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“A great stay in sad times”
Review of al-Gawaher Hotel

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al-Gawaher Hotel
Ranked #19 of 19 Hotels in Aleppo
Reviewed November 28, 2011

Me and my girlfriend stayed in this budget hotel in Aleppo during our 20 days trip in the Middle East, in November 2011. The location is just perfect. Walking distance to the citadel and, of course, the old town, as well as to the Christian quarter. The staff is friendly, always available for a hint or for providing direction to wherever you are heading.

It was heart breaking to see how the unrest in Syria is causing generalized damage to the tourism business. Anyway, the owner even made possible for me to hire a taxi driver for a two days trips to places I never thought I would be able to visit in these days, like Crac des Chevaliers and the Lost Cities (and Palmyra, but that would be easy).

Overall, I had great time in Aleppo and being accomodated in Al Gawaher was part of it! Of course, it is a low budget hotel and a cheap one, so my rate is taking this in consideration.

Ricardo

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TorgutPt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 - 7 of 24 reviews

Reviewed February 25, 2011

The main thing going for the Al-Gawaher are its very friendly, hospitable, helpful and laid-back group of guys who work there - a breath of fresh air from my experience of the usual distant, vacant and aloof service in Middle Eastern hotels.

I stayed in Al-Gawaher for 5 nights. The price is very cheap (400 Syrian pounds for a single room without bathroom, 600 SYP for one person a double room with bathroom, 1200 SYP for two people in a triple room with bathroom). Sleeping on mattresses on the roof is even cheaper, but unfortunately that wasn't an optioon at this time because I was there in winter.

There is unlimited free wi-fi available, which is great (and rare for the Middle East!). Hanging out in the lobby is a good way of meeting other travellers, and the staff can be both talkative or leave you alone on your laptop, whatever you prefer, they're very relaxed.

My main complaint about the hotel is the fact that the availability of hot water is very erratic, to non-existent at times! I had to run the 'hot' tap for a good 15 mins to get the hot water to flow, and often it didn't become hot/warm at all, no matter what time of day it was...not good in the wintertime in Aleppo! Also, the surface/bottom of the shower design is very dangerous - it is a split-level surface in the bathtub that you have to stand in to have a shower, so it is very slippery and awkward to stand in...I fell down once! There is also a chronic lack of toilet paper and soap in the hotel. No breakfast available.

However, there are either electric heaters and fans or split-system air conditioners in every room, the rooms are large, beds comfortable with sufficient blankets, facilities are clean for the most part and the location of the hotel is excellent, right between the Al-Jdeida Christian Quarter and the Old City, the 2 main areas of interest in Aleppo.

I would recommend this hotel for budget travellers, especially backpackers, as a laid-back no-frills place to meet people...just watch your step in the (cold) shower!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled solo
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Thank Lutalica1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2010

The rooms are very run down, bathroom is dirty, A/C is very loud, etc. However, it is cheap. So what do you expect if the place is this cheap? Again, for some travelers, it will be an okay choice for a night or two, allowing one to save money. But for many others with higher expectations, it is best to probably stay away. The staff was rather helpful to me, though they are more concerned with hanging out with each other than helping guests - but this is a no frills place, so one probably shouldn't expect top quality service.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank move360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2010

It's got a reasonably good location mid way between the old city and the Christian quarter and the room had good aircon. However, the sheets were dirty and smelt and the bathroom was dirty and the loo didn't flush which they did absolutely nothing to fix. This wouldn't have been unbearable but the young guy on reception was patronising and unfriendly, making unpleasant jokes rather than helping us. We left.

  • Stayed: September 2010
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1  Thank Travellingeastwards
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2010

Al-Gawaher is tucked away on a side street in the Bab al-Faraj neighbourhood. They have email access, so you can reserve in advance if you need to. Stayed for 2 nights in a twin room, which was ice cold (I visited in the Winter season) - the huge radiator in the room proved to be a show piece and belongs in a museum. After fiddling with the water pipes in the rest room for a good 30 minutes, my shower spewed out a trickle of luke-warm water. The security lock on my door was missing key components and I was forced to keep my door closed by placing an item of room furniture against it.

The communual areas on each landing are massive and decorated with traditional Syrian furniture, nice place to hang out if the beg buds won't let you sleep.

For the cost of a night at al-Gawaher, you could easily stay at a much cleaner, cosier and friendlier hotel off the main road. Stay at the al-Gawaher only as a last option.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled with friends
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Thank ibnbatuta84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2010

Stayed at the Al Gawaher for 3 nights, and paid 600 Syrian pounds per night for an air-conditioned room with private shower, including towels and toilet paper. It was a fair price for what we got.

However, me and my friends felt that we had been completely ripped off by the manager who sold us 2 tours to visit places around Aleppo. The first tour wasn't so bad, which is why we felt confident to go for the 2nd tour. For the first tour we paid 2000 Syrian pounds, to be in a minivan with a total of 12 people. Now check the labour cost and the gasoline cost in Syria, and if 12 people pay that much for a 6-hour tour, that's a lot of money! This tour had no tour guide and nothing else included, just the transport. But in all fairness, we agreed to the price, and were charged accordingly. I guess in this case its a situation where we knew that it was really expensive, but there was no other choice. After all we did see a lot of historic places that day.

Then the second tour that we took was where we were really cheated. Me and my friends wanted to go from Aleppo to Damascus, by following a dessert route to visit lake al-Assad and Palmyra. So we asked the manager how much it would cost if we could get someone to take us to the lake and then to Palmyra. (from Palmyra we could then continue on our own with a public bus) And the manager told us, it would cost us about 12000 Syrian pounds for the 3 of us. We thought it was a bit too expensive, so we told him we'll think about it. He told us to think about it and that if he found more people to go with us then it will be much cheaper. Me and my friends decided that we'll go for it even though it was expensive, (now or never situation) The next day the manager told us that he'd found another 2 to go with us, so the price will be even cheaper. On the day of out departure, we were asked to pay 3500 each for the tour (just transport), which we paid thinking that there's going to be 5 people in the vehicle. Instead there were 9 travellers. Now here we're already thinking that the price was really really expensive, but we couldnt do much because we had already departed. By the end of the day we found out that the others had paid less for the tour, about 2000-2500. It might be a small amount, but it is enough to make you feel like you've been cheated and played around with!

Conclusion, the hotel might not be so bad after all for the price you pay.. but really do be careful of anything else you purchase if you stay there!

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled with friends
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2  Thank laratabone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2010

Overall I thought it was good hostel and a good place to meet other travellers. Its a shame that one of the managers, the younger one, made everything difficult. I arrived and asked for the cheapest bed available. He told me I had to have a single room but later found out they had much cheaper and available options on the roof. I said I would like to stay for 3 nights. "no problem" I was told. After the second night the same manager said he needed my bed as a group had arrived. In my view "no problem' equates to a booking. Luckily the other older and very sensible manager said of course I could stay. I had the misfortune of losing my credit and debit cards in Aleppo. The same manager thought this was hilarious and offered no help or advice but pranced around being smug. Just watch out for him.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank ssebaf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about al-Gawaher Hotel

Address: Bab al-Faraj St. | Behind Library, Aleppo 6952, Syria
Location: Syria > Aleppo Governorate > Aleppo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 19 Hotels in Aleppo
Price Range: $7 - $9 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A clean and nice cheap hotel, located in city center, vey close to the old city and the Citadel. Quiet environment. ... more   less 

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