Hotels in Azerbaijan: strictly for families or couple-friendly?
The Covid-19 induced quarantine has changed the usually strict rules of Azerbaijani hotels.
Rooms in some of them are now offered for extremely low prices, although a lot of places refuse to give up on their ‘usual rules’, which in the past have precluded non-married couples.
No more tourists
Quarantine regulations and closed borders have had a huge impact on the tourist flow to Azerbaijan – the State Border Service says that in the first nine months of 2020, approximately 670,000 people from 135 countries came to Azerbaijan – 3.5 times less than the number estimated during the same period in 2019.
Moreover, most of these visitors arrived in Azerbaijan during the first months of 2020, when the quarantine measures were not too strict.
Hotels trying to survive
Due to the sharp decrease in the number of tourists visting the country, hotels have found themselves in a very difficult situation.
“There are no visitors, at all. During the first months of quarantine, I somehow managed to pay my employees, but then many had to be sent on unpaid leave. Still, I have to keep several employees in order to keep the hotel in decent condition.
I took out a loan in order to pay the salaries of the remaining employees and make mandatory payments but I won’t be able to keep doing that for much longer”, the owner of one of the hotels located in the very center of Baku told JAMnews.
20 manat per day
Realizing that tourists will not be arriving any time soon, some Baku hotels have switched their target market to local residents.
For example, the price for a standard room in a hotel located near the railway station in Baku is only 20 manat [$11.76] per day.
Advertising of such rooms is self-explanatory: the rooms are offered to couples in love who need a space for privacy. The video below is the ad of one such Baku hotel which has agreed to rent out its rooms in this manner.
Some traditions won’t give
There are some hotels in Azerbaijan, which, despite quarantine, do not intend to soften their rules for visitors. One of the employees of such a hotel says that by doing so, these facilities are trying to maintain their reputation as a “family-friendly vacation spot”.
“I called a restaurant in Shamakhi [located 120 kilometers from Baku] to reserve a table for lunch with a friend. The employee immediately asked: can you present your marriage certificate?
I said that we were not going to rent a room, we were only going to dine. I was told that a marriage certificate is necessary even if you are going to dine here, otherwise, they would refuse your reservation.
What does it mean? Can anyone explain to me?“, one Azerbaijani social media user asked.