Dawood Hotel: The Best Hotel in Sanaa, Yemen

Dawood Hotel: The Best Hotel in Sanaa, Yemen

By |2016-07-21T23:46:35-04:00May 10th, 2013|Yemen|41 Comments

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (lobby)

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.

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (front)

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.

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (room)

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (room 2)

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (bridal room)

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (room 3)

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (roof view 3)

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.

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (reception)

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.

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (terrace)

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (mufrage)

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (shisha)

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (roof view 2)

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (night view from roof)

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.)

Dawood Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen (entrance)

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 – [email protected] / [email protected]

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?

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  1. Paul.Ni May 19, 2014 at 5:04 am - Reply

    Thank for your kind reply.

  2. Paul.Ni May 15, 2014 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Dear Earl,
    Do they have Internet and electrical supply in this hotel?
    That’s what we really want in a business trip.

    • Wandering Earl May 16, 2014 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      Hey Paul – Yes, they do have electricity and internet, however, like everywhere in Sanaa, I wouldn’t say that it is too reliable, at least not the internet.

  3. Kaustav May 15, 2014 at 2:17 am - Reply

    Hey! I am considering staying at Dawood Hotel.
    Can Anyone who visited recently tell me what’s the rate per night now?
    and is Sana’a safe to travel now? I will be on business purpose for 5 days!


  4. Mark Storm May 10, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Hi Earl,
    I stumbled upon your blog and this post. I stayed in Dawood twice some 20 years ago. What a great place it was and apparently still is for discovering the old city of Sana’a and its beautiful people. Listening to the muezzin from that small rooftop terrace was a wonderful experience all in itself. Thanks for bringing these great memories back. (Got a sudden urge to chew khat…).
    Cheers, Mark

    • Wandering Earl May 10, 2014 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      Hey Mark – That’s cool that you stayed there 20 years ago and it really is as ideal of a hotel as it gets in that city. I could definitely do without the khat though!

  5. Susmit January 22, 2014 at 12:38 am - Reply

    Hi Earl,
    Thanks for your inputs which I have carefully gone through.
    I am flying to Sana’a on 25.01.2014 and will stay there for 5days. It’s a business tour. So, with your reviews for Dawood Hotel I would like to clarify the following points from you:
    1) Whether there is a facility of meeting rooms if a client visit me in Dawood Hotel?
    2) How far Sana’a International airport is located from Dawood Hotel?
    3) How is the food quality if I have to order for my local client?
    4) How safe is that periphery if I stay in Dawood Hotel for 4nights?

    Hope to have your reply as soon as possible.

    Thanks and regards,

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:51 am - Reply

      Hey Susmit – The Dawood does not have a meeting room but they do have a comfortable room at the top with floor pillows and sofas and they also have a nice area in the back, under a large tent. It is about 20 minutes ride from the Sanaa airport, the food is quite good at the hotel and it is in the heart of the Old City, which is much safer than many other areas in the city.

  6. ranger October 26, 2013 at 4:52 am - Reply


    cheers for your insight,
    have been all over the www for a proper realization other than western media’s view.
    keep the posts coming.

  7. Rush Murad July 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl,

    I’m going to Sanaa next month for the first time. I read a lot about Felix Arabia hotel and some on Dawood. I cant decide which hotel i will stay but after reading your blog and seeing those photos, then I know where i will end-up in Sanaa – Dawood hotel!
    Thanks for this entry on Dawood hotel.

    All the best!

    • Wandering Earl July 4, 2013 at 5:39 am - Reply

      Hey Rush – You won’t be disappointed. Tell them Earl says hello!

  8. Michele May 26, 2013 at 2:43 am - Reply

    So wonderful to see this review of Dawood Hotel. We stayed at Dawood Hotel a few years back & initially planned to stay 3 nights but finallt dragged ourselves away after 10 nights.

    The hotel is exquisite, the staff fabulous & the food divine. Old Sana’a itself just stunning. It is like stepping into a fairy tale but one you never want to finish! I’ll admit I actually cried when it was time to leave Yemen. We’ve travelled in over 40 countries & Yemen sits comfortably in top position in our list of favorite countries (followed closely by Iran & India).

    It’s very sad to see hotels & other tourism operators struggling to keep businesses afloat but unfortunately negative media reports continues to keep tourists away. We never felt unsafe once in Yemen & travelled independently to the Haraz Mountains (hired a local driver) and visited the incredible mud brick city of Shibam – mind blowing!

    I would encourage people to travel in this most beautiful country, take the necessary precautions you usually would when traveling abroad & remember Yemen is a traditional Islamic country so men & women should dress modestly.

    Thanks Earl for the trip down memory lane & damn I have to find a way to travel full time!


    • Wandering Earl May 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      Hey Michele – I can certainly believe your experience at the Dawood based on my own…great to hear someone else who stayed there chime in!

  9. Rashelle May 20, 2013 at 12:24 am - Reply

    I love the interior of this hotel, I’d definitely hang out here for a couple days chilling out like a princess, smoking shisha and reading a book, getting in some ME time. It looks and sounds wonderful.

    Hopefully there’ll be less vacancies in the very near future!

  10. Adam - Tropical Nomad May 17, 2013 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Derek,
    Yemen looks so ancient and rustic, but also decedent and elegant. I love the middle eastern architecture and the houses upon the cliffs in the picture. Truly a place off the well worn backpacker track and a world away from the familiar… Looks like a great trip!

  11. Sara May 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    I love how they put so much of their culture into the hotel! The exterior of the old Yemen buildings are gorgeous. And the interior of the rooms are simply stunning. I hope I can visit there one day. I would be sure to stay there! I don’t understand why they don’t have more guests.

  12. […] again, I didn’t wander into the areas of Sana’a where the staff at our trusty hotel suggested we didn’t wander. I didn’t try to sneak into regions of the countryside where […]

  13. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures May 12, 2013 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    It’s so colorful and lovely!

  14. Stephanie May 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Wow, I love it! It looks so exotic. It would be interesting to see if a woman could travel to Yemen just as easily.

    • Wandering Earl May 13, 2013 at 6:40 am - Reply

      Hey Stephanie – Yes, a woman could definitely travel here quite easily and I’ll write more about that in the post I’ll put on the site later today!

  15. Missy H May 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    I think in December, I hope that’s a good month to visit Yemen, I will visit the country, thanks to you. Eternal Yemen will take me around. Please post all of your adventures so I know what to expect. I will def organize my initial stay at Dawood Hotel, which looks amazing! Thank you so much for letting us in on this gem of a country. Without bloggers like you we remain in the dark.

    • Wandering Earl May 13, 2013 at 6:37 am - Reply

      Hey Missy – More posts to come!

  16. Gaelyn May 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Love the look. And although not budget much cheaper than in the US.

  17. Bama May 10, 2013 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Apart from the exquisite interior of the room, I think the Arabic culture of making guests feel special also helps. Will definitely check this place should I go to Yemen one day.

    • Wandering Earl May 13, 2013 at 6:36 am - Reply

      Hey Bama – Agreed! The service was a huge part of the experience here.

  18. Jade May 10, 2013 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Wow. What an incredible find!
    Two posts in and I already want to book a flight to Yemen now!
    This hotel looks amazing, and those views… The old city is like something from a fairy tale, or Aladdin.
    Can’t wait to here more

  19. Jennifer May 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    It does seem more expensive than I thought Yemen would be, however the hotel does look nice with authentically decorated rooms and great views.

    • Wandering Earl May 13, 2013 at 6:35 am - Reply

      Hey Jennifer – The problem in the capital city is that there are almost no tourists and so the cost of keeping a hotel open is getting higher and higher. There are still bills to pay even if nobody is in the rooms. So the prices here are more expensive as a result in order to compensate. But like I said, if there’s a place that’s worth some extra money, this one is it!

  20. Joao Leitao TRAVEL May 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    I love this tip on hotel in Sanaa, I dream on going there. getting closer and closer. This is the type of place I would definitely stay for a couple of days. Thanks for the inspiration of wanting to visit Yemen even more now. Greetings from MOROCCO!

  21. Chelsea May 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Wow!! The rooms are absolutely gorgeous! If I ever make it to Yemen, I will definitely stay at the Dawood Hotel 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Earl!

  22. Diana M May 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Great review on the place! I’ve been looking for reviews on Yemen for a hopeful trip in the future. Seems like a great hotel to stop over in. How’s the environment out there these days?

  23. Steve C May 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    This place is definitely my kinda place. I’m always looking for these older hotels with lots of traditional character. Even though the price is a little higher, it is in the capital city, right in the middle of everything and can easily be averaged out with other stays in smaller towns in the country.

    You’re a gold mine of information Earl! After a year of scanning the travel bloggers online, you are still the best site for many reasons. I never would have thought of traveling to Yemen.

    • Wandering Earl May 13, 2013 at 6:33 am - Reply

      Hey Steve – I appreciate that comment very much! And yes, the higher price is a no-brainer in this situation, especially when you can keep costs much lower once out of the capital.

  24. Matthew Cheyne May 10, 2013 at 11:44 am - Reply

    These rooms look stunning Earl. I’m finding it hard to reconcile the beauty of Yemen with all the nastiness that is portrayed about it in the Western media. The more I read your accounts, the more I want to go to Yemen. The architecture is beautiful, the rooms are beautiful and the people are beautiful by all accounts as well.

    • Wandering Earl May 13, 2013 at 6:33 am - Reply

      Hey Matthew – Believe me, it was hard for us to deal with the contrasts between the image of the country and the travel experiences we had. Will be writing about safety in the country later today.

  25. Sam May 10, 2013 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Sounds great! I’ve added it to my list of recommendations for when I eventually make it to Yemen.

  26. Mel May 10, 2013 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Love it – that’s just the kind of hotel I am thrilled to find. You make Yemen sound very interesting too!

  27. Melanie Murrish May 10, 2013 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Absolutely gorgeous. Don’t go apologising for raving about somewhere you love; credit where credit is due, and anyone who reads this blog will know you’re genuine. Looking forward to the next edition!

  28. Wong Kae Chee May 10, 2013 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Any problem travelling alone for woman?

    • Wandering Earl May 13, 2013 at 6:26 am - Reply

      Hey Wong – It’s actually quite safe for women and I’ll be talking about that in my post that I put on the site later today.

  29. Maria May 10, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Those rooms (each designed in the traditional style of a different region of the country) and that view… the hotel is now a destination in its own right (in my mind)!

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