This guesthouse was recommended to me by the Dilijan Tourist Office (2680-5651), and I was very pleased that they did. It's a charming country house owned by Nina Khovananyan. Her daughter speaks English, but she's sometimes in Yerevan, so you'll have to make do with Nina's limited English or speak in Russian or Armenian. Nina lives downstairs, and upstairs there's a small, simple bedroom or an enormous suite. I suggest calling ahead and trying to reserve the suite! It has several huge bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. Everyone shares a clean, modern bathroom, but there's also Nina's downstairs bathroom that guests are welcome to use if the upstairs one is busy. If you have your own computer, there is a reasonably fast Internet connection.
And while it's called a "B&B," Nina can provide you with all of your meals. Everything I ate there was delicious. All kinds of vegetables, homemade stews, cheesecakes, and even some homemade vodka. Nina has her own large garden, chickens, and beehives, so many of the food items come right from the premises, such as the fresh omelettes and toast with honey at breakfast.
There are several other guesthouses on the same street, and Nina is happy to take you to any of them if she doesn't have room or if her place just isn't to your liking. It's only about a 5 minute walk to the historical museum and 10 minutes to the bus station area. There's also safe spaces for parking inside the fence.
I was very impressed with Nina's friendliness, honesty, and willingness to do whatever she could to make my visit to Dilijan more comfortable. She often works with a professional driver that can be hired for a few hours or even a week. Nina did seem rather discouraged that Dilijan hasn't been getting many tourists these days, but she's still hopeful that the tourists will start coming and she'll be able to continue expanding and improving her guesthouse.
O.K., I was driven around by a taxi driver when I first arrived in Dilijan. He first drove me up somewhere on a hillside to some A-frame cabins that were on the grounds of a university of some sort. It was a long walk down the hill to town and the whole place, including the cabins, was deserted and for some reason I just didn't feel right when I set foot in the cabins (Cue the soundbite from PSYCHO - "We have 12 cabins and 12 vacancies")... I later read in the Lonely Planet that these cabins are supposedly haunted!! I didn't stay there, but I got that eerie vibe that told me to sleep elsewhere.
The driver then took me down the hill and across the main road to another sort of dorm/guesthouse. I don't know the name, but it was supposed to be for medical students, and unsurprisingly, there was no one staying there... It must have been a holiday period for Armenian students at that particular time of year. The building I was staying in was being worked on though my room was pretty muck satisfactory. There was only hot water at night, but the room was clean and it had a nice big window facing west. I stayed there one night.
Strangely enough, and I did not know about the haunted cabins on the hill on the other side of the road, I woke up once or twice that night and was a bit nervous about an eeire presence in that building. I opened the door to my room and looked down the hall (which, as I have said, was a mess because ot the construction going on) and saw a blueish light flickering in the darkness from another room. I walked down the hall to see what it was and when I turned the corner and looked down I saw a gas heater of some sort burning. I thought it was odd because it was the middle of the night and I was the only person in the building (or was I?) and why would the owners waste gas ? Anyways, I went back to my room, shut the door and went back to bed and continued to feel that queer sense of something lurking in the walls....
I left the next morning for Sonahin.
Maybe the place is haunted when it's empty. Maybe not. The owners were really nice, but their English was about as good as my Russian, so we spoke in very general terms.
When we left Tbilisi, two travelers had given us the name and address of this homestay - just in case, they said. The owner, Karin, lives in Yerevan and is a teacher of English and in summer she spend her holidays in Dilijian with her husband Volodja, and rent out a room or - in our case - their living-room with fold-out bed.
A most uncomfortable bed - but an experience I can recommend. The house is far from being fancy (you should see the plumbing system), basic actually, and yet this is how lucky people with government jobs live. Our stay was a stay full of laughter and joy: our hosts were wonderful. We paid 10'000 each for accommodation and three delicious meals - and they helped us find a taxi to visit some monasteries in the area.
In Dilijan I stayed at a lovely guesthouse, Ghazaryan’s Guesthouse (Dili Villa). Home at the moment when I was there was the manager Nune and her daughter in law, Anne. They were very kind and helpful and cooked great food. Bed, breakfast and dinner (more than you can eat) was 11000 drams (July 2006) And I was not charged for using the washing machine.
The house is situated in the end of a small road, surrounded by trees. On the balcony there is a hammock where it is nice to sit in the summer evenings. In the yard there is a ping-pong table for the ones who like to play.
Nune’s husband is an artist so the house is decorated with many of his paintings. There are several rooms for guests and a modern bathroom. As I left I got a small embroidered Armenian letter that Nune had made.
It is really a place to recommend!
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