Enjoy food and drink in The Lounge, The Restaurant and The Café.
Sat TV and internet access. Centrally located.
Financial Times: “To
stay in the thick of things, Mustafa Hotel is near the shopping areas of Chicken Street
and Flower Street.
It also has an online cafe.”
Newsweek: “… the hot hotels (the Mustafa…”
Most international organisations working in Kabul have their own
guesthouses for their employees. Others are put up in the numerous
guesthouses in town. These are all private houses converted into Bed and
Breakfasts of varying standards and services. If you’re arriving for the
first time without any accommodation arranged you’re probably better off
heading straight to the Mustafa Hotel. The taxi driver at the airport will know
where it is, there’s a good vibe there, lots of journalists and other
foreigners and Wais, the owner, is a real Mr Fix It and can get a translator,
driver and car set up for you. It’s also right in the centre of town and just
a short walk from Chicken and Flower streets where you can buy all your
souvenirs and supplies (including bottled water).
IntercontinentalHotel (200 rooms, standard, executive and suites) On the
outskirts of the city heading into West Kabul;
sat phone: +873 761 469690 or local tel: 020 2201320.
Probably the best known Hotel in Kabul, this is the place for all the international
conferences, and a temporary home to many journalists, diplomats and Afghan
government ministers (many of them chose to live here when they returned to Kabul after the fall of
the Taliban). One drawback is that it’s on the outskirts of town heading into
the destroyed part of West Kabul so you’ll have to face a lot of long Kabul traffic jams if
you base yourself here. It was opened in September 1969 and built by a
British company. Returning Afghans from the 1970s remember coming up here for
burgers and chips as a special treat as children. The hotel is being restored
to its former glory. In the newly refurbished Bamyian room
there’s a delicious buffet brunch served up on Fridays, 11.30-15.00 at US$10.
Telephone 020 2201321 for reservations. There’s also a
swimming pool, tennis court and ping-pong, sauna, barber and other shops and
an Ariana Airlines office. There’s a new fitness centre at the
Intercontinental Hotel. Monthly membership is US$80, members receive an ID
card and the centre is open from 06.00-21.00 daily. The Men's Section has a
barbell bicep bench, combination weight bench, stair stepper, combination lat
press and the ladies section has an exercise bike, tread mill and two
exercise mats. There are separate shower and changing facilities. Currently
the swimming pool is only open to men. The hotel is ideal
for conferences and has hosted numerous events since the fall of the Taliban.
The ballroom seats 400 for dinner, or 600 for a conference. Check your email
at the AWCC Internet Café in the basement with its
high-speed connection, printing and scanning facilities. Open daily for US$5 an hour
and US$3 for half an hour. It will cost you US$1 to print an A4 page.
Rates: The fifth floor is totally completed
and construction on the fourth floor has begun. The rates for these two
floors are $130.00 per night plus 5% government tax. The second and third
floor rates are $80.00 per night plus 5% gov. Tax. The first floor rates are
$95.00 per night plus 5% gov. Tax.
For first-time visitors to Kabul
the Mustafa is the place to head for. The hotel is popular with journalists.
Kebab night is on Thursdays on the roof terrace. The refurbished restaurant
serves good pizzas and there’s a pool table, darts, DVD room and basketball
court. The Mustafa Hotel Café serves good fruit juices and sandwiches and the
Internet Café allows you to connect your own laptop as well as surf on the
ten desktops. The Lounge upstairs on the first floor serves draught beers and
is open every night from
Star Satellite TV is also available. The
hotel manager is Wais Faizi who featured in the July 2002 Newsweek
article The Exiles Return. Wais also features in Christina Lamb’s The
Sewing Circles of Herat: ‘We quickly nicknamed Wais “the Fonz of Kabul”
for his New Jersey
accent and fast-talking “tell me whaddya want, Wais can geddit” manner. A
short but powerful-shouldered man of 31 with a jutting chin and passion for
Al Pacino movies, he was a former body-building champion and knew everyone in
town.’ Check out The Survival Guide to Kabul promo on the staircase as
you enter the Mustafa Hotel and on the outside walls and the
painted Al Pacino movie posters around the hotel.
Kabul (73 rooms) Pashtunistan Square next
to the Ariana Airlines office.
This 50-year-old, large Soviet-style hotel has been under
renovation since late 2002 when the Aga Khan bought the property. Before then
this once cosmopolitan, jet-set hangout was in a terrible state. Years of
neglect gave it a shabby external air, but following the Aga Khan's visit to
Kabul in mid-November 2002, the word is that the place is about to undergo a
dramatic and much-needed transformation, perhaps resulting in a hotel similar
to the Aga Khan’s luxury Serena Hotel in Islamabad.
Rates: The US$40--80 a night charged at the old
Hotel Kabul will no doubt increase.
Kabul International (14 rooms) Just
before the Marco Polo Restaurant and Chicken and Flower Streets: tel: 020
2201124; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Billed as ‘your own cosy place to stay’. The
hotel has some well-appointed rooms with TVs, fridges, AC and intercom
system. Kabul International is also a restaurant with Indian chefs. There are
two toilets and showers per floor.
Rates: US$50–80 a night including breakfast.
Park Residence (55 rooms) On
Shahre Naw Park next to the old Czechoslovakian Embassy; tel: 070 28 0576.
All the rooms have en-suite showers, fridge and TV. There’s a
parking area and a large garden, which in the summer of 2002 the manager said
was ideal for ‘live music’. The manager is Naqib.
Rates: US$30–75 a night.
Hotel Spinzar (36 rooms) Next to
the Ministry of Information and Culture, Asma-yee Wat; tel: 070 27 4983.
This is a large five-floor
hotel in the centre of town. The1970s’ concrete building has seen better
days. There is still a flavour of a more cosmopolitan past with a main hall
and a terrace. However, the building is now dated and tatty and rooms are
rudimentary and bland. Windows were blown out during the bomb explosion on September 5 2002 (which
killed 30 people) outside the hotel by the Ministry of Information and
Culture. The restaurant serves only Afghan food but, when large parties don’t
overwhelm it, it can be good.
Rates: Nationals pay US$5
for a single room and US$6 for a double room. Expatriates are charged US$20
and US$35 respectively.
Hotel (43 rooms) In the Shahre Naw part of
This hotel is currently being refurbished but promises
VIP rooms, an internet café and coffee bar. It is also home to the very
popular Popo’Lano Italian restaurant.