Azcot Hotel

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Accommodation

Location

Azcot Hotel

Date of travel

Oct, 2012

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Solo

Reasons for trip

Business

Depending on where you look, you might find the Azcot described as a hotel, as a ‘lodge’, or as a guest house. It’s definitely hotel standard for the rooms – being an older [and not without some style – see photos] building, with high ceilings in good-sized rooms; nice hallways, and marble staircases (and it does have an elevator – so don’t worry about that). The reason for the ‘lodge/guest house’ description is probably because they have a breakfast room – but no restaurant service beyond breakfast; and no bar/lounge area. But the location, on the western end of Fountain Square (which itself forms part of the central shopping and restaurant district), offers a good selection of eating places including cafe’s (see review for Kafe Araz), and restaurants – all within a few minutes walk. Location wise, this (for me) is the best Baku hotel I’ve stayed in. (I say ‘for me’ as I wouldn’t visit Baku for a ‘beach’ holiday – and the city centre/seafront boulevard area is such a vibrant place that anyone on a short city break should find what they want right here). Step into the square from the hotel then walk around and choose which road to take off to explore the shops, restaurants and attractions. The locals will all be walking at a slow pace, enjoying their own company and the atmosphere. Fountain square itself is alongside the Old City [read more about that in my separate review of Baku itself] giving even more to see and do – again within walking distance. To get to the seafront boulevard, walk into Fountain Square from the hotel and turn right towards the south-westerly corner; then leave the square keeping the Azerbaijan Museum of Literature on your right-hand (Mothercare (!) on your left) – take the left fork at the statue of ‘HATaBAH’ [Azeri lyrical poet Khurshid-Banu Natavan – see photo] – and on down towards the seafront road where you’ll find a good underpass onto the boulevard – and even more shopping, eating and ‘leisure’ activities for all ages. Eating opportunities include (as in the town centre) al fresco dining/cafes. Smoking is widely accepted in Baku/Azerbaijan, and outdoor eating/tea-drinking is common even in winter, or at other windy times (Baku/Baki/Baky – like Chicago – is known as the ‘windy city’). Back at the Azcot – breakfast is taken at communal tables seating six persons each (a bit like a Belgian beer hall). Instead of a cold buffet on the side, each table has two large jugs of fruit juice, a bowl of fresh (whole) fruit, two types of cereal (corn flakes/coco pops), milk, yoghurt, two or three (local?) cheeses, fresh tomatoes, tea bags, coffee (instant) and your jug of hot water; butter, jams and honey. Toast is supplied from the kitchen when you take your seat; the girls bring the hot-food menu and your choice is (quickly) cooked to order. There’s a wee ‘business’ area by reception offering free use of PC, Internet access, printer and copier. Individual rooms have an ADSL cable, which the room brochure says costs 7AzN (7 Manat – about 7 Euro) for connection; but their Internet webpage says this is free – so a bit of a contradiction there – and I had full cable access on both visits and wasn’t asked to pay on leaving. There’s also Wi-Fi using the local ‘Hotnet’ service (you purchase a ‘hotnet’ registration key from reception – current example prices: 2 Manat for one day; 12 Manat for two weeks; 19 Manat for one month and 59 Manat for one year – UK hotels who insist on charging extortionate prices, please note!). Mini bar (soft drinks, crisps and nuts), and laundry prices, are notably lower than ‘real’ hotels. There was no safe in either of my rooms, though their webpage claimed safes in all rooms. Another silly contradiction, but not one that bothered me enough to ask for a room change. In summary – the hotel/rooms are very pleasant and, with that excellent location, I’ll be happy to return to the Azcot.

Ian.Waugh

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