Syria maybe in turmoil today, but I was lucky enough to visit Syria just a week before the Arab Spring started, in March 2011.
I was really amazed on how much history the city and the country had to offer the visitor. In fact, to me Damascus was like a museum, the whole city full of artefacts, its history maybe as long as human civilisation. One of the examples was our hotel where we stayed for two nights.
The Orient Palace Hotel is located only a few hundred meters from the Old City of Damascus, on a big square. The hotel itself was not in a very good condition. As per our travel operator, this hotel was an acceptable hotel, and they charged us £90 a night. Well, minus booking and administration cost, we assumed the we should have paid to the hotel £70,- direct to the hotel.
Guess what, this is what it really looks like:
This is what lonely planet wrote in their 2004 edition:
“Located on a busy area across Hejaz train station, the Orient has been around since 1929’s (almost 100 years ago), and depending on the level of enthusiasm, it either has plenty of period charm or resembles a gloomy 19th century medical institution. Rooms are a bit fusty, but they are clean and most have balconies”.
Yes, I agree it was a bit fusty and old, and could do with a bit of renovation. Yes centrally located, but what I can’t accept is that I have to pay so much for such badly deteriorated facilities, as according to Lonely Planet, it’s categorised as a Mid Range Hotel.