Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
May 28, 2010
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
May 8, 2008
New York, New York
January 14, 2008
From journal An American in Yemen: I Must Be Crazy, Right?
Damascus, Dimashq, Syria
October 11, 2006
This is the hotel I would have stayed in if I had known about it, which I didn’t because it’s new. Well, it’s not new – it’s about 400 years old but as a hotel it’s still cutting its teeth. But that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing though. The hotel is a beautifully restored tower house with, and this is the clincher, a large paved terrace overlooking one of the old city’s allotment gardens. This is just a total plus in a city where there are few places where you can sit, have a drink and enjoy the view all at the same time. Large containers full of flowering plants are dotted around the terrace which is partly shaded by a large mimosa (?) tree. The gardens, completely encircled by old tower houses, are splash of lush green that contrast wonderfully with the golden bricks of the buildings.
At night, the view from the terrace is just magical when the interior lights in the surrounding houses glow through the multi-coloured and intricately patterned stained glass windows. The white-washed rooms in the hotel are simply furnished and the windows draped with billowing muslin curtains. Many of the rooms have either stained glass windows or carved wooden shutters. You can either have a room with a bed or with the traditional mattresses and cushions on the floor. I visited the hotel terrace a number of times and had some interesting conversations with the boss over an alcohol-free beer or two. Most of the renovation work to the hotel building is completed and they’re just adding the finishing touches to the interior decor. A couple of cart loads of mirrors set into reclaimed antique wooden window frames arrived one afternoon and were to go in all the rooms.
A lot of the restoration work on the building involved using reclaimed materials such as doors, windows and support beams. Not all of these come from Sana’a – many of these items are salvaged from derelict properties in the surrounding countryside. The attitude being, better to salvage and reuse than have too many of these items disappear out of the country as souvenirs. I agree, even though I think a pair of Yemeni window shutters would look great on my wall! The plumbing is however, modern.
The hotel also owns all the allotment plots facing the terrace up to a mid-point of the garden. The boss who, like me, is a bit of a plant freak, showed me the design for this land which includes plots for growing organic veg for the hotel, a small sitting area planted with indigenous shrubs and plants and a space to put a traditional tent. The way the plans were laid out on paper and described to me verbally struck me as being totally in sympathy with the surrounding buildings and gardens. We’ll see! As well as meals, they also do a fine cup of tea.
From journal Yemen - Expect the Unexpected