. It’s quite a trek into town so it’s a good job there’s a quality in-house restaurant serving fresh seafood, a bar to sip classic cocktails, and a spa for pampering. While the ocean is not suitable for swimming here, you can still get up close with nature by kayaking in the coastal mangroves.

10. Hotel Awalé Plage, for superb beach views in Grand-Popo


A cottage-like building at Hotel Awalé Plage, next to which are palm trees
Courtesy of Hotel Awalé Plage / Expedia

This is a high-quality, French-run hotel set back from the gorgeous white-sand beach of Grand-Popo – a spread-out, one-street resort village close to the Benin-Togo border. Large rooms, which come in three different styles and price bands, are spaced out among an attractively landscaped garden filled with a riot of tropical flowers. There’s a quality restaurant and a huge, superb swimming pool which is a far more idyllic place to do your laps than the rolling surf of the Atlantic that you see from your windows.

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