JW Marriott Absheron Baku
BACKGROUND This five-year-old landmark hotel jostles with Four Seasons further along the promenade for TripAdvisor supremacy (Absheron Hotel Group owns both). I enjoyed staying in the Four Seasons in 2013 but this property is on a bolder scale and my 11th floor room offered Caspian Sea and Flame Towers views (one of the three towers is the Fairmont). WHAT’S IT LIKE? Most of the designs wouldn’t look out of place in five-star Gulf hotels, and OroNero Bar & Ristorante, featuring works by French-born London artist Henry Chebaane, is among the most eye-catching with black gold leather seats and an ornate carbon-fibre sturgeon sculpture.
But it’s not all show. I liked the functionality of the discreet laptop cubicles in the lobby, and abundance of natural light. Perhaps most importantly, everyone we met (F&B, front of house staff) were friendly and on the ball, although I was part of a media group. The F&B venues, meeting areas and leisure facilities are orderly and spacious – as is the outside terrace area – and rooms contain everything you’d expect from a JW hotel. WHERE IS IT? Centrally located, directly opposite Government House and close to Hilton Baku. It took about 30 minutes to drive in from Heydar Aliyev International Airport. ROOM FACILITIES I stayed in a Deluxe Sea View non-smoking room with king size bed. The large whitemarble bathroom had a stand-alone tub, powerful rainshower (often they are weak when high up) and cubicle toilet. Alongside plenty of two-pin sockets, an iHome bedside speaker and Illy coffee/ tea stand was a desk, multi-channel 42-inch TV and good connectivity, and I slept soundly. There are 237 rooms in all with 173 King rooms and 20 suites. RESTAURANTS AND BARS We had a welcome lunch at Fireworks Urban Kitchen and the fiery designs were complemented by a kaleidoscope of flavours. The airey Zest on the lobby level served an equally broad breakfast with local tomatoes and cucumbers interspersed among all the usual offerings. Other venues include the radiant Razzmatazz Cocktail Bar & Lounge. MEETING FACILITIES A clear attribute with more than 2,600sqm of meeting space spanning levels three and four. The 1,208sqm Sharg Zali ballroom can hold up to 1,000 guests and offers panoramic sea and city views. LEISURE FACILITIES The spa occupies the top three levels and I popped up to the indoor pool before breakfast and enjoyed a swim and Jacuzzi soak, with more sea and towers views. Dominic Ellis
Internet rates for a midweek stay in September start from AZN352 for a Standard King seaview room.
JW Marriott Absheron Baku Hotel, 674 Azadliq Square, Baku, AZ1010, Azerbaijan. Tel: +994 12 4998888, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, jwmarriottbaku.com