I can still remember my first hotel in the USSR. 1986. Passports handed in to reception and suspicious, distrustful looks. Then up the stairs to the first landing. There an old Matron with a stare that could kill 20 Imperialists eyed you up. She would be at her desk, guarding the 1 TV (with the 1 station never on) and an eagle eye-view from the desk to every door on that floor. You were scanned and allowed – to climb another set of stairs. You then arrive and see… an old Matron with a stare that could kill 20 Imperialists eyed you up. She would be at her desk, guarding the 1 TV (with the 1 station never on) and an eagle eye-view from the desk to every door on that floor. 5-25 floors – it never mattered. And your room key was NEVER at reception. No. It was with the floor Matron. Young, yet made of old steel. Ready to report you for subversive activities and sentence you to 2 extra nights in the same hotel.
You reach your room? Dark, mouldy, no shower curtain, maybe some flip-flops. Parts of mismatched carpet, a diabolical bed, little or no curtain, maybe a little heat and a blanket that was too short.
Did I say 1986? Yes, but the spirit is alive today with the daughters running this Soviet Museum. And it’s expensive for what you pay for!
My half toilet seat finally broke and scratched my backside. My bed flipped forward and pitched me along the room when I sat on it. The carpets ARE originals and smell accordingly. The curtain is see through – get up! And you can hear about everything.
Ashtrays are standard – of course it smells like smoke fool!
If you stay here – you get what you deserve.
I have actually dug out some of my USSR pictures (1986) and Belarus pictures (2004) and I can assure you – this place is still the same. The ‘reception’ area is where Matron irons linen and watches the one TV. And she has your key in another room.
Don’t stay here – you wouldn’t sleep in a museum would you.
There are some good and great places to stay in Baku. This isn’t even good enough to be bad.
Where do I begin?
* Smells like mould
* Matron on every floor staring at you
* The TV on every floor goes on - very loud - at 2am when the vodka kicks in
* A bed of nails would be better
* Broken toilets/heaters/doors/beds - you don't get a choice
* You actually have to pay to stay here
* Curtains that let in 99% of light and 120% of noise
I never stayed here. That’s because I was never given the chance. I agreed to get picked up at the airport and no one showed up. They never answered the land line phone or mobile. I was there at 4am in the morning wondering what to do. So I got in a taxi and he drove around for 1 hour trying to find the place at great expense. I had read a review, by a complete idiot, that said this was in the Old Town. It’s not! It’s ’15 minutes drive’ from the Old Town as a better website explained. They said it was near ‘SOS Child Village’. The Manager from SOS got in my taxi - at 5am! - trying to help me find this place. Nothing.
Then they rang me at 2am the next night.
I ended up in a Catholic Church and homeless shelter for a while. Interesting considering this is a Muslim country. The Priests and Nuns got me a taxi and off I went to another hotel. In fact I spent as much on taxis as I did at the second hotel.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Several other reviews on other websites explain this has no signs or markings, often don’t answer the phone and is hard to find. I wish I had read those. Please read mine.
Please save yourself some trouble and book somewhere in the Old Town or nearby. The Centre of town has accommodation that is affordable and walkable to the Old City.
The ability to hide a whole hostel!
I can only say good things about the City of Baku, the people of this beautiful and amazing place. And of course the Noah's Ark Hotel is not the exception.
Is a very nice 3 stars hotel, clean, good service and so on. But the most important is the very kind people that work here, make you to feel at home. Really, i never thought that i was in a Hotel, i was in the house of my friends.
I have only good things to say, of course there are things to fix and make better, like in any hotel of the world, but if you consider the price and service is a 5 stars combination.
Maybe the only bad thing is that don'y have elevator to go the beautiful top floor where is the restaurant, the view is unique. You can see the city and the bay of Caspian Sea. Is really beautiful and unique.
The hotel is in the middle of Old City, a few meters from Maiden Tower and to the Metro Station. You dont need taxi here, the pubs, bars, disco, shops, museums, everything is near. So, for me is the best choice. :)
It is out of city center,but it was very near to our representative office,therefore I decided to stay in here.4 star hotel but they deserve only 3 star..all rooms equipped with cable internet but didn't work,poor bathroom..anyhow all staffs were very friendly..
Rooms have 24 hour hot and cold water, Air-conditioning (hot/cold), security service.
Unlimited Internet service for clients is free of charge (Internet room).
Full Laundry service.
Room price includes fitness, sauna.
Billiard, Skating, Bowling free of charge.
Ironing service at hotel is free of charge for our clients.
This is a great hotel for business travelers (aka. expense accounts)
It has all the frills: suites with GREAT views, fitness center, indoor pool, restaurants, etc.
It's a great location- within a short walk to the Old City and right near Fountain Square and the Nargis Mall.
We faced a unique experience during our visit. The main water line to the city was disrupted and Baku did not have any water for 3 days. However, the Radisson's water tank provided us with undistrubed, hot, flowing water throughout the time and we were incredibly relieved!
It's these moments that it's great to stay in luxury hotels!
Amazing views from the hotel rooms (better than climbing the Maiden Tower!)
This is a 3 star hotel that is perfect if you're looking for a good deal, great location, and don't need all the frills.
The staff at this hotel are fantastic. On our second night, they had just re-varnished their wooden floors, and decided that our stay would not be pleasant and so they re-booked us at a nearby hotel, carried our luggage, and wished us well!
Their honesty, hospitality and behavior was incredibly refreshing!
Great location within the Old City walls
* I heard that this hotel is demolished and to be constructed again.* (07.12.2009)
This is an old Russian style hotel. Very big with great location. However, rooms are terrible. Hotel is not renovated at all, small rooms, with very poor bathroom facility. Beds are small. I asked them 3 times to have double bed but what i got was two twin beds. Breakfast is optional.
The only unique quality about this hotel is its location. Placed in a nice neighborhood, looking towards the big square, to Dom Soviet.
I spend one night in 14th floor of Azerbaijan hotel in "Azaadligh" square .I surprised with customer service of hotel. There was no reception, but you guidance by a companionable young man and he take price by himself!
Hotel looks passed its glorious times and wasn't so clean ,each floor have been moderated by an person and seems every few floors had a chief, In first we ask from hotel "Absheron" from oter side of "Azadligh"sqare, but they have no suitable room for us, when we was waiting for rooms in hotel Absheron, noticed to a black limousine that descended one mid age fat man ,very similar to mafia bosses you seen in movies, when I ask a doorkeeper said he is hotel owner ,I noticed a pretty girl entered next to him to hotel and after deals maybe couldn't deal with that rich man and a few minutes later she exited!
In next day morning when I waked up in our room in hotel by walk in balcony I faced to awesome view that I couldn’t seen last night, Azadligh square with nice building on it, blue Caspian sea and harbor all spread in front of my eyes! Fantastic! I run to my camcorder for recording that great moment, nowadays when I watch this tape I enjoyed!
In the next day we can find a small apartment in nearby in only 60$ per night! That was very clean and so quiet place. I surprised that home we rent is fool of home instruments from a piano to large amount of kitchen tools and glass and crystals, private family album and family movies and C.Ds was in access and picture of house owner lady and her girl are in front of mirror smiled to us! She gave the house key to dealer and went to her relations home to make money from renting her home. ! Trustful lovely people!
views of hotel azerbaijan is great but home we rented is more comfortable.
Canub isn't that great and the cleaning ladies work nights as hookers and love disturbing guests. The price is too overcharge for what you get. To pay 50-60 manats for Canub is a crime!!! Araz hotel - rooms, suffering with severe damp problems, browned paper peeling from the walls, paint chipping from the ceiling, rotten windows, doing nothing to keep out the noise of the busy road below and dirty curtains hanging precariously from two or three points on the curtain rail and bed linen, oh, i think it was not washed after previous clients. All the more it is not recommended, if you travel with your girlfriend.
poor renovation, dirty, too overcharge for what you get.
During our first trip to Baku, we met two Italian journalists, who wrote an article about Azerbaijan to their local journal. They told us about BakuRealEstate.net agency, which services they and their friends always used when they visited Azerbaijan. We were surprised founding out that the apartments, which they rent through that agency are close to Fountain Square, Torgovaya and Nizami streets and the price is much cheaper (1 room by 35$/2 rooms apartments by 40$/night) and of course much comfortable and cleaner, than any local 3 stars hotels.
If you travel with your friends, it is better to rent daily apartment. Even if you find any cheap hotel it will cost one dear, cos at hotels you'll pay per night/per person. Renting apartment you pay only per night, not depending on how many persons intend to stay there. Moreover you have to rent daily apartment, if you travel with your girlfriend/wife, cos you'll get your privacy and you 'll not be ashamed for such accommodation.
I thought I'd comment on rental places since there are a few posts on it (assumably by real estate agents doing shameless self promotion). Renting is a decent way to live in Baku if you're staying for 3 months or more - shorter than that and you'll struggle to find anyone who'll agree to take you at a decent price.
Expect to pay at least 500US a month for a one-bedroom place not too far from the action with reasonable bathroom, furniture etc. Finding a place is tough work if you're by yourself, ideally you want an Azeri to go everywhere with you (as in, to see places, negotiate with the landlord, check the contract etc). 600 to 700 per month is a realistic amount for a good place for 1 or 2 people in the center of the city.
Often you will have to agree to pay the owner to clean the place each month as part of the arrangement. (for me we eventually negotiated this down to 25USD per month). Also you may be told to pretend you're a guest of the owner rather than a tenant, as most people evade income tax. This can be to your advantage however as you can hold it over your landlord if you start being mistreated ("i have a friend in the ministry of taxation" etc).... not that I encourage extortion in any form, it's just that this is how a country with a dysfunctional legal system works.
Also there's a decent chance that your landlord will be a jerk - mine calls most nights asking if I can pay the rent early, or comes to the place unannounced and enters with his key without even knocking.
Be prepared for the rental agreement to be in Azeri, and for it to be the shortest legal document you've ever seen. Real estate agents won't be sympathetic to request to add clauses (mostly due to laziness). Also, take every clause with a pinch of salt, since pretty much neither party will ever take anything to court, as courts are too expensive and basically corrupted. The landlord will almost definitely not take you to court as chances are he or she hasn't been paying income tax on your rent.
Ok so this is my update on LP info regarding cheap places to stay in Baku, based on my experiences in the last 3 weeks. For those who don't know Azerbaijan has switched to the "new manat" which floats between the USD and the euro.
Rooms are now 10 and 20 manat for shared bathroom and non-shared bathroom respectively. Price may be inflated as I spoke to them in English rather than Azeri or Turkish but nonetheless it's a fair bit more than the LP price. I imagine it's also very hard to get to if you're not familiar with the minibuses.
All rooms are now renovated. I was quoted 40 manat for a single, but after some ***ing about the price in Turkish the guy said there was also a 30 manat room. Then when I said I didn't have that much manat on me he said I could pay 30USD which is a fair bit less. But still, no where near the 6USD or whatever quoted in LP.
Identified in LP as the best value for money, this place really isn't. The price has been raised to 15 manat per night for the single, which is about twice what's quoted in LP. Also it says that every room has a phone, which is wrong - pretty much none of them do. Some have TV's but others don't - I had to take mine from another room. Also while I was there the first room I was in had a dysfunctional toilet and the entire building had electricity and water supply issues. The location, while close to a metro station, is in a very dirty part of baku.
See my other tip.
So what should backpackers and budget travellers do?
There's talk of a European-style youth hostel opening up inside the walls of the old city, but this hasn't been set up yet and won't be for until around mid April at least. Once it's up and running it could be a seriously good option for backpackers. If you're reading this after mid April 2007 feel free to send me an email and I'll tell you if this place has been opened yet and what it's like.
Not the first time i come to Baku, sometimes as a tourist, sometimes as a person on an assignment.From my personal experience i found out that most of the hotels in Baku are either very expensive (as IRS Plaza, Hyatt, Europa, Park Inn etc) or very cheap and uncomfortable (as Canub, Araz, Absheron).By the way, even in those cheap hotels the price for a good room is nearly 50$ per night per person (if you are traveling with somebody it hits in your pocket ).Of course, they have several rooms, which price is cheaper, but everytime i tried to reserve any cheap room i am always told that they are already reserved and i am offered to reserve an expensive one.I think, it is the special maneuver to force travelers reserve expensive rooms.I also have been in Canub hotel. The first, i was surprised to find out that the prices were higher in 2-3 times than it was written in any travel forums (for example, Lonelyplanet) or city guide books(though, might be, that was old info and cos of inflation the prices are growing by leaps and bounds). The second, i was shown their rooms and i was shocked – they were so dirty, with only one bed and table and nothing else and moreover i could not bear that musty smell from the toilet.
So, i decided to find any real estate agency.I tried different agencies, saw a big amount of apartments, but the story was the same:Good apartments were very expensive, cheap were in terrible condition.After long searching i contacted BakuRealEstate Agency. They offered me very lovely one room apartment by 35$ per night just in the centre of Baku, in 3 minutes walking to Fountain Square. The apartment was renovated, furnished, with all public utilities round the clock and all household in it. Also, they gave me the cheque for their service and when i came back home i took my money back from the account department of my company.
Cheap, renovated, comfortable, in the centre
50 new manat the single, 60 new manat the double. Basic facilities, clean rooms and bathrooms (LP info seems outdated), air-con. Breakfast is included in the price, but use of the "luggage room" seems to require 2 manats extra :-). One of the receptionists is fluent in English, hotel staff is generally friendly but less helpful.
excellent location allowed easy moving in and around Baku, both day and night.
Good hotels in the centre are very expensive. You can see it here:
So i decided to find any cheap hotel in different travel forums. On Lonelyplanet forum i have found some hotels, but i did not like them.
For example, hotel ARAZ, indisputably, it was chip (20-50$ per night), but it was far from the centre of the city, it was very dirty, with terrible black-beetles everywhere, without bathroom and kitchen (i thought that if i would stay there i had to spend my money for traffic to reach the centre, for feed to eat at the restaurant/cafe/snack/ and for laundry to wash me and my clothiers )...
Or hotel CANUB, the same bad conditions, but more expensive than ARAZ, cos it is in the centre - 35-80$ per night.
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