September 20, 2004
I opted for a place slightly below the middle of the road, the Hanadi Hotel. The hotel is located right off the main square of the downtown area in a restored old house. From here, you can easily walk all the main sights of Aleppo (Citadel, Old City, Jdide) and there are plenty of restaurants, both cheap and expensive, nearby, so you should never really have to hop a taxi anywhere.
The hotel itself is extremely clean and offers various types of rooms. If you want your own shower and air conditioning, you can have a room for three people for $18. The same size room without a shower or A/C will cost you $12, while a one-person room, not much larger than your bed with a shared shower and bath, will cost you $7. All these prices include a breakfast of bread, marmalade, eggs, olives, cheese, and tea. Also, these prices might rise a bit during the high season (April to May, August to Sept), but I am sure they will also drop significantly during the winter months.
All of the rooms are very clean and, since most of the rooms are set back from the street, they are very quiet as well. The hotel also has a nice courtyard where you can sit and have your breakfast.
The staff is also very helpful and polite, not pushy at all. My only complaint was that the owner completely refused to speak Arabic with me, so we devolved into a strange relationship where I asked in Arabic and he responded in English, never even acknowledging my Arabic ability, but that’s not a problem most people will have. The owner will gladly arrange an excursion to St. Simeon and the other sights for you. He doesn’t try to push them on you, which is nice, but if you ask he will explain your options and the prices.
The hotel is also very popular among the budget traveler crowd, meaning backpackers in their mid 20s from Europe, which was nice because I was able to easily find a French guy to share the price of an excursion with me. Hanadi is a no frills hotel that is clean, cheap, and in a good location. If I return to Aleppo, I’ll gladly stay there again rather than go back on the hunt.
From journal Aleppo: Syria's Second City