Radisson Baku is prime in its category for location and price – Hotel Insider

The property offers 24/7 room service and caters to families, groups of friends and business travellers

Bedrooms at Radisson Baku are well-appointed and come with views of the Caspian Sea. Photo: Radisson
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The Radisson Group’s first property in Azerbaijan opened last May. A 30-minute drive from Heydar Aliyev airport in Baku, the four-star hotel is located alongside the stunning Milli Park waterfront.

A family-friendly property, it costs less than half to stay here than at both the Hilton next door, as well as the InterContinental one street up.

The welcome

Language can be a barrier in Baku, but the reception staff at the property are well-versed and tackle most queries without fear of miscommunication. Of the two rooms my family of four booked, one was ready well before the official 3pm check-in time, and luggage service was prompt, too.

The neighbourhood

This is perhaps the hotel’s strongest USP. The century-old Baku promenade, located a footbridge away, is a hubbub of activity, with cutesy cafes, lush green spaces, picturesque carousels and a carpet museum all popping up alongside the waterfront stretch.

Park Bulvar Mall, located directly opposite the hotel, has a multi-cuisine food court, bank and money exchange services, and a massive and inexpensive children’s play area (an hour-long session in the soft-play section costs about Dh10).

Old Town is a 20-minute walk, Highland Park takes 30, while the idyllic cafes, pub crawl haunts and nightclubs of Nizami Street can be reached within 15 minutes on foot. The only time we needed a taxi was to and from the airport, but that could be down to the cool-bordering-on-cold weather at the end of March.

The room

We stayed in connecting Sea View rooms, convenient when you’re travelling with children. Each room is not overly capacious at 23 square metres, but is still a well-appointed space with all the necessities: a wardrobe with an ironing board; a study table and chair; a side table and plush armchair; a full-length mirror; and a telly.

It’s decorous, too. Views of the glittering Caspian Sea aside, the space has framed black and white posters of Old Baku, while pendant lights in matte black hang tastefully on either side of the bed, and the headboard matches the trunk-style wood finish of the wardrobe.

Tip: Ask for a second duvet if you’re sharing the bed as the queen bed registers even the slightest movement.

The bathroom – complete with a hygiene hose – has hand and rain showers (but no tub), and Radisson-branded toiletries.

The scene

The hotel was busy, but not bursting, with a near-equal split between families (mainly Russian-speaking) and groups of friends (mainly male, and from India and the UAE).

The property has a gym but no pool. Its second level is dedicated to business travellers, with well-equipped meeting and conference rooms and computer stations. Night owls will appreciate the hotel’s 24-hour room service.

The food

The smoked veal (a highlight of the breakfast menu) was tender enough to slice through with a butter knife; the French toast, bizarrely, was not. The rest of the buffet-style menu at the hotel's sole restaurant Lagom was classic and expansive. Eggs, sausages, waffles, baked beans and a bread section ensured we were energised enough to take on the day. The cheeses and dips deserve a shout-out, too, for sheer variety (cream cheese, salty local variants, Gouda, crumbled cottage cheese, sour cream and some of the best hummus I’ve eaten) and freshness of taste.

From the main menu, we only sampled an excellent pan-fried chicken and a basic, but well-executed pasta with oodles of Parmesan for the baby.

The service

This is a tricky one to encapsulate. On the one hand, all the staff we encountered in person – even the ones who did not speak much English – were efficient, brisk and helpful. The housekeeping, however, was sorely lacking.

Shower caps and other vanity items were not replaced once over our four-night stay, despite a special request to do so; clean towels were provided, but the old ones not picked up off the floor; and an uneaten welcome pastry with sliced bananas stayed in our room from day one to day five. It was all rather basic clearing up, and all the more bizarre for the lack of it.

Highs and lows

Given how warm and helpful all the staff seemed (thereby enhancing our experience in various ways), the tardy housekeeping was bemusing.

Insider tip

Have the reception staff order and negotiate for local taxis on your behalf.

The verdict

The price and location make this property a clear winner in its category. The tariff at the Hilton next door as well as the InterContinental two streets are more than double. Just carry your own shower cap.

The bottom line

Standard rooms start from Dh400, including breakfast and tax.

For more information, visit www.radissonhotels.com

Updated: April 07, 2024, 11:29 AM