Fairmont Baku in Bakus Flame Towers: One of the tallest hotels in the world

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(CNN) – From traditional souks, mosques and UNESCO World Heritage Sites to futuristic skyscrapers, Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, offers an eclectic mix of old and new.

Among the most spectacular additions to the modern skyline is the Flame Towers, a trio of sky-high structures resembling tongues of fire that reach high above the Caspian Sea.

Designed by the American architectural firm HOK, and with Tower 1 standing at 182 meters, they are the tallest buildings in Azerbaijan.

And visitors can stay in them – one building housing, one is for office use, while the third, the 165-meter-high Fairmont Baku, is a modern five-star hotel.

Go into the flame

The towers can be seen from almost anywhere in the city, but the night is when they really come alive. Orange, red and pink LED lights dance across the towers like burning flames.

For some in Baku, they are now a symbol of home.

“You can see Flame Towers as you fly into the airport, lit up with multicolored lights and shine the road,” fashion designer and media professional Nina Zandnia told CNN Travel. “They are the sign that lets everyone know that they have reached Azerbaijan.”

So what is it like to live in one of the country’s most famous landmarks? It is certainly not an ordinary hotel.

The bold, sometimes bombastic statements begin with the dramatic exterior and continue all the way inside.

The venue’s seven-storey lobby is dominated by an extravagant chandelier that uses five kilometers of wires, decorated with 840 candles and more than 600,000 crystal pearls and weighs a full two metric tons.

Below is a limited edition of black and red Fazioli, one of the most expensive pianos in the world. M Liminal, designed by NYT Line and Philippe Gendre, was reportedly accompanied by Nigar Jamal and Eldar Gasimov in the performance that took Azerbaijan to victory in the 2011 edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest.

Guests should not expect to hear it used in any casual jam sessions, it is now only played by top pianists on special occasions.

In the evening, Flame Towers put on a light show across town.

In the evening, Flame Towers put on a light show across town.

Courtesy Fairmont Baku

Sea view

The tower is home to more than 300 rooms, suites and serviced apartments, ranging in price from $ 170 to up to $ 5,000 per room. night.

Even the most basic feature floor-to-ceiling windows and sumptuous double beds. The decor is a modern luxury mix with soft rugs and modern furniture. Each room at the hotel is spacious and comfortable and has either views of the city or the bay and out to sea.

Sharp and glamorous as it is, it has an edge of corporate nothingness that does not live up to the royal moods, such as. felt in the nearby Four Seasons.

A typical one-bedroom suite on the 17th floor offers views of the Caspian Sea and, if warranted, access to the Fairmont Gold Lounge on the 19th floor, which comes with a private check-in area and concierge service.

The super-fast lift to the 17th opens out to a spectacular repos overlooking the bay. Once inside the suite, there is a lobby area, a more stunning view, an office-sloping-dining room with wooden desk and a four-person dining table.

Then there is a generous, richly carpeted lounge with an oversized sofa and jazzy signature chair. The separate bedroom has a large king-size bed. There is a huge walk-in closet stacked with hangers, drawers and laundry that leads into a large bathroom complete with tub and shower.

In both suites’ two bathrooms there are bespoke toiletries – yes, your name is printed on the shampoo, moisturizer and conditioner bottle. It’s a souvenir that just asks to be taken home.

Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers, Baku, Azerbaijan.  Five star hotel

Fairmont Gold: There are panoramic views from the 19th floor.

Courtesy Fairmont Baku

The royal suite

Nice details, but does the hotel have celeb appeal? Yes, says Zumrud Ismayilova, the hotel’s PR and marketing manager. Names are not named, but the list apparently includes leaders, royalty and celebrities.

“We’ve had a lot of VIP guests at the hotel, but we never wanted to reveal who they are,” she tells CNN Travel. “When our guests come to stay with us, they expect privacy and privacy, and that’s exactly what we give them.”

Located on the tip of the flame, the Royal Suite offers panoramic views of both the city and the sea. There are two bedrooms, both with en suite bathrooms, a living room, private dining room, study, a guest bathroom, a kitchen and a magnificent hallway with chandelier – 375 square meters (4,036 square feet) of living space in total.

“The VIP or the family will stay in the suite, but the rest of their company tends to take over the whole floor. We have extra rooms for security and staff, and a suite for extra family members,” explains Ismayilova.

There is an open-plan living area, private study, a dining room that seats 12 or more guests and a fully equipped kitchen (of course for the waiters). But the main attraction is the large en-suite bathroom with a large oyster-shaped bathtub complete with window views of the bay.

Wellness

The hotel facilities are mixed. There is an elegant spa on two floors of the hotel with indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool, hammam and room to relax. There is also a fully equipped gym.

The beautifully designed Sky Garden gives guests the luxury of relaxing on the sun deck or taking advantage of the sauna by the pool while looking out to sea. There is an S-shaped roof terrace with pool and outdoor bar, which looks better from a distance than close.

It is best to visit in the evening. When the sun rises, the towers reflect the sun and magnify its heat, making this area a frying pan.

Food and entertainment

As you would hope for a fancy hotel inside one of the country’s largest landmarks, the main restaurant Le Bistro offers a range of local Azerbaijani wines and delicacies. The Balcon CafĂ© offers specialties and cakes as well as sushi in the afternoon.

There is also the Nur Lounge, which is a funky environment that serves cocktails and snacks, and which is a great place to enjoy the atmosphere before entering the hotel’s Jazz Club, a local institution.

“We always recommend people to check out the Jazz Club after 9pm, because that’s where it really gets started. It’s very popular with both hotel guests and locals, and we always offer something new to keep people entertained,” says Ismayilova.

There are two things that most hotels are not able to offer – a mall and a movie theater. Fairmont Flame Towers offers both.

Park Cinema provides guests (and members of the public) with six screens, including IMAX, showing the latest Arabic, English and Russian films.

Next door is the Flame Towers Shopping Mall, which is due to be completed in early 2020. Luxury brands, main street names, cafes and restaurants are ready to take up residence.

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