Despite its slow development in the field of tourism which is caused primarily by the political and security situation in the country, there are hotels and hostels available for the visitors of the country. The best hotels can be found in the country’s capital, Kabul, where they are frequently used by foreign diplomats or even the whole diplomatic missions, journalists and politicians. Some of them have become targets of insurgents’ attacks in the past. Currently, a hotel chain Hyatt is in the process of building a hotel with its brand name in Kabul.
Outside of Kabul, there are only a handful of hotels which would be comparable to western standards.
KABUL INTER-CONTINENTAL HOTEL
Inter-Continental hotel of Kabul was established in the time of reign of Afghani king Zahir Shah in 1969. It is situated on the top of a hill with breath taking views of Kabul and Hindu Kush mountain range. At the beginning, it was part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, but since the Soviet invasion in 1979 it has only retained the name. The hotel survived Soviet invasion and was used by military officers. When the US troops arrived in Afghanistan in 2001, it was the only hotel functioning in Kabul. The structure of the hotel had been damaged by bullets and rockets before the reconstruction started in 2004.
Further renovation followed the 2011 attack on the hotel by suicide bombers who detonated their suicide vests at two different floors of the hotel. The hotel remained under siege for five night hours, during which twenty-one people died, including all the perpetrators and twelve hotel guests.
Today, the hotel has 200 rooms equipped with air-condition as well as heating, private bathroom and other amenities such as satellite television, mini bar and Wi-Fi internet connection. There is a gym and swimming pool as well as a tennis court available to the visitors. The price of the double room starts from 1000 AFS, and it includes a free breakfast. Likewise, there are four restaurants offering a la carte menu. Pick-ups from the airport as well as drop-offs can be arranged through the reception of the hotel.
SAFI LANDMARK HOTEL & SUITES
This four-star hotel is located near governmental offices, ministries and embassies in the down town area of Kabul. The hotel was built in 2005 and belongs to the most popular on the scene. There is a modern shopping centre called Kabul City Centre attached to the hotel.
The hotel boasts of ninety luxuriously furnished rooms with additional forty suites. The rooms are equipped with Wi-Fi internet connection, satellite television, air-condition as well as heating facility. Suites are equipped with kitchenette which has a microwave, washing machine, fridge and oven.
There are two ballrooms in the hotel as well as several restaurants with a la carte menus, a fitness centre and a business centre with high speed internet connection, computers and a meeting room. The hotel is located about 15 minutes from the Kabul International Airport. It offers airport transfers.
KABUL SERENA HOTEL
Situated in beautifully landscaped gardens, this luxurious hotel is right in the heart of Kabul. It is within easy reach of major governmental and diplomatic offices. The hotel was built in 1945, thus can be considered the oldest in the city. It has been recently renovated and refurbished in the style of Islamic architecture. Serena Hotel reopened in 2005 and it has since served foreign media, politicians as well as the Australian embassy.
Serena Hotel offers 177 rooms and suites, all equipped with satellite television and Wi-Fi access. Just as the communal space, rooms are also decorated in traditional Afghani style and their facilities include a safe, mini bar, hair dryer, tea and coffee-making facility as well as air-conditioning system. Most of the rooms are non-smoking. The most beautiful is undoubtedly the Presidential Suite which includes en-suite bathroom with Jacuzzi, private dining room and elegant sitting room.
The hotel is frequently used for hosting international conferences, weddings and large-scale gatherings. A beauty salon, gym, spa and fitness club are among the hotel facilities. Serena Hotel has suffered two attacks by Taliban-affiliate insurgents, in 2008 and in 2014.
NAZARY HOTEL HERAT
This four-star hotel is the best in the hotel scene of Herat. It is located on the Walayat street in the centre of the Herat. It has 60 rooms, both single and suites. Each room has an en-suite bathroom, refrigerator and minibar, telephone and television with satellite connection. Wi-Fi internet is also at clients’ disposal in every room. The hotel boasts of strong security systems and guards both outside and inside the hotel.
There is an internet café, as well as laundry service and room service at customers’ disposal. Nazary hotel provides tour guides in English language to take the visitors around the city.
ROYAL AFGHAN HOTEL KANDAHAR
Visitors travelling to Kandahar can be accommodated in this hotel of 129 rooms and suites, located in the heart of the city. The rooms are equipped with air-condition, free Wi-Fi service, mini-fridge, TV and a coffeemaker. In the hotel, there is a fitness centre, sauna bath, swimming pool and spa. Up to 2500 guests can use the conference halls used for banquets, weddings and seminars. The hotel boasts of four stars and offers full board through a la carte menus in its restaurant.
BARAN IMPERATORY HOTEL MAZARI SHARIF
The best accommodation option when visiting Mazari Sharif is the Baran Imperatory Hotel. The hotel is situated in the centre of the city, within walking distance from the Shrine of Ali. It has 60 single rooms and 4 suites. Heating as well as cooling is installed in each of the rooms and so are the telephones, flat screen televisions, mini bars and hair dryers. Every room has an en-suite bathroom, coffee and tea maker and internet access. Complementary newspaper is delivered to each guest. Laundry service and 24 hour rooms service are among other offers of this hotel. Baran Imperatory Hotel is a great venue for conferences and congresses which are held in its full equipped conference spaces.