We stayed at the Orient Hotel for just one night. We had originally booked into the Silk Road Hotel but were told on arrival that we would need to stay across the road, presumably because the Silk Road Hotel was full. We were disappointed because we specifically booked at the Silk Road Hotel because we wanted to stay there. The room rate was quoted at USD45/night, which we were told was the same as a room at the Silk Road even though in the current Lonely Planet edition the Orient Hotel is quoted as mid-range whereas the Silk Road Hotel is quoted as being budget accommodation. The Orient seemed eerily quiet compared to the Silk Road Hotel across the road and seemed to serve more as a spill over from the Silk Road, rather than higher grade accommodation.
The Orient Hotel has a pleasant courtyard filled with a funny assortment of cats, however, the Marco Polo Restaurant appears to be long gone. Instead, the hotel offers a buffet dinner for IR100,000 per head in the evenings and a typical Iranian breakfast with stale bread in the morning. We had the buffet dinner the first night we were there and thought it was pretty good albeit a bit pricey if you're not terribly hungry.
We were given Room 6 (second room on the left when you enter past reception). The room had a funny smell to it when we arrived and all the doors were open for airing. We presumed this was because the cleaners had doused the place in bleach to clean up a previous mess. Later in the evening when we were relaxing on the bed we started to see little brown bugs crawling over the bedspread and wall next to the beds. We didn't realise they were bed bugs (we've never seen them before) until we killed one that was full of blood and showed it to guy on night duty. He admitted that the hotel had a problem with tourists bringing in bed bugs and offered to change us to another room for the night.
When we changed room we discovered that we had brought some of the bugs with us on our things that were resting on the bed in the old room. There is hence every chance that we spread the bugs to the other room. We ended up staying up until about 3AM cleaning our things and combing through our bags to try and ensure we found as many bugs as possible. The next morning we also went through our gear out in the sun, washed some more of our gear and then spent the remainder of the day locating another hotel and moving.
Given the good reputation and now high price of the Silk Road group of hotels, we were very disappointed that they considered bed bugs an easily treatable issue and put us in a room they knew was infested. The lady working the reception of the Orient said that they had treated the bed bugs with pesticides and it was tourists going on the camel trips that had brought them in anyway (thus absolving responsibility somehow) and we had agreed that the room was fine despite the smell. If we had known the smell was due to a bed bug infestation and the spraying of pesticides, then of course we wouldn't have agreed to stay in that room. In the morning we noticed the cleaning ladies spraying down another room across the courtyard so there is every possibility that bed bugs are spread through some of the other rooms in the Orient.
We talked to the manager of Silk Road Hotel and he was kind enough to give us the night for free and offered to wash our clothes for us. I am not sure what the deal is but the Silk Road Hotel and Orient didn't seem to have the best relationship despite being sister hotels (which we presumed were owned by the same crowd).
Overall, we did not think the Orient/Silk Road was terribly good value and the hotels are perhaps not as well run as they once were. Our original room in the Orient had a light switch that sparked, leaky taps and a bathroom the size of a standard WC. The beds are quite narrow and consist of a simple mattress on a particle board base. In the mornings, the courtyard outside can be very noisy with people coming and going since you're not sheltered from the noise. We moved across town and for USD20 less per night we had a double room with large Western style bathroom in quiet courtyard. On a positive note, there is free wi-fi in Silk Road (although it didn't work the night we were there) and since plenty of foreigners stay here, it's a good place to meet other travellers.