With its gorgeous mosque, enormous bazaar and chill out vibe, Esfahan is a must do if you are planning a trip to Iran. I wrote 2 articles about what you shouldn’t miss in Esfahan, you can find part 1 here and part 2 here. So, if you are now at the step of booking your stay in Esfahan, here is my review of Ghasr Monshi, the boutique hotel I stayed at and loved in Esfahan
HOW TO BOOK A HOTEL IN IRAN ?
Booking a hotel in Iran is not an easy task for a few reasons :
• The offer is very limited. I was told there are only around 1,200 hotels in Iran. To put it into perspective, there are over 2,000 hotels in the greater Paris area alone. The result was that most of the hotels which I contacted were already fully booked 2 months ahead.
• Since the withdrawal of the US from the Iran Nuclear Deal, all the Iranian hotels have been removed from Booking.com. There were not that many offers before anyways, but now it is not even an option.
• As there is basically no online booking platform, you will have to rely on the good old way of contacting hotels one by one. A lot of places won’t even bother replying to your email (maybe it doesn’t get through to them, I am not sure), so the best solution is actually to call, try to get yourself understood, confirm your booking on the spot, and hope that your reservation is actually there when you check in! To be honest, the whole booking process was a big nightmare for me!
STAYING AT GHASR MONSHI BOUTIQUE HOTEL
After lengthy research and finding many hotels were already fully booked, I discovered the Ghasr Monshi Boutique Hotel in Esfahan. It was definitely the best I could find at that time, so I quickly booked a double room with them (back then they were on Booking.com). Even before arriving I had a good feeling about the place, as the manager Matt replied very quickly to all my demands!
Upon arriving I was very pleased to discover a gorgeous little hotel, owned and managed by 2 Iranian brothers. The Ghasr Monshi building is several hundred years old, and was acquired by their father a few decades ago but only opened as a hotel beginning of the year. The building went through extensive renovation, but all the key features of a traditional Iranian house were preserved, giving it lots of charm.
The rooms are simple but very comfortable with high ceiling, white walls, and some touches of turquoise in the decoration. The most beautiful part of the house is for sure the dining area, with original stained glass windows bringing a lovely light at anytime of the day. The food served at breakfast and dinner is a homemade selection of typical Iranian dishes, and the selection changes everyday. They even have vegetarian options.
Every evening the staff takes the time to explain you about the dishes giving a great insight into traditional Iranian cuisine.
The hotel is still going through some renovations and in the coming months, they should have finished the mirror room (a traditional feature of Iranian houses) and are in the process of setting up their rooftop which has a great view over the city! Wifi is also available throughout the house.
Location wise, 10 min walk from Naqsh-e Jahan Square, and 25 min walk from the Zayandeh River and its famous bridges, the Ghasr Monshi boutique hotel is really ideal if (like me) you like exploring on foot. We only took a cab once during our stay and it was to go to the Armenian quarter. The rest of the time we did all on foot.
Prices are good at 70 EUR / night for a single room, 90 EUR for a double room and 120 EUR for a triple room. You can book online directly on their website http://ghasrmonshihotel.com/en, and payment can only be made in cash (EUR/USD/IRR preferred).
Tips: some of the rooms don’t have windows (although I think they are trying to fix that somehow). Because the ceilings are high, the walls are white and the light is bright, it didn’t bother me much, but if that is a big no for you, you should clarify it ahead of your booking.
And since a picture is worth more than a thousand words, below are my photo review of Ghasr Monshi Boutique Hotel.