July 30, 2005
Bahsa is a good location, as it is regarded as the center of the visit. Banks, restaurants, and travel agencies are nearby. It is not too far away to walk to the Old City, either.
The hotel is not definitely visited by the Western tourists. The entrance is hidden in the inner yard, so the backpackers are unlikely to notice it on the way to the popular hostels nearby.
The singles ($15) in the hotel are tiny and not advisable. Although you get all the modern facilities, there are some major concerns. You can hardly walk in your room, as it so small, and the singles are also noisy, as they face the lift. What's worse, there was a generator just outside my window, which woke me up two times a night! I think all the rooms on the first floor have the same problem.
As I complained about the problem, I was moved to a higher floor in a double room. I was told that these rooms are called honeymoon rooms, and that's what they definitely looked like! The doubles are definitely worth staying in. I was given a double for the price of single, as an apology, but one is expected to pay $25 dollars for a double.
(If you shop around in Bahsa, though, you are able to find a similar room for $20).
In Alaa Tower, I also had a chance to observe an Iranian tourist group. Very interesting indeed!
So if one is more interested in local atmosphere and better-than-budget quality, I recommend Alaa Tower. I was definitely treated as a special visitor, as Western visitors are a rare view in the hotel.
From journal Beautiful Evil