Staying in a historic street in Dilijan

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June, 2023

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Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex

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Our final night in Armenia was spent at the Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex. In the 1800s, Dilijan was a blossoming center of culture, commerce and cuisine with wealthy locals flocking to the area to enjoy the picturesque landscapes and international culture. In 2004, Tufenkian began restoring the historical Sharambeyan Street, converting the 19th century houses into guest rooms and some small shops.

Usually, it’s a bonus when you’ve been upgraded, but there were some downsides. Reception was at the bottom of the sloping cobbled street, but room 4 was at the top. As the entrance was on the main street at the front, we had to climb a fairly steep flight of steps. This was fine on arrival as we had help with our bags, but on leaving, reception hadn’t opened, and we had to manage our own luggage.

The room was a reasonable size with a large creaky but comfortable bed with bedside lights and plug points. There were three chairs, a TV, tea and coffee making facilities, complimentary water in the fridge and slippers which were useful on the cold slate floor. Wi-Fi was good and there was a heater which we didn’t need.

The bathroom was relatively small and basic with a shower and curtain (but powerful hot water) and a stainless-steel sink which would have looked more appropriate in a kitchen. There was nowhere to put toiletries, so a shelf unit outside the bathroom door was utilized – there was no wardrobe as such, just a few hangers on hooks. Basic complimentary toiletries were provided, and the mirror and hairdryer combo were good.

The room had a carved wooden balcony, typical of the 19th century, which reflected the region’s historical love for fine woodwork. It was lovely to sit out and smugly watch the tourists enjoying the street and architecture and browsing in the bakery and souvenir shops.

We ate in the restaurant and two elderly ladies looked after us very well as we were the only customers. We began with a G&T (no ice or lemon) and then as our chosen white wasn’t available, splashed out on one at £20 as it was our final night. As Dilijan is noted for its forest mushrooms, we had a mushroom salad, mushroom arishta (a traditional Armenian pasta) and fillet of lake trout which came with some spinach. We skipped dessert but ended with an excellent Americano with hot milk and two different fruit flavoured vodkas, apricot and mulberry, which were pretty powerful. The total bill came to £61.21 with a 10% guest discount we thought was a bargain bearing in mind how much we’d eaten. The whole evening was delightfully peaceful and relaxing until two men who came in right at the end of our meal, chose the table next to us and talked very loudly.

Although breakfast wasn’t normally available until 9am, we negotiated an earlier start as we were crossing the border back into Georgia for our flight home. There was a simply laid out but good spread of juices, fruits, cold meats, cheeses, salads, with boiled eggs, fried eggs, fried potatoes and sausages, breads and biscuits which went very nicely with more excellent Americano.

We also stayed at another hotel in the group whilst touring Armenia, The Tufenkian Historic Yerevan Hotel.

Helen Jackson

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