The Irshad is an ideal hotel for people who already know Baku a bit, and are looking for excellent value off the more beaten track of the sea boulevard or Fountain Square. Built in 1996 as the country’s first private hotel after socialism, it offers five floors of rooms on a quiet corner of a long green park in between Metro Genclik and the US Embassy. The clean air of the neighborhood is a huge advantage over the busier parts of the seaside center, as is the excellent service from a mostly young, Azeri/Russian/English-speaking staff. The complimentary breakfast is quite substantial. Rooms are a bit dated by some standards: a funny mix of Danish modern, Russian dacha, and late Soviet comfort, but kept terrifically clean. I had to check that I had not been given an upgrade as my room was quite a bit larger than expected, a nice surprise. Mattresses were a bit springy and might bear updating. The price, obviously, is also hard to beat. I would gladly go back.
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