Background The Ritz-Carlton, Baku opened in December last year in Azerbaijan’s capital. Baku, famous for its rise to prosperity since the oil boom, has become a major destination for GCC business and leisure travellers. Once a key stop on the Silk Road, it is easy to feel a sense of deep history right across this country.
Where is it? Located in the city’s business hub, close to the Baku Convention Center and Heydar Aliyev Center which hosts several major events, this hotel is also only a 15-minute drive from the airport and the Old City.
What’s it like? The property is a beautifully designed piece of modern architecture. One of several modern glass structures within Baku, the interiors here are a mix of subtle tones and grand chandeliers, glass and light. High ceilings make the hotel feel extremely spacious and it comes across as a feat of modern elegance.
Rooms: The hotel has 190 rooms and suites. I stayed in the Grand Deluxe Queen Twin room. My room felt as big as many suites and featured an enormous marble-clad bathroom with both a shower and tub. The room had a large seating area and work desk space. A highlight was the uninterrupted views, from the floor-to-ceiling windows, of the Heydar Aliyev Center which is a Zaha Hadid-designed architectural triumph. There was also plenty of hanging space and available floor area to open suitcases. It can comfortably host two people, a bugbear in many hotels with smaller rooms.
Food and Drink: The hotel has two outlets. Its all-day dining concept, Tribeca, is a New York-style diner and bar, while the prohibition-styled Blind Tiger bar is buzzing in the evenings. Breakfast at Tribeca is a feast. From fresh salads to the egg station, and international cuisine to local fare such as Azerbaijan’s shakshuka, there are plenty of choices. The dining area is vast, but is divided into sections and also has a spectacular outdoor terrace. For lunch and dinner, the restaurant boasts a California-inspired menu with everything from light bites to meat specialities.
Business: With more than 2,200 sqm of meeting spaces, The Ritz-Carlton, Baku is well-positioned to host corporate gatherings and celebrations. From the 10-person meeting facility within an executive boardroom to the ballroom which can accommodate up to 280 people, each space is kitted with modern technology and floor-to-ceiling windows which fill it with natural light.
Leisure: The hotel has a huge gym, making sticking to your fitness regime much easier, especially in the face of Baku’s incredible cuisine. Fitted with Technogym equipment, it is bright and overlooks the Heydar Aliyev Centre. The spa and indoor pools meanwhile were not open while I was there, but there are still more facilities to open as the hotel progresses through its early months.
Verdict: This is a great business hotel with all the facilities needed to make life easy on a work trip. There is free private parking and a garden to enjoy the good weather too.
Words by Melanie Swan
Best for: Leisure facilities, including the spa and indoor pools
Don’t miss: Breakfast is a feast for the senses with global and local delicacies
Price: Internet rates for a midweek stay in July start from AZN675 for the Grand Deluxe Queen Twin room without breakfast
Contact: 3 Babek Avenue, Nasimi District, Baku; +994 12 460 7777;
(Images: Supplied by The Ritz-Carlton, Baku)