A beautifully illustrated new book by Thomas Wegmann shines a spotlight on Iran's most stunning boutique hotels and their surrounds, capturing a side of the country many travellers don’t see
The Manouchehri House is a boutique hotel in a renovated 19th century residence in Kashan. The hotel was created to sustain the reestablishment of traditional forms of velvet, brocade and silk weaving, once practiced in almost every household in the city. All proceeds from the hotel business flow directly into training apprentices in the hotel’s own weaving workshop.
Haft Rangoo Guesthouse on Qeshm Island is a family-owned mud brick inn with hammocks suspended between palm tree trunks in an internal courtyard. Guests can visit Haraa forest nearby and go paddleboarding, wakeboarding and kayaking.
Qeshm Island is the largest island in the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, 2km from the mainland. The 1,500sq km island was designated a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2006 because of its special geological structure. Travellers can visit the Chahkouh Canyon, the jagged Stars Valley or the world’s longest salt cave, which is 6.6km long. Take to the waters to see dolphins, turtles, and coral reefs.
Originally constructed around 1880 for a merchant trader, Darb-E Shazdeh Boutique Hotel is next to the Seyed Zolfaghar Shrine in the historical centre of Shiraz, a few minutes’ walk from Vakil Bazaar. Its eight rooms overlook a central courtyard. Inside there are floral-relief decorated mirrors, hand-painted tiles and paintings on the ceiling, with works by emerging Iranian artists.
Maziar Aledavood renovated a 300-year-old mud-brick home in the desert village of Garmeh, transforming it into Ateshooni Guesthouse. The guesthouse is close to Garmeh oasis, a lush area at the foot of a mountain range. Every family in the village has its own plot to harvest grains and fresh produce among the date palms, pomegranate trees and low-rise clay walls. Maziar’s brother Payam Aledavood runs Boneh Café, an open-air café next to the oasis.
Maryam Samienia and Kave Mozafari transformed an old house into Lotka Ecolodge in Sarkhoshki, a village in the Caspian Hyrcanian Mixed Forests ecoregion. Every morning they collect eggs from the chicken coop and pick fresh produce from their small farm. Guests can feed the chickens, buy handicrafts made by rural women and join a silk farming workshop in the spring. Travellers keen to explore further afield can rent a bike and cycle to the Caspian Sea or go on a riverboat trip on a handmade timber boat guided by a Lotkachi (Lotka helmsman).
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