Baku is a city that’s almost futuristic in design: distinctive flaming towers light up the night sky, and high-rise hotels define the modern skyline. But the capital of Azerbaijan has plenty of history too. The medieval Maiden Tower – a stone watchtower overlooking the Caspian Sea – dominates the Unesco-listed Old City, while Russian Imperial architecture and Soviet-era government buildings are dotted around it. Here’s our pick of where to stay – bookable with Culture Trip.
Travellers seeking luxury and relaxation can enjoy Azeri hospitality at the Four Seasons Hotel Baku. The Four Seasons Hotel, on Baku’s promenade, is perfectly situated between the old stone walls of the 12th-century Maiden Tower and the swish, modern Flame Towers. Enjoy an Italian-inspired breakfast with a view from the terrace at Zafferano’s, then relax and unwind after a day sightseeing with a traditional Jaleh massage and a hammam, before retiring to a five-star hotel room with a private balcony and views over the Caspian Sea.
One for the luxury-loving traveller, the JW Marriott Absheron Baku provides five-star rooms with views over the Caspian Sea or panoramas of the central city skyline. With five restaurants, bars and cafes to choose from, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave this hotel when given the opportunity to dine on fresh seafood and fine cuts of steak at the Fireworks Urban Kitchen, unwind at the Chaikhana Tea Lounge and sample Azeri-inspired cocktails at the New York-style speakeasy bar. Be sure to book in for pampering at the Absheron Spa too.
Baku has a reputation for splashing out on extravagant architectural projects, but no other buildings on the extensive city skyline are quite so evocative as the Flame Towers. Designed to evoke a sense of grandeur in a land long associated with fire, oil and gas, the Flame Towers are lit up all through the day and night. Book into a Gold King Room or Gold Suite at the Fairmont Baku, and you’ll be spending a night of luxury inside one of these flaming towers, above Lamborghini showrooms and with views over the Caspian.
Located in downtown Baku, within walking distance of the train station and the Heydar Aliyev Centre, the Excelsior Hotel & Spa Baku is one of the best options in the capital for business travellers. Schedule meetings in the private boardrooms, or take clients for a relaxed morning of tea, coffee and pastries at La Patisserie. After a hard day’s work, enjoy a swim in the outdoor pool and a cold drink and Azeri kebab at the Pool Bar and Grill, or go for a massage or sauna session in the Aura Spa and Fitness centre.
The Art Gallery Hotel is certainly one for art lovers, because this boutique hotel, as the name suggests, doubles up as an art gallery. Each of the 30 hotel rooms is decorated with artworks by Azeri and international artists, while the lobby and public spaces are decked out with even more paintings and sculptures from Azerbaijan and elsewhere. The location is superb, too, as you’re just a two-minute walk from the historic Maiden Tower.
The Boulevard Hotel Baku Autograph Collection, in the new development of Baku White City, is a short walk from shopping malls, restaurants, conference centres and Baku’s seaside promenade. You can enjoy the 24-hour hotel gym and indoor swimming pool, or book in for a massage at the Blond Spa. The hotel has upwards of 800 rooms, with the pick being the Club and Terrace Room Sea Views that look out over the Caspian.
If you’re in Baku for views of the Caspian Sea, there’s no better place to stay than a sea-view room at the Park Inn By Radisson Baku. Offering all the comfort you’d expect from a Radisson, the hotel overlooks the long seafront boulevard, so you can stroll along the promenade to Icheri Sheher, Baku old town. You can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner with an Azeri twist at the Glory Restaurant, as well as hand-crafted cocktails late into the night at Victor’s Bar.
Often rated as one of the best hotels in Baku for its central location next to the Icheri Sheher (Inner City), Old City Inn Baku is a small hotel of just 15 comfortable rooms ranging from single, double and twin to triple. Expect the basics with views of either the sea or garden; some have a clear view of the Flame Towers. A buffet-style continental breakfast is included in the price. but the real draw of the Old City Inn is its location.
If you’re here on a budget, the three-star Central Baku Hotel offers all the value you need, and it’s just a short walk from the best tourist attractions in Baku, including the National Museum of History, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Maiden Tower. Central Baku Hotel offers homely rooms, an Azeri breakfast of fresh tomatoes, cucumber, cheese and eggs, as well as on-site kitchen facilities where you can cook your own meals.
Iva Hotel Old City has a prime location in the centre of Icheri Sheher, Baku’s old city. The Palace of the Shirvanshahs, Maiden Tower and Muhammad Mosque are just minutes away on foot. Rooms have basic decor with cable TV, air conditioning, complimentary slippers and a desk. Everything from single rooms to quadruples, along with apartments with balconies, are available to suit every preference. The elegant on-site restaurant combines world-class cuisine with floor-to-ceiling windows for views of the Caspian Sea. Travellers rate this as one the best hotels in Baku for location.
Sam Bedford contributed additional reporting to this article.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
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