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Syria’s Independent Hotels

As Syria is slowly but steadily becoming a popular tourist destination the country’s independent hoteliers are offering ground-breaking bargains:

Hama’s Riad Hotel, Sharia al-Quwatli, Hama [by the clock tower]; Tel. 011-963-33-239512, fax 011-963-33-517776, $5 to $8 with breakfast. Abdullah, a tall, bearded man who speaks excellent English, welcomes his guests with a sincere friendliness and joviality. The rooms are are comfortable and pleasing to the eye. In its bright, comfortable lounge area, where BBC cable, travel books, maps, and tea are available, breakfast is served on white table cloths and sparkling plates.

Waterwheel in Hama, Syria
A noria, or waterwheel, in Hama Syria

The same is true of the Cairo Hotel (Sharia al-Quwatli, Hama; Tel. 011-963-33-222280, fax 011-963-33-511715, $6 to $10 with breakfast). Both hotels provide a relaxing atmosphere.

At the Hotel Daniel in Tartus, two blocks from the Mediterranean coast (Sharia al-Wahda, Tartus; Tel. 011-963-43-312757, fax 011-963-43-316555, $5 to $10 with coffee and tea), Elli, a young man around 30 (who also speaks excellent English and French), runs the place with unusual enthusiasm. The rooms are not as modern as the Riad’s but they are just as clean and comfortable. The lounge room is homey. During the summer months Elli organizes boating and swimming expeditions. He wants his guests to enjoy themselves.

At Palmyra, at the New Afqa Hotel (Tadmor, Palmyra; Tel. 011-963-31-910386, $6 to $12 with tea, coffee, beer, and breakfast), the rooms are strictly utilitarian but meticulously clean. After a day’s tour through the sites guests from all over the world gather in the lounge to watch CNN and chat. Maher, the manager, frequently adds his sardonic wit to the conversations as he brings tea and beer and advice.

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