There are very few hotels in Yemen that have consciously created an atmosphere that appeals to (Western) visitors. Some are lovely by being very basic and authentic, but that seems rather unintentional in most instances. Al Hawta Palace Hotel is a renovated Hadrami mud palace, part of the Universal Group, with dozens of very pleasant rooms. The rooms are not posh but done in style, with (window-type and split) a/c units and a small refrigerator.
Dinner is à la carte or a buffet style mix of Lebanese, Chinese and European dishes, that is OK but relatively price and not a reason to stay at this hotel. Thursday night only à la carte. Breakfast is also buffet style. Lunch (à la carte) can be had at the terrace overlooking the pool.
Lots of charm both of the perfectly restored buildings and of the lovely gardens. Nice pool in a lovely setting. Good gift shop with surprisingly reasonable prices.
Double room will set you back somewhere between 120 and 140 dollars in the 'Annexe'. Rooms in the 'old palace' are about 30 dollars more expensive, which seems hardly worth it. Payment in cash dollars is best: payment in other currencies incurs a bad hotel conversion rate, paying with a credit card a 5% charge. Payment of food and drinks best done in rials.
Usually not full, but if several bigger groups descend on this accommodation simultaneously it may be booked up.
There are no hotels or funduqs inside Shibam (or at least it is mentioned like that in my guidebook). Even if there were I wouldn't recommend them as inside Shibam everything is covered in dust and a mix of smells :-(
One option is the Shibam Motel just next to it or the first class Al-Hawta Palace Hotel 7 kms away. The second choise is the best if you want to spend money as it is built and decorated on a traditional Hadramawt style and boasts extensive grounds (at least it looked great from the main road)
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