Review: Shah Palace Hotel, Baku, Azerbaijan

In this review, we will stay at the Shah Palace Hotel, a four-star hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Last night in Azerbaijan

After an interesting and fun trip through Azerbaijan in which I visited Baku, Sheki and Ganja, it was time to return to complete my loop of the country and to return to the Azerbaijani capital.

As my flight back to Paris would depart at 6.30am in the morning, I had no choice but to add a last night in Baku on my itinerary. My choice fell on the Shah Palace Hotel right on the edge of Baku’s old town. For a superior double room I paid 90 EUR for the night which included breakfast.

Reaching the Shah Palace Hotel

I arrived in the early morning at Baku’s main railway station by overnight train from Ganja. Instead of taking a taxi, I opted for the short metro ride to Icherisheher station in the old town, from where the hotel was an easy 10 minute walk away.

baku metro
Icherisheher metro station is the closest station to Baku’s old town and the Shah Palace Hotel. ©Paliparan

Early check-in

When I arrived at 7am at the hotel reception, I was unfortunately not able to check into my room as the Shah Palace Hotel only allows for check-in starting at 2pm.

Normally this would not be the end of the world. In fact, my original plan was to store my luggage and arrange a tour or private taxi to take me to the Qobustan mud volcanoes and petroglyhps in the barren wastelands south of Baku.

Unfortunately, I started to feel nauseous and got a bad headache during the overnight train ride from Ganja to Baku, which must have been either the effect of some food poisoning or smoking too much nargilah the day before.

The Shah Palace Hotel was able to arrange an early check-in, but only if I would cough up half the room rate as early check-in fee. As I really felt in bad need of some sleep, I decided to bite the bullet and pay for the early check-in fee. At least the courteous staff were kind enough to include breakfast as well in the early check-in offer.

Public areas

The public areas of the Shah Palace Hotel must be some of the most beautiful in the entire country of Azerbaijan. The hotel just oozes tons of charm and history. Especially the central atrium is just a fantastic place to sit down for a while and have a drink from the small cafe.

The decor is just absolutely fantastic – just look at that old staircase, the oriental arches, the woodcarving or the old stone walls of the lower floors! Don’t forget to have a close look of the floor as well as there are some glass panes covering some historical artifacts and the old foundations.

shah palace hotel review atrium
The central atrium of the Shah Palace Hotel. ©Paliparan
shah palace hotel review atrium
The central atrium of the Shah Palace Hotel. ©Paliparan
atrium cafe shah palace hotel
The small cafe-restaurant on the ground floor next to the atrium. ©Paliparan
atrium baku
Don’t forget to look at the historical artifacts in the atrium! ©Paliparan

Room

My superior double room itself wasn’t bad either. Even though it was the cheapest room category of the hotel with the only windows being those overlooking the atrium corridor, the room was certainly large.

Just like the rest of the hotel, the room oozes the charms of a bygone era, although it does certainly have modern comforts. The bed was comfortable, there was plenty of storage space, some well-located power sockets and a fast WiFi network.

The room also had a small seating corner, a work desk, fridge and a water boiler to make some coffee or tea with two complimentary bottles of water.

shah palace hotel review room
My superior double room in the Shah Palace Hotel. ©Paliparan
shah palace hotel review room
My superior double room in the Shah Palace Hotel. ©Paliparan

Bathroom

My superior double room also featured a large and well-appointed bathroom. The spacious bathroom contained not only a shower cabin  but also had a nice, deep bath with comfortable headrest.

Given the state I was in, I thought that a warm bath would certainly do me some good. However, I found out that the drain stopper was missing completely. After a quick call to the reception desk, a handyman arrived within a minute at my room to check what was the issue. He returned again after a few minutes with a spare tub stopper.

shah palace bathroom
Bathroom of my superior double room at the Shah Palace. ©Paliparan
hotel bathroom
Bathroom of my superior double room at the Shah Palace. ©Paliparan

Breakfast

The breakfast buffet is served each day at the top-floor restaurant. I thought the buffet was pretty good in both quantity and quality, containing both Western favourites as well as some local choices (the Azerbaijani breakfast culture is very similar to a Turkish breakfast).

There was also an egg station making made-to-order omelets.

shah palace hotel breakfast room
The breakfast room of the Shah Palace Hotel. ©Paliparan
hotel breakfast
Breakfast at the Shah Palace Hotel. ©Paliparan
hotel breakfast
Breakfast at the Shah Palace Hotel. ©Paliparan

Last day in Baku

After some breakfast, a warm bath and some sleep I finally felt a bit better in the afternoon. Even though it meant it was by now too late to make a day trip to the mud volcanoes, at least it allowed me some more time to walk one last time around the lovely city of Baku.

In the evening, I decided to head back again to Nargiz restaurant where I had a great meal on my first evening in the country. Also on my second visit the atmospheric restaurant did not disappoint. After the meal, I decided to return to the hotel for an early night in given the early morning flight departure the next day.

nargiz restaurant baku
An Azerbaijani soup and local mineral water at Nargiz. ©Paliparan
nargiz baku
Georgian khachapuri (cheese bread) and an Azerbaijani main at Nargiz. ©Paliparan

In short

Despite not being in the best physical condition, I still ended up having a great time at the Shah Palace Hotel. My room was comfortable and well-appointed, the breakfast buffet was good and the service throughout my stay was friendly and effective.

I only wish I had some more time to enjoy the beautiful common areas of the building as the central atrium is such a lovely place to sit down for a tea or a glass of wine! If you seek some old-fashioned style and local charm, there aren’t many better hotels in Baku than the Shah Palace.

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Siberian Shuffle – A Crazy Winter Trip Around Eurasia‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Wizz Air Bucharest to Oslo Sandefjord Torp (Airbus A321)
2. A Day in the Norwegian Capital of Oslo
3. Review: Norwegian Railways Night Train Oslo-Stavanger in a Private Sleeper
4. Review: Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Stavanger
5. Stavanger – A Great Norwegian City Trip Surprise
6. Review: North Sea Lounge Stavanger Airport
7. Review: KLM Cityhopper Business Class Stavanger to Amsterdam (Embraer RJ-175)
8. Guide to the Carnival Celebrations in the Netherlands
9. Review: KLM Crown Lounge (Schengen) Amsterdam Airport
10. Review: Air France Business Class Amsterdam to Paris (Airbus A319)
11. Review: ‘Salon Paris’ Business Class Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2C
12. Review: Aeroflot Business Class Paris to Moscow (Airbus A320)
13. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Lounge Moscow Sheremetyevo
14. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Moscow to Irkutsk (Boeing 737-800)
15. Review: Matreshka Hotel, Irkutsk
16. Irkutsk Trip Report: Exploring the ‘Paris of Siberia’ in Winter
17. Review: Mayak Hotel, Listvyanka (Lake Baikal)
18. A Winter Trip to the Frozen Wonderland of Lake Baikal
19. Review: Ibis Irkutsk Center Hotel, Irkutsk
20. Review: Domestic Business Class Lounge Irkutsk Airport
21. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Irkutsk to Moscow (Boeing 737-800)
22. Review: Pushkin Hotel, Moscow
23. A 24 Hour Stopover in the Russian Capital of Moscow
24. Review: ‘Moscow’ and ‘Jazz’ Business Lounges Moscow Sheremetyevo Terminal D
25. Review: Aeroflot Business Class Moscow to Paris (Airbus A320)
26. Review: TAROM Business Class Paris to Bucharest (Airbus A318)
27. Review: TAROM Business Lounge Bucharest Otopeni Airport
28. Review: Air France Business Class Bucharest to Paris (Airbus A320)
29. A Short Overnight Stopover in Paris
30. Review: Sheltair Business Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2D
31. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Class Paris to Baku (Airbus A320)
32. Review: Old City Hotel and Apartments, Baku, Azerbaijan 
33. Destination Baku: An Intriguing Mix Between Old and New
34. Guide: Train Travel in Azerbaijan
35. Sheki: Azerbaijan’s Most Lovely Town and Springboard to the Caucasus
36. Must Be the Ganja! A Visit to the City of Ganja in Azerbaijan
37. Review: Shah Palace Hotel, Baku, Azerbaijan (current chapter)
38. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Lounge Baku Airport
39. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Class Baku to Paris (Airbus A320)
40. Review: Air France Business Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2F
41. Review: KLM Business Class Paris to Amsterdam (Boeing 737)
42. Review: KLM Business Class Amsterdam to Bergen (Boeing 737)
43. Blissful Bergen – Is It Really Norway’s Most Beautiful City?
44. Review: Bergen to Oslo on a Norwegian Intercity Train (Bergensbanen Railway)
45. The Flamsbana Railway – From the Myrdal Mountains to the Fjord at Flam
46. Review: SAS Economy Class Oslo to Brussels (Boeing 737-600)
47. Review: Diamond Lounge Brussels Airport Pier B Non-Schengen
48. Review: TAROM Economy Class Brussels to Bucharest (Boeing 737-800)

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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