This striking structure, lit up dramatically at night, can be seen from all over the city and is its highest building. The Fairmont occupies one of the three towers and is 28 storeys high. There is a soaring lobby on the ground floor, which has a businesslike feel, and my taxi is unloaded without delay. I’m staying in a signature suite on the 20th floor, so I’m escorted to check in at the lounge on the 19th floor. The views from this height are genuinely jaw-dropping. I have to wait only five minutes for my bags to arrive at the room.
The hotel is set back from the waterfront on a hillside, giving it a commanding overview of the whole city and its bay on the Caspian Sea. There are low-key residential apartment blocks and offices nearby, and it’s just a couple of minutes walk from Shahidlar Xiyabani (Martyrs’ Alley), a monument and cemetery, which also provides a great vantage point. It’s then about a 15-minute walk to downtown or the sea.
Most guests are from the UAE, India and Russia, and are split between business and leisure. The hotel has an outdoor pool for the summer months and an indoor pool with a good sauna and steam room. The ESPA spa is the largest in the city.
The main restaurant is on the ground floor, and there’s also a shisha lounge. Upstairs there is a jazz bar and a second restaurant. The atmosphere is relaxed, although the hotel’s 299 rooms and 19 apartments are likely to be busier during the city’s F1 event next weekend. Rooms are from the ninth floor upwards, and the apartments are on floors 2 and 8.
My one-bedroom suite (a Fairmont Gold Signature Suite Sea View) can be joined to the one next door – together they enjoy a private hallway. Inside, the design is slick and unobtrusive, maximising the spectacular views from floor-to-ceiling windows. The sound of the wind takes a bit of getting used to. My suite has a separate living area and the desk is positioned well. Everything works, but there is a slightly rotten smell coming from the second bathroom (which I’ve experienced in other locations in the city), and my bedsheets seem worn. Full marks for firm pillows, though.
Swift and quiet. Calls to reception are answered quickly and requests are carried out without fuss.
Access to the club lounge provides drinks and snacks throughout the day. At Le Bistro, the main restaurant, I try the ribeye steak (48 manats; Dh103) which is cooked exactly as I want it and is accompanied by decent chips with parmesan. The buffet breakfast (36 manats) is excellent, with a great range of fresh juices and smoothies, yoghurts, breads and local dishes, in addition to the usual hot and cold items.
The astonishing views and my suite, which felt like a private apartment.
At night, the building’s flashing light display is partially visible in the room, even with the shades and blinds down, which is somewhat disturbing, although it stops around midnight. A pillow menu is not available, and there was a surprising worn feel to my sheets.
A fun and stylish hotel, with its building a sight in itself.
The bottom line
Double rooms at Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers cost from 305 manats (Dh660) per night, including taxes.