Central Asia

Escape to the North – Grand Hotel Khujand, A Review

Howdy all, time for another hotel review, and this time it of the flashiest place I stayed in Tajikistan, the Grand Hotel in the northern city of Khujand. At $92AUD a night (or around $60USD) it was by far the most expensive place I stayed whilst in Tajikistan too, however I can say that it was easily worth the price paid.

Whilst in Tajikistan I was staying at cheap places, especially compared to the rest of the trip. A cheap hotel in Dushanbe and homestays at Sary Tag (for Isanderkul), Panjakent and in the mountains of the Seven Lakes. In the middle there was a two-night stay in Khujand, and this is where I really forked out. All thing being comparative, of course.

I was coming in from two days mostly on the road, in a shared taxi or hiking, and I had gotten a pretty bad stomach bug, as I tend to do EVERY TIME I go travelling. So, I needed a place to recuperate. With a bath or at least good shower, somewhere where I was likely to spend 24 hours in bed.

The Lonely Planet pretty much said that the Grand Hotel was Khujand’s best. It was more than I was paying per night by a long shot, but I had around $300 bucks in a ‘splurge fund’ I guess you could call it, and despite it being very early in the journey I decided it would be worth it. I planned to stay one night and see how it went, in the end I stayed two.

The day between the two nights was really the only day I rested the whole bloody trip! I skipped meals on the day I arrived, and just enjoyed the comfy bed and the wifi, which wasn’t very good but it was the only time I had wifi whilst I was in Tajikistan.

As far as Khujand goes, I don’t think there are many upper end hotels, and I don’t believe any offer quite the value for money as the Grand Hotel does. Whereas $60USD could probably get you a great hotel in a lot of places 30 years ago, however these days it doesn’t go nearly as far. And this was a non-discounted rate, I just turned up and asked for a room.

The room overlooked a courtyard, and was spacious, had a TV and a very comfortable bed. The shower was excellent, however the drain was a bit clogged and it didn’t drain very well. Otherwise I would struggle to find something to criticise. The staff were always friendly and helpful. There was an excellent (paid) laundry service, it took only a few hours to get my washing back.

The restaurant looked pretty decent too, but I only braved a little breakfast and soup on my second night as I was taking it very carefully with the ol’ gut. Best of all though is probably the location – right in the centre of town with a square and town hall outside, to another side the ‘citadel’, the main attraction of the town. It’s been recreated, not the original but it has two or three interesting museums, and there is a cable car ride just outside that goes up the hill, passing over the business/modern part of town. All in all, this was one of the best stays of my trip and the best of Central Asia.

Andy’s Ratings:

Value for Money: 4/5

Cleanliness: 4.5/5

Noise: 2.5/5

Service: 4.5/5

Location: 4.5/5

Total: 20/25 (80/100)

Thanks for stopping by today – May the Journey Never End!

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