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Hotel Orient Star: Back in the USSR
You could be excused for thinking that is where you are when you check in at Shahrisabz's only 3 star hotel (there are none with 4 stars). Vast echoing corridors lead off the vast echoing lobby and the rooms, whilst spacious and clean were functional rather than stylish. Built during the Soviet era and still undergoing renovations (the upper floors seemed to be deserted and, from the outside, still awaiting the renovator's touch), there's more than a whiff of the old regime about the place - you wouldn't be surprised to find an old-style floor supervisor guarding the bathplugs here, but if there is, she'd gone off for tea when we were there and the young men who seemed to be in charge were quite charming , if more than a little flummoxed by the responsibility of their jobs.
We were greeted with a smile and a welcome pot of tea, breakfast (served in an upstairs dining room that brought a smile of recognition to the face of the member of our group who had studied in Russia in the 1980s) was copious. It was all fine, we were only there for a night and if I were to return to Shahrisabz (and I just might do that one day) I'd stay here again ... not that there's a lot of choice!
Situated at the top end of Ipak Yuli Street, with a view across the Victory Park and the statue of Temur, the hotel is in an ideal location for an evening or early morning stroll down the main street of the town. It is the only hotel in town used by tour groups so, even though most tours treat Shahrisabz as a day excursion from Samarkand, booking would be wise if you're travelling inderpendently in high season - Spring and Autumn - as other options are very limited and there's no town nearby to move on to should there be no room at the inn.
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