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All global booking and hotel reservation sites are inactive in Iran due to the US sanctions. This is why most tourists do not have enough information about the conditions of Iran hotels. In this article, we have tried to draw a real picture of the conditions of Iran hotels by answering the questions that tourists frequently asked us during our twenty years of experience in Iran tourism.
Hotel grading standards in Iran (All you need to know about Iran hotel standards and quality)
The rating standard of Iran hotels is determined by the Iran Ministry of Tourism in the form of stars. The parameters considered for this rating are as below:
- Area of the hotel (square meters)
It may sound strange but one of the criteria of grading hotels in Iran is the size of the building of hotel. So even if a small hotel offers a very good service, it cannot be 5 stars! On the other hand, this is somehow reasonable because additional facilities such as amphitheater hall, various restaurants, gym, swimming pool and spa require a lot of space
3, 4 and 5 star hotels have a restaurant and the traveler will be able to have all three meals at the hotel. Also, in 4 and 5 star hotels, it is possible to provide breakfast and food service inside the room.
All 3-star hotels and above in in Iran, offer accommodation with breakfast (BB Service). The variety and quality of breakfast in different hotels is proportional to their star and usually the high variety of breakfast in some hotels surprises travelers. Hot and cold breakfast and sometimes even local breakfast are provided in these hotels.
- European toilet and Iranian toilet service
According to the law of the Ministry of Tourism of Iran, all 3-star hotels and above should have private European toilet in each room, but to be sure, check this before booking your room.
- Air conditioning and heating
Energy resources are relatively cheap in Iran and cooling/heating devices are available in all hotels of Iran.
Iranian travelers pay great attention to the hygiene and cleanliness of their hotel rooms. For this reason, hotels generally pay serious attention to this matter. Checking the reviews of other travelers before choosing a hotel will help you to choose your hotel with peace of mind.
- Towels, slippers, shampoo and soap, toothbrush and toothpaste
In 3 hotels and above, bathroom and personal hygiene items are available at each room, and it will usually exceed your expectations. For example, in 4- and 5-star hotels and even some 3-star hotels, toothbrushes and toothpaste are provided for free in the room, which is rarely seen in European hotels.
In 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, there is a hair dryer in all hotel rooms. If there is no hair dryer, you can request it from the hotel reception
3, 4 and 5 star hotels have color TV with control. Iranian TV is received through internal signals and is not on satellite. 4 and 5 star hotels have access to several international channels, which usually include some famous news channels
In 4 and 5 star hotels, there is a Safety Box inside the rooms, but in some lower grade hotels, there is a safety box at the reception only.
-Size of Beds
In 1 to 3 star hotels, the minimum size of a single bed is 190 x 90 cm and for a double bed it is 190 x 140 cm. In 4- and 5-star hotels, the minimum size of a single bed is 200 x 120 cm, and for a double bed, it is 200 x 160 cm. 5-star hotels use boxes instead of beds.
In Iran, 4 and 5 star hotels have elevators even if they have two floors, but it is not mandatory for 3 star hotels that have less than 3 floors to have an elevator
-Reception and Night Guard
4 star and 5 star hotels have 24-hour reception service and your check-in and check-out will face no problems. But in hotels with a lower grade, if you need to enter and leave after midnight, you need to coordinate with the reception in advance.
- 24-hour Room Service
24-hour housekeeping is available in 5-star hotels, but in lower-grade hotels, this service is provided once a day
4 and 5 star hotels offer transfers with taxis at the expense of travelers.
Lower grade hotels that do not have a taxi service at the hotel but they usually work with a reliable transportation service company and can arrange city transfers for you.
Room service is provided in 4 and 5 star hotels
- Laundry and ironing facilities
In 4- and 5-star hotels, there is a laundry and you can use it, but in lower-grade hotels, it is sometimes possible to borrow an iron from the reception. Even in one or two star hotels, if you ask the reception for iron, they usually can provide it for you.
-Swimming Pool and Gym
In 4- and 5-star hotels, there are gyms inside the hotel or in the adjacent areas. Also, the indoor or outdoor pool will be available for guests in separate sessions for men and women. Please note that it is not possible for men and women to use the hotel pool at the same time. In 5-star hotels, saunas and Jacuzzis or individual massage rooms are also available. But according to our experience, you shouldn't count too much on these services in Iranian hotels. If these services are important to you, make sure about their availability before booking.
5-star hotels have conference rooms that are bookable by paying extra charges.
In 3, 4 and 5-star hotels, there are open or covered parking spaces for guests. If you have a car group tour, make sure about the capacity of hotel’s parking space before booking.
In 3, 4 and 3 star hotels, free Wi-Fi is available in the lobby and public area of hotel. Wi-Fi quality in 3 star hotels is not very satisfying though.
In general the internet speed is low in most Iran hotels. The best solution for tourists is to use SIM card internet, which has a much better quality.
-Tea maker and Tea bags
In 4 and 5 star hotels each room has a tea maker and some tea bags (one for each guest). You can use it without any extra fees?
If you stay in one of the Iran 5-star hotels, you will be able to access the currency exchange office in the hotel and exchange your money.
The difference between Iran hotels and European hotels:
If you ask tourists who visited Iran ten years ago about the quality of Iran's hotels, you will not get promising answers. The fact is that at that time, despite the same standards, the facilities of a 3-star hotel in Isfahan or Shiraz were much lower than a 3-star hotel in Milan or Zurich!
Sometimes, for a better comparison, tourists who traveled to Iran were told to consider the stars of Iranian hotels one star less compared to European standards! Maybe this method seemed exaggerated, but at the same time it was practical.
Fortunately, in recent years, with the increase in travel demand to Iran and the development of tourism infrastructures, the quality of Iranian hotels and their rating is equal to that of European hotels, and in some cases they are of higher quality?
However, there is a clear difference between 1 and 2-star hotels quality and 3-star and above hotels quality, so we do not recommend 1 and 2 star hotels based on our experience.
If you are traveling on a budget, 3-star hotels are suitable for you, and if you want normal standard quality, the least suitable hotel for you is 3- and 4-star hotels
Iran hotel prices in comparison to other Middle East countries
Hotel prices in Iran are very affordable compared to other countries in the Middle East. In some Iranian hotels, the room price for foreign tourists is higher than for Iranians, but even so, it will not be very expensive. For example, you can easily book a double room in a five-star hotel in Tehran for less than 50 dollarsWHAT??
The problem of online hotel booking in Iran and payment by credit cards
As mentioned, none of the Iran hotels can be booked on the well-known online hotel-booking systems. Due to sanctions forced by USA, these sites stopped providing their services inside Iran's borders, because they were afraid of being blacklisted by USA as a result of cooperation with hotels in Iran. To solve this problem, a number of Iranian tourism agencies, in cooperation with their international partners, started selling tours and hotels online. However, a large part of Iran's hotel reservations is based on trust. The traveler makes his reservation without paying money and after entering Iran, he completes his transaction by paying the agreed amount.
What are Iran 5 Star hotels?
The big cities of Iran have good 5-star hotels that meet the standards of tourists. The table below shows the list of 71 5-star hotels in Iran
No Hotel City
The difference between 4* and 5* hotels
Iran's 5-star hotels are located in touristic and big cities, and you can usually stay in 4-star and 3-star hotels in smaller cities.
The most important difference between 4 and 5 star hotels is the size of the hotel and its rooms. The minimum area of single rooms, excluding bathroom space, is 14 square meters in 5-star hotels and 13 square meters in 4-star hotels.
Also, the minimum area of double and twin rooms is 17 square meters in 5-star hotels and 16 square meters in 4-star hotels, regardless of the bathroom space. Triple rooms in 5-star hotels have an area of 20 square meters and 19 square meters in 4-star hotels, excluding the bathroom space.
Iran 1 star and 2 star hotels
In Iran, 1-star hotels are known as inns and guest houses. The rooms have shared toilets and bathrooms, and you cannot expect standard cleanliness and quality.
According to the law, all rooms in two-star hotels must have a toilet and bathroom in the room, but in some hotels, there is a possibility that the authorities did not pay serious attention to this issue and you will come across a room that does not have a private toilet!
Iran Airport Hotels
The 5-star Novotel hotel and the 4-star Ibis hotel (as part of the French Accor hotel chain) started operating in Iran in 2015. These hotels are the most famous airport hotels in Iran right next to Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran. These two hotels changed their names to 4-star Remis Hotel and 5-star Rexan Hotel from 2021 as a result of change in management.
The rooms are bookable per hour (5-10 hours) or for a whole night with breakfast. The hotel has 492 rooms and is located only 5 minutes away from the Tehran Imam Khomeini airport.
Accessible rooms for the disabled, gym, sauna, Jacuzzi and massage rooms and everything you are looking for in a 5-star hotel can be found in this complex.
Three beautiful restaurants with a variety of Iranian and international dishes are waiting for you in this hotel. Transfers from Ramis and Rexan hotels to the airport are free of charge and are available every 20 minutes.
Iran Boutique Hotels
In recent years, many boutique hotels have started working in Iran and they became the favorite hotels among travelers. In cities like Shiraz, Yazd, Isfahan, Kashan and Tehran, you can find very good examples of boutique hotels and have an unforgettable stay in them.
Of course, note that the cost of this type of accommodation is equivalent to 4 and 5 star hotels and sometimes even more! You may pay more but you will experience the unique atmosphere of an Iranian house and Iranian hospitality in boutique hotels.
What Is the best time to book hotels in Iran?
In Iran, like in other parts of the world, the best time to book cheap hotels is in low season or shoulder season. Due to the fact that the months of March, April, September and October are the busiest time for tourists in Iran, there are no usual discounts. But in other months, you will have a chance to find cheap hotels.
Iran Budget Hotels
If your trip is a budget trip and you are trying to minimize your expenses, you should go for 3-star hotels or hostels. In general, the cost of living in Iran is not so high that it makes your economic trip impossible.
Please note that 3-star hotels and even some boutique hotels that have two or three floors do not have elevators.
Abbasi hotel in Isfahan, the oldest Iran hotel
Caravanserais were the first guest houses on the Silk Road and in Iran that accommodated caravans and provided them with security and comfort.
One of the oldest hotels in Iran is located in the heart of Isfahan city, which was built 320 years ago as a caravanserai. The caravanserai building was converted into a hotel about 65 years ago and very beautiful decorations of Iranian art and architecture were added to it. Abbasi Hotel Isfahan is not only a hotel but also a beautiful museum where you can stay and enjoy Iranian art and hospitality.
Espinas Palace, the biggest Iran hotel
The 5-star Espinas Palace Hotel was built in a luxury neighborhood in the northern heights of Tehran, and you can see the whole city from the upper floors of this hotel. Espinas Palace is the largest hotel in Iran with 500 rooms and 1500 beds on 28 floors and has all the facilities of a 5-star luxury hotel.
Toranj hotel in Kish, an overwater hotel
Toranj Kish Hotel reminds you of the overwater hotels in Maldives. The hotel has 100 suites with glass floors that allow you to watch life in the deep sea during all moments of your stay. If you want to experience staying in this hotel on the water, you should definitely think about making a reservation long in advance.
Iran hotel reservation and cancellation rules
You can book a hotel in Iran through one of the Iranian travel agencies, or if you have an Iranian bank card, you can buy online yourself. Since the second option is not possible very easily, we have provided you with the possibility of online hotel reservation. First, choose one from the list of hotels in different cities of Iran and then select the desired room on the desired date.
Hotel reservations in Iran are made only with advance payment and cancellation rules are different for each hotel. It is usually non-refundable in Nowruz and summer, i.e. March and July to September, and negotiable in other months, but cancellationwill result in at least one night no show fine. We suggest that you check the cancellation policy with the hotel and the agency you are booking from before reserving the room.
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