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96 KABUL •• Sleeping

are small but on the cosy side, with a fan and decent bedding. Shared bathrooms are pretty clean with hot water, and the man- agement is helpful.

Spinzar Hotel (Map p93 ; x020 22891; Pul-e Bagh-e Omomi; s/d $20/40, s/d with shower US$40/50) Popular

with Afghan businessmen, this tall greenish building has commanding views over the river. Rooms and shared bathrooms alike are drab but clean. The 4th-floor restaurant is worth visiting for non-guests, for both the views and decent Afghan food.

Mustafa Hotel (Map p85 ; x070 276021; www; Charahi Sadarat; s/d from US$35/50, half-

board supplement US$10; i) Truly a Kabul institu- tion, the Mustafa was the main post-Taliban hang-out for journos, ‘security consultants’ and other would-be adventurers. If the high- rolling days have passed slightly with the death of its irrepressible manager, Wais Faizi, it’s still a good place to stay, with small comfy rooms, hot water and satellite TV in the lounge. There’s a special ‘backpacker’ rate of US$20 per day including internet for those booking in advance online.

Star Inn (Map p85 ; x079 9143 252; Flower St; s/d incl

breakfast US$35/45) This tidy little hotel has a good central location. Rooms have attached bath- rooms and TV, although some are a bit on the poky side. Communal areas are nicely deco- rated with Afghan textiles giving a friendly air, and the place is scrubbed spotless. The hotels listed below were popular with backpackers until recently, when the police banned them from accepting foreign guests. We’ve listed them in the hope that improved security will allow travellers to return in the future.

Pashtoonistan Hotel (Map p93 ; Pul-e Bagh-e Omomi; US$10) Signed only in Dari, this place has a flat rate for its rooms, each containing between three and five beds. The communal bathroom is pretty basic, but par for the course for this rock-bottom choice. Zarnigar Hotel (Map p93 ; x020 2100 980; zarnigar; Mohammad Jan Khan Wat; s/d US$10/15) A few doors down from the Jamil, this can be a good choice. The rooms are simple but clean, with shared bathrooms. The hotel also has a decent restaurant overlooking the street, a good place to watch the world go past over a plate of pulao (rice dish). Jamil Hotel (Map p93 ; x079 3212 128; Mohammad Jan Khan Wat; s/d US$10/20) Rooms have en suite, and although there is sometimes a problem with the water, the manage- ment should keep you supplied with buckets. The hotel isn’t brilliantly signed – it’s next to Al-Miraj Electronics.

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Euro Guest House (Map p85 ; x070 197220/079 9342 705;; Street 15, Wazir Akbar Khan; r incl breakfast from US$40; ai) Tangerine walls

on the main street through Wazir Akbar Khan make the Euro hard to miss. There are a selection of different rooms (up to US$100), but the cheaper end are the best value. Service is good, and as with most guesthouses, the Euro can arrange drivers and the like.

Insaf Hotel (Map p85 ; x070 286384; Charahi Ansari;

r US$50) Close to the action around Shahr-e Nau Park, this modern hotel has en suite rooms that are simply but decently deco- rated. There’s one price for one or two beds. Next to Popolano restaurant, part of the hotel also acts as a wedding hall, so week- ends are potentially noisy affairs.

Park Residence (Map p85 ; x070 225038; park; Charahi Ansari; r incl breakfast

US$50; ai) Look twice for the entrance to this place facing the park – security is tight but unobtrusive. Modern rooms have en suites and are positively cosy, with a fridge and satellite TV; there’s also a small book- shop and a pleasant garden.

Marco Polo Inn (Map p85 ; x070 274542; Street 3,

Qala-e Fatullah; r US$50; ia) This new guest-

house run by an Afghan-German is a great deal. Rooms, with attached bathroom, are very nicely furnished with lots of dark wood giving the place an almost Bavarian feel. There’s a restaurant too, and a neat garden to relax in.

Assa 1 (Map p85 ; x079 9555 666;; off Flower St; r US$50; i) Another long-standing

favourite, this medium-sized guesthouse has a selection of well-turned out rooms, favoured by long-term guests. Worth a look, there is also Assa 2 and Assa 3 just around the corner, offering more of the same for the same price.

Rose Garden & Carwan Sarai Hotel (Map p85 ;

x079 9013 055;; Interior Ministry Rd; s/d US$50/60, r with bathroom US$66; i)

Formerly named the Karwansara Guest- house, this place is a lovely old merchant’s house set in a large and leafy garden. Some of the rooms are a little small, but they’re all turned out well enough for comfort. The restaurant has good Afghan and inter- national dishes.

Park Palace (Map p85 ; x070 656561; parkpalace; Ghiyassudin Wat, Kolola Pushta; r incl

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breakfast US$55; ai) A deservedly popu- lar hotel with consultants and long-term stays, the Park Palace has good quality en suite rooms with service to match. The buffet breakfast is something of a treat – look for people rushing it down while their Landcruisers queue outside the gate to whisk them off to the office.

Le Monde Guest House (Map p85 ; x079 9614 872;; Herati Mosque St, Shahr-e Nau; r

US$60; i) This is a traditional Kabul home turned into a cosy, well-run guesthouse. Generous rooms are well set up, and there’s a lovely garden. Given that the manager is a chef, the food is excellent.

Naween Guesthouse (Map p85 ; x079 9016 644;; Ghiyassudin Wat, Kolola Pushta; r incl breakfast US$60; i) Another well-run

guesthouse popular with contractors and UN workers, the Naween offers a high level of comfort and security. All rooms are en suite.

B’s Place (Map p85 ; x070 283968; bs_place; Street 2, Qali-e Fatullah; r US$60) One

of the first of the post-Taliban guesthouses, B’s Place has six rooms with shared bath- rooms, decorated in traditional Afghan style. There’s a pleasant garden, and an Italian restaurant, but the place feels a little worn out by the competition from all the new hotels. A bit of a mixed bag.

Shahr-e Nau Guesthouse (Map p85 ; x070 267814; off Flower St; r incl breakfast US$60-80) Easily spotted

by its pink external walls, the Shahr-e Nau Guesthouse is a decent place. Rooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with up to three beds, making this a good deal if there’s a few of you, but less so for solo travellers. All are en suite.

Kabul Inn (Map p85 ; x079 9359 355; kabul; near Zargona High School, Qala-e Fat- ullah; r incl breakfast US$64; ai) Behind high

walls on the main road, this Tajik-run place is bright, modern and clean. Rooms have satellite TV and bathrooms, all kept spot- less. Even the grass on the lawn is clipped to within an inch of its life. Very good value, although the restaurant food is a little dull.

Kabul Lodge (Map p85 ; x079 9423 562/070

282643;; Passport Lane, off Interior Ministry Rd; r incl breakfast US$75; ai) A well-

established guesthouse, the Kabul Lodge is impeccably run with helpful and efficient management. Rooms are large (with en


The UN maintains a list of the most secure guesthouses and hotels in Kabul that fit within its strict Minimal Operation Security Standards (MOSS). At the time of going to press, MOSS-compliant accommodation in Kabul included Assa 2 and Assa 3 Guest- houses, Naween Guesthouse, Park Palace, Maple Leaf Inn, Safi Landmark Hotel, Kabul Serena Hotel and Heetal Heritage Hotel.

suite) and there’s a great restaurant, open to non-guests from 6pm.

Top End

Heetal Heritage Hotel (Map p85 ; x079 9159 697;; Street 14, Wazir Akbar Khan; s/d

from US$85/89; ia) At the edge of Wazir Akbar Khan, and in the lee of Bibi Mahru Hill, the Heetal gets cleaner air than many places in the city. Perhaps that’s why it flags itself as Kabul’s first eco-friendly boutique hotel. No one could venture another reason when we asked. It’s nicely laid out though, in a decent approximation of a caravan- serai. Rooms could be bigger, but there’s a good restaurant serving everything from Tex-Mex to Indian and a weekly film night to keep you entertained. Discounts are fre- quently available.

Maple Leaf Inn (Map p85 ; x079 9321 401/070 203412;; Street 3, left off Charahi Haji Yaqub; r US$80; ais) Formerly

called Ottawa Resorts, the motto here is ‘blending serenity and efficiency’. Manage- ment is certainly efficient, while rooms match the standard of a business-class hotel anywhere you might think of. A popular venue for business breakfasts and lunches, people-spot for the movers and shakers here. Stays over a month bring the price down to US$70 a day.

Gandamack Lodge (Map p85 ; x070 276937/079 9569 904;; next to UNHCR, Charahi Sherpur; US$90-$160; ai) A perenni-

ally popular option with visiting media, the Gandamack Lodge is run by Peter Jouvenal, the acclaimed cameraman and Afghan ex- pert. Now in larger premises with a nice garden, rooms are comfy and tastefully decorated in colonial fashion. The restau- rant is excellent, and worth visiting for the full English cooked breakfast (US$12)

KABUL •• Sleeping 97

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