Immerse yourself in the Uzbek “mahalla” lifestyle when visiting Samarkand and stay at our favorite guest house in Uzbekistan, the Jahongir B&B. With an amazing location just steps from Registan Square and local national food options, this idyllic mom and pop option totally lives up the hype generated by positive mention in the guidebooks.
The hotel is located in a residential neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle of the Registan, but still close enough that all the main sites are within walking distance. Situated well off the main road, taxis are actually not able to get past the concrete barrier separating the tourist area from the historic mahalla, but pedestrian access is easy enough. Being located off an inaccessible side street ensures that through traffic will not be a noise issue, and there’ll be no tour busses considering the property only has 15 rooms. In fact, on our multiple visits to the property, we never had a single issue with noise, except for the occasional morning songbird roosting in the idyllic courtyards among the grapevines.
The owners are exceptionally friendly and speak good English, a rarity in a country where the primary language of tourism is Russian. They’re also happy to set up tours, taxis, and make recommendations for places to eat and things to do. It was here that we were hooked up with a driver for our impromptu day trip to Ak Saray palace in Shahrisabz, and they were also happy to arrange our transportation back to the train station where we caught the flagship Afrosiyob service on our return to Tashkent. In the mornings, a plated breakfast is served to all guests in a communal dining room, or depending on the weather, in the cool morning shade of the courtyard.
Rooms are basic, but comfortable, and all are airconditioned, although that hardly seems necessary considering the cool courtyards shaded by lush vegetation. We found ourselves relaxing in the topchans late into the evening chatting with fellow travelers, and not doing much but sleeping in the rooms. Walls are thick in the older portion of the hotel keeping rooms naturally cooler in the summer. Traditional decorations in this case mean colorful susani hanging from the walls, Uzbek print bedspreads, and traditional carpets on the floors. Ask for a room in the older portion of the hotel on the upper floor, and you’ll be in for an authentic guest house experience. Shoes are kindly requested to be left in the provided cubby at the foot of the stairs to avoid excessive wear on the gorgeous hardwood floors and protective carpet runners.
Jahongir B&B is not a hotel packed with lots of amenities, but this doesn’t mean you won’t be pleasantly surprised with extra services. Nothing says Uzbek hospitality like a pot of tea in the afternoon, or whenever. Staff are happy to oblige this most natural of requests for the weary traveler. After a day of sightseeing nothing beats a relaxing evening catching up on your travel writing on a topchan sipping a refreshing cup of tea. My British grandparents would be proud, but this experience is 100% Uzbek.