Although you can’t book your own hotel in Turkmenistan, you can of course request the hotel you want your chosen tour company to book for you. There is more choice than you probably realised so here is a selection of some of the best, and some of the worst hotels that Ashgabat has to offer.
Located in the centre of Ashgabat right near the First Park, the Paytagt was originally called the Ashgabat Hotel and was the main hotel that the Soviet Tourist agency “Intourist” used for guessed to this remote part of the Soviet Union. While it might have been grand when it was first built in the 1950s, it hasn’t been renovated since and is in need of some serious care. Some toilets don’t have seats, air conditioners don’t always work, there is no wifi and no option for breakfast. However, every room has an en-suite bathroom and a balcony, and whichever side of the building you’re on, great views!
Like with any old Soviet era hotel, they have kept the tradition of having a lady on every floor who keeps your key for you, makes you tea and tells you off for being too loud.
Ak Altyn Hotel
Formerly the Sheraton, but renamed when the government took it over, the Ak Altyn is the best balance of price versus comfort in Ashgabat, and where we choose to stay on most of our tours. Located in one of the last remaining older parts of Ashgabat, with small buildings and tree lined streets, when you walk out the hotel you don’t realise you’re in Ashgabat.
It has a swimming pool, bar, night club that the locals love, gym and great views of the city. Breakfast is included.
The Nusay is a 5 star hotel located right next to the Presidential Palace. While it’s in a very fancy area, this doesn’t lend itself to leaving the hotel on foot since many of the streets surrounding the hotel you’re not allowed to walk down. It also has a swimming pool, fantastic breakfast and an amazing Italian restaurant.
Easily the most spectacular hotel in Ashgabat, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were standing next to the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. This hotel is where foreign guests are often put up and arguably boasts the best restaurant in the country (which we often go to on tours!). On the top floor there is a piano bar, below that an international restaurant and below that an Asian style restaurant. This hotel is situated on a huge hill with the best views Ashgabat has to offer, however it isn’t near anything else, so you’ll spend a lot of time driving to and from the hotel. It’s great for a night, just for the novelty, but it’s not a very convenient place to explore Ashgabat from.
Grand Turkmen Hotel
The Grand Turkmen is located right in the centre of town, right next to the Russian bazaar. It used to house the only casino in Turkmenistan before gambling was banned. Like the Ak Altyn, this hotel offers a good balance of comfort versus price, and has a swimming pool and breakfast included. In the lobby are several souvenir stores and rug shops. The Grand Turkmen is also famously a refuge for those wanting to have a cigarette when they are in the centre of town, as it has a rarely found smoking area.
Another simple hotel without wifi, this hotel is located near the Park of Inspiration. From the outside you wouldn’t even realise this is a hotel and the service is known to be below par. Another relic from the country’s Soviet past, the Dayhan is mostly used by domestic travellers. The rooms only have baths and if you’re a fan of retro furniture, this is the place for you.
Not to be confused with the Paytagt (formerly Ashgabat Hotel), this is the new Ashgabat Hotel, next to Ashgabat Stadium. Although built in all white marble and looking amazing from the outside, this hotel is probably the worst price to experience balance. Primarily built for locals that are brought in for events at the nearby stadium, most staff don’t speak any English, the rooms don’t live up to the outside appearance and the breakfast is reportedly the worst in Ashgabat. This has Turkmenistan written all over it and is a classic example of the glitzy façade with not much to back it up!
Another one of the fanciest hotels in Ashgabat, the Oguzkent used to be the Sofitel. Located near the Finance Ministry and Ministry of Horses this is a real 5 star experience. You are welcomed into a grand reception area and everything about this hotel screams class. The clientele staying here are mostly business people and diplomats who want the best but also want to be centrally located. And we have it on good advice that the Oguzkent has the best New York style cheesecake in Turkmenistan, if that’s something that takes your fancy.