Let’s face it, modern day hotels across the world are all cut from the same cloth. Whether you’re in New York City, Morocco or Cape Town, from the inside of a modern hotel room you could be anywhere in the world.
The familiarity and comfort of a modern hotel can be nice, but travelers usually want to experience something unique to their destination country.
Quintessential traditional Persian architecture is 2-3 storey stucco or pale brick buildings wrapped around a central courtyard containing fruit trees, day beds, and a pond. Due to the hot, dry climate, the pond is an important design feature in cooling the surrounding rooms. Other typical features include stained glass windows, wind towers, mosaic tiles and, of course, Persian carpets.
Iran is home to a plethora of historical hotels that will make you feel like your night’s rest has been lifted from the pages of 1001 nights.
Abbasi Hotel, Isfahan
The Abbasi Hotel is a five-star accommodation complex in Iran’s most beloved city, Isfahan. Located in central Isfahan, the Abbasi was built some 300 years ago as a caravanserai, a traditional desert fortress safe for travelers and their livestock for overnight lodging. The Abbasi has maintained its original U-shape with its 225 rooms facing into a central garden courtyard.
With its restaurant areas decorated opulently with mirrored mosaics, hand-painted murals, and palatial chandeliers, you will be transported to another era whilst enjoying a complimentary buffet breakfast of traditional bread, olives, cheeses, and Iranian style omelet.
The lobby area hosts a small carpet making workshop where you can watch local women weave beautiful Persian rugs.
Even if you do not stay the night at the Abbasi Hotel, I suggest you visit the on-site cafe (as many locals do) and enjoy a tea or ice cream in the beautifully manicured garden. you can book Isfahan hotels easily through 1stQuest.
Bekhradi Historical House, Isfahan
Less pricey than the Abbasi Hotel, Bekhradi Historical House in Isfahan is certainly a place you won’t forget. With each guest room individually designed and decorated you will immediately feel at home in this 400 year old residence. Built in the Safavid period, the hotel is now listed on the List of National Valued Historical Buildings in Iran.
Mr Bekhradi himself is the owner of the hotel. Having studied interior design restoration of historical monuments at some of Iran’s best universities, he has over 50 years experience in his field. The hotel is, of course, his masterpiece, dedicating 6 years of his career to the restoration project. if you want to know more about traditional hotels in Isfahan, check out this article: Isfahan traditional hotels
Manouchehri House, Kashan
Kashan’s many historical houses are guaranteed to impress travelers. A UNESCO representative visiting Kashan commented: “Kashani architects are the greatest alchemists of history. They could make gold out of the dust”.
Manouchehri House is no exception. The house was formerly a private residence built during the Safavid Dynasty (around 400 years ago) and was recently converted into a boutique hotel. Located in Kashan’s historic neighbourhood, the surrounding properties of the same era have all been converted into museums.
With all guest rooms surrounding a traditional style Persian courtyard and fountain, guest can lounge about the house and browse the on-site art gallery and handicraft workshop.
The tasteful restoration has maintained the design features of the original residence whilst modernizing some aspects for the comfort of the guests.
A subterranean movie theatre, converted from the original basement cistern, screens Iranian and foreign films and the breakfast room is beautifully sunlit through Persian style stained glass windows. With only eight rooms, this one is worth booking in advance. also, check out this guide to Kashan: travel to Kashan
Saraye Ameriha Traditional Boutique Hotel, Kashan
Another superb historical hotel in Kashan is the revered Saraye Ameriha. Saraye Ameriha Traditional Boutique Hotel was built over 200 years ago and has been restored and turned into a traditional hotel. It is very well located and you can easily walk to all the city attractions. Like most Iranian traditional houses, it has a central courtyard complete with fruit trees and a pond. you can book Kashan hotels easily through 1stQuest.
Of note is Saraye Ameriha’s wind tower, said to be the tallest in the city. Iranian wind towers, also known as baghirs, demonstrate the architectural genius of ages past, creating 100% wind powered air conditioning.
Guests consistently comment on the tasteful renovations and the hospitality of the staff. if you are looking for more historic hotels in Kashan, check out this article: traditional hotels in Kashan
Fahadan Museum Hotel, Yazd
Located in the desert city of Yazd, Fahadan Museum Hotel, as the name suggests is both a hotel and a museum and is the only one of its kind in Iran.
The traditional style house was built during the Qajar period, almost 250 years ago and has been recently restored to its former charm. During that time (and to some locals today) it was known at Tehraniha House because it was owned by a family of famous carpet traders of that name. you can find more historical hotels in Yazd here.
The city of Yazd is both flat and has a low skyline, meaning the Hotel’s rooftop is a prime location for watching the sunset into the westerly mountains. here is a complete guide to Yazd city, travel to Yazd
Some rooms come with their own private baghir and are individually decorated, adding personality and appeal. you can book Yazd hotels easily through 1stQuest.
Parhami Traditional House, Shiraz
Aging back to the mid 19th Century and operating as a hotel since 2011 the Parhami Traditional House in downtown Shiraz offers guests a true Iranian experience.
Located in the winding alleyways of Shiraz and within walking distance of major sites such as the Nasir e -Molk Mosque and Vakil Bazaar, this cute guesthouse is a great choice for Shiraz. With its impressive reputation and only a handful of rooms (single, double and dorm style) it is often booked out. you can book Shiraz hotels easily through 1stQuest.
The central courtyard complete with Iranian style day beds draped in Shirazi style carpets makes hanging around the hotel an easy way to spend an afternoon. The House’s own cafe and restaurant serve traditional food and drinks all day. if you are looking for the best accommodations in Shiraz check out this article: best hotels in Shiraz
Planning your trip
Because Iran is not well connected to international banking systems, there are no international ATMs, credit or debit card facilities available for tourists. To avoid carrying large amounts of cash, you can book your domestic flights, hotels, and transfers in advance, online via 1stQuest. 1stQuest also offers travelers an Iranian debit card, which can be charged with USD or EUR and converted to the local currency.
For a tailor-made itinerary where you choose your destinations, services, dates, and budgets, check out 1stQuest’s Untours. Bundle the services you want to save time and money!
Need an Iran visa?
All incoming tourists to Iran will need to obtain a tourist visa. Usually granted for a period of 30 days (which can be extended up to 90 days) the tourist visa is the first thing to consider for planning your trip.
Visas are issued on arrival at some Iranian airports (such at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport) or visitors can apply in advance for a visa through a provider such as 1stQuest.
Applying in advance reduces your risk of rejection and disappointment. From as little as 19 EUR, 1stQuest will handle your visa application for you. For more information, check out Iran visa page.