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After the boom in oil prices in the 2000s, Baku experienced a surge in luxury hotel openings and several luxury hotel chains like Marriott or Four Seasons opened the doors to their first properties in the city. Since the concept of luxury hotels is new in the country, the best hotels in Baku and Azerbaijan are from well established international chains with few local alternatives. There are a couple of luxury boutique hotels in Baku that I have included and some noteworthy premium resorts in the rest of Azerbaijan for those looking to explore the country. Here is my recommended list of Baku and Azerbaijan Hotels. For my comprehensive Guide to Azerbaijan and Baku, click here.
Note: I have not included luxury hotels that receive very bad reviews or which claim to be luxury but are not, so this is only the best luxury hotels in Baku Azerbaijan and other areas that I would recommend considering for your trip.
- Best luxury hotels in Baku Azerbaijan
- Best luxury hotels in Qabala, Azerbaijan
- Best luxury hotels in Shahdag, Azerbaijan
Best luxury hotels in Baku Azerbaijan
1. Four Seasons Baku
When scrolling through the prices of the best luxury hotels in Baku one can’t help but notice that the Four Seasons is twice as much as any other option. And this is not by accident. The classic luxury hospitality brand is a good match for Baku’s heritage rich past. It is this timeless elegance that Four Seasons portrays and seeks that combines well with the Old City of Baku, where it is located. The Four Seasons is the only hotel in Baku’s city center, literally inside the Old City walls. In fact, if you visit Shirvanshah Palace, you will see the back of the hotel from the hammam baths of the palace. From outside, the grand architecture and design of a time gone by are visible and the Four Seasons white-gloved staff and the high ceilings give way to chandeliers and marble staircases. The hotel is decorated in muted tones that are so typical of the brand while some of the rooms come in pale pink colors or other subtle palettes.
Why choose the Four Seasons Baku: If you are looking for a Baku hotel with 5 stars, the Four Seasons is it. It most likely has the best service in Baku as this is their specialty and service is something that the Azeri hospitality industry is still developing. Their breakfast also seems to be one of the best of the luxury hotel’s lot. Location-wise, they are also the closest to the Old City although JW Marriott and Hilton are not too far. The rooms come with balconies over to the ocean, that is unique to the Four Seasons as all other luxury hotels in Baku are in skyscraper style buildings without any windows.
What to consider when booking the Four Seasons Baku: The price, no doubt. Given that it is a city hotel, you might want to save on the price. You will spend time in the hotel but most likely you are in Baku to explore the city and the country, so spending so much on the hotel may not be worth it. If money is no issue, the Four Seasons Baku is definitively the best luxury hotel in the city.
This is no doubt the flashiest luxury hotel in Baku. Sitting atop a hill, at one end of the boulevard, the Fairmont Baku Flame Towers is located in the eponymous Flame Towers complex, a set of three towers housing the hotel and office space. The towers have become a symbol of modern day Baku and are lit at night in a continuous show of lights that at some point puts a flame on their facade. The towers are already shaped like flames and burn above the city to represent the Land of Fire pseudonym Azerbaijan has adopted, both etymologically as well as symbolically.
Inside, the lobby is large with ceilings going up to three stories and a huge crystal chandelier hanging from above. The rooms are international grade with the expected thick carpets, the plush bedding and the well appointed bathrooms. They also come with great views of the bay below all the way to the other end of the boulevard. The common areas have outdoor pools, several of them, with sun loungers, and even a Moet bar serving cocktails and bubbly. There is a spa and an indoor pool for the winter months.
With so much fanfare, I expected the hotel to be equally grand and luxurious in all aspects. The skeleton and design of the Fairmont Baku does indeed keep up with the appearances but the service leaves a lot to be desired. It was erratic and it lacked in proper processes to deal with the situations that were out of the usual, which is when a hotel should most show its service and status.
Our flight was delayed and we landed in the morning instead of the night before. We had paid for the previous night in advanced and I had alerted the concierge that we were delayed and would come in the morning to ensure our room would be ready. He even replied acknowledging it. Yet when we arrived at the hotel, exhausted from a night at Dubai airport with little sleep, the room was not ready, they had in fact given it away and marked us as no show, despite we had paid for the room in advance. We were promised it would be ready in 20min and given a coffee (just a coffee, not even breakfast). An hour went by and I lost my patience. It was only when I asked to speak to the manager that I was given a room to shower and change while ours was being prepared.
It took three hours for the room to be ready, by which time we had showered and left the hotel. We were offered nothing, other than the coffee, for the inconvenience. Throughout the stay there were a few other issues like towels missing, turndown service not provided, I got locked outside in the swimming pool area, my credit card was not added to the room so we could not sign anything to the room, the list went on. It was definitively not a smooth 5* hotel experience. I wondered if we were unlucky or this was a pain point of the hotel and looking at the TripAdvisor reviews I could see that it was not a one-off, the hotel does indeed have a perennial issue with service.
Additionally, the glass windows were incredibly dirty. Azerbaijan is a windy country in the summer months and Baku is located in the middle of desert landscapes, so there is a lot of dust. The windows in the rooms were not very clean, but were passable. However, the glass windows in the pool area were white not transparent, from dust accumulated over weeks. It was very obvious as soon as one stepped into the swimming pool area as the views were completely blocked by the dirty glass. Overall, it simply felt like nobody was putting any attention to detail, as if the hotel did not have a General Manager. Sadly, these are the details that make or break a luxury hotel, not the list of facilities or the design of the rooms and the Fairmont lacked.
Why choose the Fairmont Baku Flame Towers: It is the only hotel in Baku that has an outdoor swimming pool to tan in. Do bear in mind that, as the hotel indicates, because the pool is surrounded by glass buildings, the sun rays reflect, so sunscreen is a must. Also, because of its location, the sun may be moving and you will have to keep changing lounges to really get a suntan.
What to consider when booking the Fairmont Baku: I have already given details on the service which are not to be brushed off, but you should also consider the hotel’s location when deciding to book. The Fairmont is up on a hill that is not so easy to climb on foot. To do so, you will have to walk in dark streets zigzagging your way up, so taxis are almost unavoidable for all your visits to town. They are cheap, so it should not be a problem, but it is not the place where you pop in to drop or pick up something in the middle of a sightseeing day like you may do with the other hotels. Do not book the room with breakfast, the spread is basic for a 5* hotel and you will find better elsewhere without the silly price tag for a buffet. You can check out the recommended places in my best things and places to eat in Baku here for options.
Read my full review of the Fairmont Baku Flame Towers in this post.
3. Hilton Baku
The Hilton Baku is a longer standing option for business and leisure travelers alike. It is located by the boulevard at the other end of the Fairmont and closer to town, about a 20min walk to the Old City or a short taxi ride. You can expect the usual international standard 4-5* hotel with everything you find elsewhere. The Hilton is in a flashy skyscraper with a few dining options, including the best rooftop bar in town from where you can see the sea and the sunset as well as the rest of Baku. The restaurant at the top is rotating if you want something a bit more flash. The rooms come with a view, if you pick the right side, and you can see the boulevard, the bay and the city. The Hilton Baku has no outdoor pool but a large indoor one is attached to the spa.
Why choose the Hilton Baku: The Hilton is a good option for value for money. It is well priced and it has everything you need for a city visit with a good location, good service and a good place to rest and recharge in between sightseeing trips.
What to consider when booking the Hilton Baku: The reviews on TripAdvisor point at erratic service and at dated room amenities such as towels. If you are not too fussed and want a good 4* hotel with international standards and a good location, the Hilton’s prices and overall stay are probably good enough. If you are fussy, look elsewhere.
4. JW Marriott Absheron
Located very near the Hilton and close to the Old City, the JW Marriott is perhaps the next best option after the Four Seasons. It opened in 2012 to much fanfare and it is home of the best fine dining restaurant in Baku, OroNero. The hotel has the same feel as the Hilton, with a skyscraper location along the boulevard facing the Fairmont at the other end, but a notch above it in service, look and feel. It is as grand and luxurious as the brand is elsewhere.
The lobby has a designer touch, with a slightly less generic approach than the Hilton, and great rooms with views over the Boulevard and the Old City. The indoor pool is a welcoming sight, not uncommon in Baku luxury hotels, but this one comes with impressive 360 degree views of the city from the 21st floor. There is an outdoor terrace in which to enjoy drinks and a well appointed spa and gym with great views over the city. The rooms come in the usual international flair and some have free standing bathtubs with the same views. You should expect better service here than at the Hilton, with a price to match.
Why choose the JW Marriott Absheron: If you want luxury with a great location but cannot afford the Four Seasons, the JW Marriott is the second best option. Great location, great service, new fantastic rooms and a great pool with views. Reviewers also praise the breakfast although given the hotel’s location, I would join the locals for a typical Azeri one instead but if you are in a rush or need to eat at the hotel, at least you will be able to indulge.
What to consider when booking the JW Marriott Absheron: If you do not plan to spend too much time at the hotel, do you really need to splurge or can you do with the Hilton? Perhaps a value for money question but one worth asking.
5. Sultan Inn Hotel Baku
This is one of the best boutique style hotels in the city and perhaps the only historical and boutique luxury hotel in Baku. The Sultan Inn has just eleven rooms and is located right in the Old City, above the old market, you cannot be more at the center of it all than at the Sultan Inn. Here, don’t expect the international flair and feel, you are staying in a building that has been here for a long time, well before Baku became rich and famous.
As opposed to all the other hotels in this list, the Sultan Inn offers local design and character so you actually know you are staying in Azerbaijan and not at any international hotel chain that could be anywhere. The decor is local, with lots of gold, velvet and intricate designs. The best part of the hotel, aside from its heritage value and location, is the rooftop terrace from where you can spy on the Maiden Tower.
Why choose the Sultan Inn: Location, location, location and also a feel for the city from inside the old walls. If you want a slice of Azeri life and heritage, this is the only place that will give it to you.
What to consider when booking the Sultan Inn: As with most heritage hotels, the Sultan Inn may be dated and in need of refurbishment for some guests, so you need to know what you are getting yourself into. If you prefer the comfort of an international chain feel, then this is not for you. Most reviewers also mention the poor breakfast, great incentive to try the local options listed in the food guide to Baku I put together, most of which are within walking distance of the Sultan Inn. Bear in mind as well that the level of service you might get from other international hotels to book excursions or restaurants may be lacking here, so it might be best to organise tours and needs on your own rather than relying on the staff to help. The location also means that you might have to drag your luggage a few meters from the taxi drop off point. Lastly, some facilities like pool or gym will not be of the standard of the other hotels listed here.
Baku has some other luxury hotels like the Boulevard Hotel Autograph Collection, the Hyatt Regency or the Holiday Inn but the reviews on TripAdvisor for these hotels were very poor on the service side so I decided not to include them in this list.
Best luxury hotels in Qabala, Azerbaijan
1. Chenot Palace Health and Wellness resort
This is a true health and wellness retreat in the mountains of Qabala that gets a 5* star perfect review from all guests on TripAdvisor. It is a destination to detox and take care of oneself while enjoying the nature and sights in the area. The resort is surrounded by a lake, mountains and nature filled with clean air and peace. The views are magnificent and relaxing in themselves.
Chenot Palace has a lot of advanced technology in the wellness space such as a cryo-chamber at -110°C, antigravity technologies and an altitude chamber. They also offer advanced aesthetic treatments and programs targeting various objectives like detox, weight loss or stress management.
Chenot Palace can only be booked through one of the programs as they do not offer room only. The shortest program is their three night detox. The hotel has all the facilities of a luxury wellness retreat including indoor pools, a spa, jacuzzi, steam bath, gym and fitness rooms.
Why choose Chenot Palace: This is a unique wellness retreat in Azerbaijan that offers a great combination between wellness in beautiful surroundings and plenty to explore so you don’t get bored or spend your days thinking about being hungry. Additionally, Chenot has state of the art equipment and treatments without the very hefty price tags of other retreats in Europe.
What to consider when booking Chenot Palace: As this a wellness retreat, you cannot stay here unless you are participating in one of their health programs. Depending on where you are flying from, you may be able to fly into Qabala directly without the 4h drive from Baku.
Rates starting at US$6,000 for 3 nights. For more rates, photos and availability you can visit HotelsCombined.
2. Qafqaz Tufandag Mountain Resort Hotel
The Tufandag Mountain Resort Hotel opened in 2015 to become the highest elevated hotel in the country. The ski resort of the same name is the second to open in Azerbaijan and largest in the Caucasus region. Even in the summer, it is a lovely place to spend a couple of days exploring the area around Qabala while enjoying mountain air and greenery. The resort is located at the base of the cable car and has a nice outdoor area to soak in the sun. As it is rather new, expect the rooms to be quite modern while the common areas conserve a rustic mountain feel, especially in winter when it snows and the fireplace is on. There is a hammam, jacuzzi, steam bath and spa as well as other apres-ski needs like lounges and restaurants. The city of Qabala is not too far by car.
Why choose Tufandag Mountain Resort: Located in one of the newest ski resorts gives Tufandang a quieter ride than the resorts in Shahdag.
What to consider when booking Tufandag Mountain Resort: As this is less developed than Shahdag there are smaller facilities so you don’t get the grand Swiss feeling of the resorts in Shahdag.
3. Qafqaz Riverside Resort Hotel
Riverside Hotel is owed by the same Qafqaz group which owns the Tufandag Hotel. It is located on the outskirts of Qabala in the hills and by a river, as the name indicates. Inside, expect pale decor with lots of gold and traditional Azeri design with modern touches. There are regular rooms in the main building or individual cottages spread over a large property. There is both an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool and a well equipped spa and a decent gym. The resort is far from town so you will need to get a car, probably not a hotel you would spend much time in but use it as a base to explore Qabala.
Why choose the Riverside Resort Hotel: This is a good option for those looking for space, especially in the case of the cottages
What to consider when booking the Riverside Resort Hotel: There is not a lot to do from the hotel so you need a car. Lots of reviewers mention the lack of English in the staff as an issue.
Best luxury hotels in Shahdag, Azerbaijan
1. Pik Palace Hotel
A ski resort in Shahdag Mountain region about 230km from Baku, belonging to Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Here you will have the real ski resort feel you might find in Switzerland or Austria minus the price tag. Expect chocolate cafes, wine bars and all the needs for an indulgent apres-ski. The rooms are spacious and modern with heated marble floors, espresso machines and free standing bathtubs with views of the mountain range and ski slopes. There is also an outdoor heated pool.
Ski down the mountain during the day and relax at the spa at nights. Shahdag Pik Palace Hotel is all about the traditional ski holiday in a less known destination.
If you are visiting in the summer you will be welcomed into remote villages and empty forests teeming with vegetation. The hotel has listed several interesting destinations in the area to explore where you are most likely going to be all by yourself. Particularly noteworthy is the UNESCO-listed village of Khinalig which remained isolated from the world for centuries and preserved its own way of life. The area has waterfalls, handicrafts and carpet weaving centers. There is also an adventure center for those looking to pump adrenaline.
Why choose the Pik Palace Hotel: A great ski resort with all the requirements for a great holiday, both in the winter and in the summer, when the mountains and the heritage rich area is wonderfully green.
What to consider when booking the Pik Palace Hotel: The hotel is far from Baku in a remote area but there is little else to bear in mind. The reviews on TripAdvisor show customer satisfaction but the Park Chalet seems to be better while costing a similar price. As the name indicates, this is more of a palace as opposed to a smaller chalet like the Park Chalet next door. The resort is small so, in the winter, you probably do not want to spend more than three days as you will be going down the same slopes over and over again.
2. Park Chalet Shahdag
Another hotel that is part of the Marriott’s Autograph Collection, Park Chalet is located in the Shahdag Mountain Resort Complex and it looks straight out of the Swiss Alps and has been designed exactly like it, complete with fireplaces, furry chairs, logs and free standing bathtubs with mountain views. It feels much like The Chedi Andermatt I stayed at in Switzerland, exactly like it.
The resort is the perfect place to learn to ski as it is a few meters from the slopes and there are a few green runs to get your ski legs. There is an indoor pool to relax after a day in the snow.
Why choose the Park Chalet: Park Chalet is the sister property of Pik Palace and located just across the road. It is slightly classier and smaller, portraying a cozier and more elegant image so it might be the better choice in Shahdag.
What to consider when booking the Park Chalet: The resort is small so, in the winter, you probably do not want to spend more than three days as you will be going down the same slopes over and over again. Service at Park Chalet gets some bad reviews on TripAdvisor.