My driver took me to this hotel and it is friendly enough. I stayed in Room #302 which has superb view of Manakha city on one side and Al-Hajjarah on the other, just one word, spectular view. The room rate for 2 nights, including breakfast, 1 lunch, 2 dinner, with the driver, for YR8,000 (May 2008). Sound expensive, but any choice?? At least on the 2nd night, they present some traditional yemeni dancing. See more pics for the hotel and dancing.
I stayed here for 2 nights as I did 6 hours trekking in Haraz mountain on the 2nd day morning for YR2,500 (May 2008). Also expensive and be sure you bargain for YR1,000!
One night only and one night was enough, I'm sorry to say. My visit started promisingly: the room, although very basic, looked good enoght, the shared showers seemed OK and I enjoyed an excellent lunch in a the pleasant diwan.
However I fear that this is a place that has got itself in the guide books and on the itineraries of guided tour groups (my visit coincided with one such) and some standards have slipped: only one of the showers produce hot water, and that one had partialy blocked drainage. And, the unforgivable sin, bedbugs. I rest my case. And 'under $20' doesn't mean very much: you're going it some to spend much more.
Bedbugs are hardly unique. The hotel does have good views: the heading picture of my manakhah pace was taken from the roof.
Located in a big, typically Yemeni house this is a family hotel in the sense that you feel like you're part of the family. Though usually not booked up, it's a place where you can meet other visitors to Yemen. There is a nice diwan (big mafraj) to have a drink and your dinner; breakfast may be had at the terrace in front of the hotel. The food is excellent and included (both dinner and breakfast) in the room price of 2000 rials (10 usd). In the diwan plastic mats will be rolled out on which some 10 dishes will be put - ask if you like to have more of any particular dish.
The rooms are extremely basic with a (not too thick) mattress on the floor. Between floors there are shared bathrooms (including hot showers), some with Yemeni and some with European style toilets. Smell there is not too good, but it's (just) clean enough.
Note. For the name I'm using the transcription used by the hotel itself (Haggara instead of Hajjarah). To be sure: there is only one hotel (funduq) in Al-Hajjarah.
After dinner the hotel staff will make music and perform local dances, urging visitors to join in. This is a lot of fun, particularly as they certainly give the impression they're doing it as much for themselves as for their guests (which is no doubt the case: in Yemen there's a lot of dancing, even without a clear cause like a wedding).
In the afternoon the hotel will usually be in the clouds. Sitting in the diwan or your room this gives a very special sensation.
This traditional tower house funduq proved to be rather popular with some travel agencies and groups. It lies on the east side of Manakhah providing excellent views of the village and the surrounding mountains. They provide matresses on the floor (bed linen not so good though, better bring your own) with en suite small wc which was rather smelly with no room for the shower. Probably the only care (by men as expected) was to throw a strong smell detergant to disinfect the toilet floor
Price of dinner and breakfast is included in the price (2000YR per person). Meal are served in the spacious mafraz where you get entertained by folk jambiya dances and songs.
It was really the best accomadation i had in Yemen. Although rooms were shared with other people, owners were friendly and they organized parties at night: typical weddings, dances, music and some other yemenian games.
Funduqs in Yemen are a kind of guesthouses very comfortable and cheap. They have shared rooms, and usually offer breakfast and dinner, but in this Funduq lunch was included too.
It had really great views of the valley and the city.
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