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“Worst hotel we have ever been!” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Orient Palace Hotel

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Orient Palace Hotel
Hidjaz Sq | PO Box 43, Damascus 43, Syria   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #51 of 77 hotels in Damascus
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Worst hotel we have ever been!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2010

Good points:
1 Location - walkable distance to
old city and the national museum
2 Roon - clean with basic features

Bad points:
1 Staff - unhelpful and unfriendly and greedy
2 Breakfast - too basic, even for the 10 USD (for 2 people) charged extra. Included instant Nescafe, egg, bread and some miserable olives.
3 Overcharged - staff not communicating with each other, we had been asked to pay the breakfast twice by different people.

Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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24 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Gainesville, Florida
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2010

This was a fine hotel 40 years ago. Now? Well nothing has changed. The location is good. The price is right. The staff are accomodating. The AC is loud. Forget the breakfast. Take the elevator at your peril (It broke while we were there with someone in it). There is no wireless.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chippenham
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
131 helpful votes 131 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2010

We stayed here for four nights because we read the comments about this is a hotel for travellers not for tourists, and thought it fitted our expectations nicely. Even so, on arrival we were shocked at how run down the building is, and in particular how disgusting the bathroom was.

The fixed room rate is $53 plus $7 tax ($60), 1690 Syrian Pounds for Syrians ($36 approx.)

We were given a room at the front, arriving at about 10pm after 14 hours of travelling. It was exceptionally noisy but we had no idea the volume of noise went on without pause throughout the night. Fortunately I had some earplugs or I would never have slept.

We were moved to a quieter room at the back the next day, which had a balcony, however I found out that this is the normal approach - give the customer the bad room and wait for them to complain. Since the room rate for non-Syrians is automatically higher than for Syrian nationals it was disappointing that that this is not reflected in the customer service provided.

The breakfast did not vary on any day, and was an additional $5.

The electric wiring is substandard at best, and very dangerous at worse. It is not safe for children, do not bring them to this hotel. There are no fire exits or fire escapes, so in the event of a fire trapping you in your room you will need to dampen a towel and place it at the foot of your door and await the fire brigade.

There was hot water on only one of the four days, although on day two we did manage to get enough lukewarm water to wash, after leaving the tap to run for about 5 minutes. Having said that, why you would even want to step into the disgusting shower is beyond me.

There has been an attempt to paint the rooms, but this has been so badly done it looks like a 5 year old did it. There are no bedside lamps for some reason, only a very bright fluorescent strip light above the beds.

There are no double beds, only twin rooms.

The fridge in the first room didn't work, and it was so noisy in the second room we switched it off (it's simply an old domestic fridge).

Why did we stay for 4 days? We were visiting friends and so stayed out of the hotel for everything except sleeping. It was too much hassle to change hotels, although having stayed in other hotels in Aleppo and Palmyra I now recognise that this is not the typical standard of tourist hotel.

None of the taxi drivers knew how to find it, however it is directly opposite the Hejaz (or Alhijaz) Train Station museum which is widely recognised and should be used as the landmark instead.

None of the night crew has much grasp of English, you need to wait for the manager to come on in the morning.

No-body here is unfriendly, nor are they particularly friendly, they just seem to see their residents as largely transient foreigners who are there to be milked or tolerated as the circumstances arise.

One further word of caution, the photos on http://www.orientpalacehotel.net/gallery.html are not correct, they were taken many years ago. In particular the shots of the bedrooms and the restaurant must be at least 10 years old, do not trust them, the building has deteriorated greatly since they were taken.

In short, I sum the Orient Palace up as almost, but not quite yet unfit for human occupation, but would be condemned by the authorities if it was in the west. It is run down beyond the point of "tarnished" and feels as though it is awaiting demolition. If you must stay here insist when you book that you have a quiet room at the back. Preferably don't stay here at all!!

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2010

I stayed here for one night last week and, although i'd booked for two, i checked out the next morning. Having read the reviews, I wasn't expecting anything fancy and figured it would be clean, tired and comfortable. It was clean and it was tired but it wasn't comfortable and after a lot of hours on the road, that was a disappointment. Unfortunately my room was at the front of the hotel and the traffic noise was constant and deafening. The room itself was quite large but very basic with worn linen and a terrible lumpy old mattress and pillow (I can sleep on a washing line so this is saying something). It had a tv (didn't work), a fridge (didn't work) and a shower that just worked. If i'd been paying Syrian prices for this, I probably would have stuck around but I paid $50 for the night (without breakfast) which frankly, is a total rip off in this city. They need to up their game if they carry on playing the 'faded grandeur' card as it's simply too far gone to even imagine it's better days and instead feels very much like an abandoned institution.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eugene
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2010

Stayed here while touring Syria. Perfect place if you don't need the most modern stuff. Quite clean and quite faded. It must have been something in its day and the location is great. Room was largest we had on our trip to Syria and had a balcony and was quiet. Nothing seems to have been touched in years so the room was run down, but you could imagine what it must have been like in its prime. Bed was awful but room was quiet. Very fun for a couple of nights.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Hague
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2010

Good hotel, near the souq. I asked for a quiet room and we got one at the back of the hotel. The rooms are large and furnished with cool vintage furniture. Large balcony overlooking a back street :) Good beds, although the pillows are synthetic, which was the case in all hotels in Syria I slept in. The bathroom is big with a bath. Powerful hot shower. Helpful staff at the lobby. This hotel is from the 1930's and has not changed a lot since. Some people complained about the old AC equipment, is has been replaced with modern ones. Rudimentary breakfast in a beatiful dining hall. Ask for Turkish coffee, or end up with Nescafe. An ATM that serves Cirrus cards is just next to the hotel.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2009

I'm glad we did not read the previous reviews before visiting this hotel which ended up being a highlight of our trip to Syria and one of our most enjoyable stays in the course of a 2 month trip to the middle east. If you are looking for a clean, comfortable, spacious, safe and very centrally located hotel in Damascus this is the place for you. If you are looking for sterile 5 star luxury you might wish to look elsewhere. Whilst the best way to describe this place is faded grandeur it has incredible character and we had a wonderful time lounging around the huge room with the breeze sweeping through the massive windows and balcony doors, spices, voices and the call to prayer gently wafting up on the evening breeze. We found staff to be fantastic and super friendly, breakfasts we reliably good (there is something wonderful about being served breakfast in a large mirrored ballroom, faded or not!) and everything was very clean (fittings were certainly old but clean and in good working order).

One of the best things about the hotel (apart from the fact you feel like you are actually staying in Damascus rather than in a hotel at home), is the location. 5 minutes walk to the old city, souks and the museum, 10 minutes from the 4 Seasons Hotel (GREAT FOOD!), and 15 minutes from the Performing Arts centre (the Opera is well worth a visit if there is a show on!), this place is a GEM! We did a lot of shopping and the Post Office being 30 metres from the hotel, along with the ATM just next door were also a bonus. We also left our bags with the hotel whilst travelling for a few days and had no problems at all. This place prides itself on old fashioned service and has oodles of charm. If you can live without 5 star luxury for a few days this place will reward you. We will certainly be back!

Front desk staff were wonderful, friendly and helpful. We originally booked for 2 nights however ended up staying 7 nights spread over the course of a week and a half using the hotel as a base for trips to Beruit and Bosra.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Orient Palace Hotel

Address: Hidjaz Sq | PO Box 43, Damascus 43, Syria
Location: Syria > Damascus
Hotel Style:
Ranked #51 of 77 hotels in Damascus
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Great location very close to museum and old town and the center, flexible price, clean old hotel, first hotel in Damascus, good service, big room. ... more   less 

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