Four Seasons made its Baku debut in September 2013, further boosting the Azerbaijan capital’s rapidly developing hotel scene – other new properties include the Fairmont, which opened in June last year in one of the three Flame Towers, and the JW Marriott Absheron, open since 2012.
What’s it Like?
The 171-room property (142 rooms and 29 suites) is housed in a palatial new-build Beaux Arts-style building with elegantly expensive interiors. The airy marble lobby features a beautiful floral centrepiece. There are ten floors, the upper ones offering sweeping views of the Caspian Sea, while rooms at the back face the old city. As one would expect from Four Seasons, staff are highly-trained and hard working, always smiling and welcoming of guests whenever they are passing through.
Where is it?
In a prime position on the corner of Neftchilar Avenue, which is lined with designer boutiques and runs alongside the attractive waterfront promenade. It is 30 minutes’ drive from the airport, five minutes from the Crystal Hall convention centre (built for the 2012 Eurovision contest) and a few minutes’ walk from the old town.
Entry-level Deluxe City View rooms start from 48 square metres and offer everything a traveller could need – from large workdesks, 42-inch LCD TVs, mini-bars, iPod docks and safes, to sumptuous beds, walk-in wardrobes and marble bathrooms with L’Occitane products, walk-in rainshowers, TVs embedded in mirrors, separate tubs and twin sinks. Décor is delicately modern, with a palette of blue, cream, white and taupe. Fresh flowers and fruit are left in the rooms. Wired/Wi-Fi Internet is 20AZN ($25) per 24 hours, and iron/ironing boards are available on request. My seventh-floor Deluxe Caspian room (50-52 square metres) had a small balcony offering panoramic views of the coastline. Suites start from 75 square metres and have free Internet. There is no executive lounge.
Restaurants & Bars
The hotel has two restaurants – Zafferano, off the lobby, and Kaspia, on the top floor, which serves seafood and has a terrace for 24 people. The latter was closed for a light renovation when I visited, but was scheduled to re-open. I had breakfast in Zafferano, where an extensive buffet was laid out (there was even a traditional Azeri offering of local cheese, fresh tendir bread, baby cucumbers and tomatoes), and also lunch and dinner out on its 38-seat Piazza terrace. On summer evenings a DJ plays and you can enjoy views of the magnificent new trio of Flame Towers lit up in thousands of LED lights. The mezze selection, barbecued kebabs, giant prawns and smoky vegetables were excellent, though I found service a little slow at times. The Mediterranean menu included pizza, pasta and fish. Also on the ground floor is Bentley’s whisky and cigar bar, a cosy, masculine den with regular live music and a walk-in humidor with dozens of different cigars.
Business& Meeting Facilities
On the first floor is the grand Segah ballroom, which seats 330 people cabaret-style, and the Rast banquet room, which accommodates 390 for a reception. There are also four break-out spaces, a business centre and five smart meeting rooms. Kaspia offers private dining for 16 guests.
There is a 25-metre pool (complete with glass roof and vitality pool) on the seventh floor, and a sleek Technogym-equipped fitness centre on the third. Both are open 24 hours a day. On the ninth level is the tranquil Jaleh spa, which has ten treatment rooms, a marble hammam (a traditional Moroccan steam room), steam rooms, saunas, spa baths, heated loungers facing the sea, and a relaxation room. I had a wonderful Jaleh signature Moroccan Argan oil massage, and was impressed with the therapist’s attention to detail.
A superb new luxury business hotel for Baku, combining an enviable location with top-class facilities. The staff were also very charming.