I’m going to make this easy.
When you visit Sana’a, the capital city of Yemen, do yourself a favor and stay at the Dawood Hotel. Now I understand that might sound like an oversimplification and it might even entice you to examine the other accommodation options that exist in this city, but believe me when I tell you that, assuming you’re not looking for 5-star accommodation, this is the best hotel in Sanaa. It’s the place to stay. It’s not just a hotel, it’s a Yemeni travel experience all in itself.
And I only need about two minutes and a few photographs to prove it to you.
Everything You Need To Know About The Dawood Hotel
Location: In the heart of the Old City of Sana’a, which, as a traveler, is exactly where you want to be. You’re less than five minutes walk from the markets, main gate, restaurants and other attractions in the Old City and the area around the hotel is quiet, friendly and full of activity.
Rooms: There are over 20 rooms at the Dawood, and each room is designed in the traditional style of a different region of the country. Some rooms are full of color, others are huge, some have sitting rooms and balconies…and they all have infinite character and an interior that makes you feel as if you are truly staying in a special place. The beds are comfortable, the bathrooms clean, the views of the Old City from the windows extraordinary and the overall ambience will entice you to spend your entire trip inside your room.
Service: Welcoming and friendly, what more do you need? From the moment we walked through the gate, which happened at 3:00am on our first day in Yemen, we were met with smiling faces and an unbelievably hospitable team of hotel staff. From the dedicated Reservations Manager Mr. Mogalli to the super-helpful Ibrahim, every single person working here was clearly keen on making this hotel the best in Sana’a. At one point I briefly met the General Manager as well and you know how you can just tell when you are in the presence of a genuinely kind and generous person? That’s exactly how I felt about Mr. Abdul Rahmed during our conversation, making me feel even better about staying here.
Atmosphere: The building itself is 7 stories tall and is several hundred years old, built in traditional Yemeni style. It was actually the family home of the hotel’s owner, who decided to turn it into a hotel back in 2004 and to maintain the building’s character in the process. The outside of the building is simply beautiful and I’ve already mentioned the atmosphere inside of the guest rooms. Now it’s time to mention the comfortable rooftop, with views over the entire city of Sana’a (incredible at night!), the large open ground-floor terrace and adjoining tent, where you can eat from the hotel’s restaurant menu, sip tea or just relax and the mufrage rooms designed for chewing qat or smoking shisha, also with similarly ideal views from every angle. It’s a fascinating world inside this hotel, almost as if you are stepping back in time, and once the experience begins, you won’t want to return to present day life.
Price: Single rooms start at about $35 USD per night and double rooms range from $45 up to $65. And while that might seem a little pricey for a budget establishment or for the budget of a budget traveler, keep in mind that good accommodation in the capital is more expensive than elsewhere in the country. Once you leave Sana’a and explore the rest of Yemen you can find good hotels (some of which I’ll be mentioning in an upcoming post) for around $12 – $20 USD per night. Paying a little more in Sana’s to stay at such a unique, welcoming, safe and centrally located hotel is well worth it in my opinion.
Okay, I’m going to stop here. After re-reading this post, I know that it sounds as if I own the hotel and I’m desperately trying to attract more customers. But that’s not the case at all. I was simply a guest at the Dawood Hotel, which I first heard about after a lengthy online search, and I truly did find my experience to be far beyond what I ever imagined.
(Rarely do I talk about hotels or hostels on this site simply because few ever really stand out so much that I feel the need to recommend them. The Dawood Hotel, however, is one of those rare cases that deserves to be mentioned. I ended up spending four nights here and the highest number of guests they had during that time was six. Thinking about that just leaves me shaking my head. This place should be full of travelers every single night and I really do hope this post encourages more people to stay here.)
How To Book A Room At The Dawood Hotel in Sanaa…
Website: Their website (dawoodhotel.com) is not really functioning so well, so the best way to get in touch with them is via email.
Email: Just send a message to both of these email addresses and a member of the staff will respond quickly – firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Phone: You could also reach the hotel by phone at 967-1-287270/292337
If you’re planning your entire Yemen trip through a local tour operator (using a tour operator is recommended for reasons I’ll talk about in the next post) such as the very reliable company I used, Eternal Yemen, you can also request that they book your accommodation in Sana’a at the Dawood.
Does this sound like your kind of hotel? Would you stay here?