QUALITY places to stay have never been Samarkand’s strong point, but the city’s newest offering, the Hotel President, has made some inroads into this accommodation desert.
A 15-minute walk from the Registan, beside the Lenin-esque statue of Tamburlaine on the main roundabout, the hotel’s butter-yellow exterior walls and glass-bubble entrance set it apart, and the seven floors encircling an interior courtyard provide the city’s most comfortable lodgings.
Rooms are large, if rather spartan, and the top two floors on the eastern side have distant views to the domes of Bibi Khanym Mosque. For a dash of luxury, there are four Spanish-styled two-bedroom apartments, each with spa and Charcot’s douche, a favourite Russian spa treatment involving fierce jets of water played on your back.
The hotel has a basement pool, massage services, time-worn tennis courts and a high-class restaurant. The lobby bar is also one of the few places in town to serve a decent espresso. From $US165 ($185) a double to $US700 for an apartment.
Top tier: The Hotel President in Samarkand