Organizing a do-it-yourself trip is not always easy and especially in some cases, such asIran, book the hotel it can become a real nuisance.
Indeed, while in other countries thanks to platforms such as Booking.com (my favorite), the online hotel booking it is a relatively simple and straightforward process, some portals are not yet available in Iran.
What does it mean? It means that if you search for hotels in Iran on Booking.com, Expedia or others, the best guess is to find only a handful of expensive hotels, but in most cases you probably won't find any.
This article aims to provide 5 alternative ways to book hotel in Iran for those who want to visit the country in a do-it-yourself way.
If you are thinking of booking a hotel in Iran you might probably need it too read my guide to travel to Iran do it yourself, full of useful tips!
1 - Book Hotels Online
Despite Booking.com in Iran already momento it doesn't work, however, there are a few Web sites that allow you to book a hotel and pay online with international credit or debit cards.
The big problem comes when you are looking for cheap accommodation options, such as hostels and B & Bs, because the choice is very limited.
Also on some of these sites it happens that the room is not necessarily booked only because the online booking was successful.
In fact, many times the request made online is, before being confirmed, redirected to the hotel in question, that he must approve it. Once approved, the website sends you a link to an online payment portal where you can finally pay for your much-needed room.
This alone suggests that i waiting time they can often get infuriating, especially if you book shortly before departure for Iran: in fact, the time it takes for your request to be sent to the hotel and the booking to be finalized depends on a variety of factors, including, response of the hotel, which varies, in addition to the hotel in question, also according to the season.
These websites can be found with a simple online search.
It is worth noting that the online payment it is not as widespread in Iran as one might expect. In fact, most of the websites that offer online payment promote it as a real plus.
So choosing the best website among those available may not be easy, but we are smart travelers we can find it using our brain (and then below I recommend what I think is the best online booking portal in Iran).
The factors that can help us decide which website is the best mainly are:
- Il number of hotels in each city.
- il number of rooms available.
- rates of the rooms (discounted up to 50% compared to other portals).
- presence of hotels and other types of accommodation in as many cities as possible (if a site offers rooms only in Tehran or only luxury hotels, I would leave it alone).
- Ability to cancel the reservation.
Why the room rates fluctuate often and prices vary according to the season, not to mention the fluctuations of the euro / rial exchange, a tip I can give you is to check the rates often to see if they change on the website so as to realize if the prices are up to date.
I rely on hotel reservations in Iran to the 1StQuest portal because, among all those who offer this service, it is the most reliable ever and has a wide range of hotels especially in the main cities of the country.
The home screen of 1StQuest, the best portal to book hotels in Iran Online!
Here the reasons why you should book with them:
- Payment with credit card or paypal
- Immediate confirmation
- Best price guaranteed (if you find the same hotel unless somewhere else just send them the screenshot to get a refund)
- Free cancellation (read the cancellation policies for each hotel)
- Variety of hotels, from luxury to economic ones
- Variety of cities in Iran
See here all hotels in Iran discounted up to 50% on 1StQuest
The good news is that readers of this blog can use mine on 1StQuest 5% discount code on all their services with the code PMT-1stQuest at the time of purchase.
1St Quest it also offers the possibility of buy online not only hotels but also buses, trains, internal flights and suitable insurance and also allows you to obtain, and in a very short time, the Authorization code for visa on arrival at the airport (VOA).
About VOA you can read this post on how to get Iran visa
2 - Book through a travel agency
The second way to book a hotel in Iran is to go to Iranian travel agencies who often offer this service (making you pay more of course).
You can get in touch with them by phone or email and ask them for more information.
It is not easy to "trust" an agency that is online without the advice of someone who has used their services. For that I recommend you Iran Doostan, the agency of a friend of mine (with whom I have the pleasure of working and who speaks English perfectly).If you want to talk to them directly, write me an email and I will be happy to give you the contact.
As for the payment, as travel agencies are private, you may have the option to use your credit card (you have to ask the agency you have chosen, Iran Doostan accepts them). Once the agency has booked the hotels for you, ask to be able to settle the bill by making a transfer or payment directly to their bank account.
If they tell you no, however, you can agree not to pay cash to the agency upon your arrival in Iran.
The cons of booking with an agency is first and foremost that they typically take (rightfully so) a commission. The pros, on the other hand, are more: they know hotels and speak Persian, they can help you too obtain a visa or you can discuss your itinerary with them and get some great advice.
In most cases with agencies you communicate in English (unless you know Persian!)
ps: I recommended Iran Doostan to you precisely because my friend speaks English, the agency is the oldest in all of Iran (synonymous with seriousness), and if you book with them, depending on the service, they also help you to obtain a visa.
Consultation the Iran Doostan website to know more.
3 - Book at the desk at the airports
One of the most beautiful hotels in Kashan: the Manouchehri House
You probably shouldn't think about booking a hotel directly at the airport if you are traveling to Iran in high season (April, May and October) due to the number of international events, including conferences and exhibitions, in major cities due to which room availability is often over.
Ti discourage this way also for another reason and that is that often the flights arrive in Tehran late at night and reservation desks are closed.
However, apart from that, you may be able to book a room in a four or five star hotel in one of the major international airports such as theImam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, the airport Hashemi Nejad di Mashahd and Shahid Beheshti a Isfahan.
Most quality hotels have a reservation desk at these airports, but as I repeat, I recommend that you only try this if you haven't had time to book before, and being clear about the risk that you may not find an available room. .
If the hotel doesn't have an airport representative, there's no need to worry! Some agencies present at the airport can help you, but get a room this way it may take a little more time, risk and effort.
4 - Book the hotel by email
The traditional Forough Hotel of Shiraz
This is the way I used the first time I was in Iran, that is to look for the hotel that you think could do for you (perhaps looking for it on the lonely planet dell’Iran) is contact him via email before leaving.
Iranian hotels are aware that foreign travelers cannot pay for their reservation, so they are used to receiving payments later, when you arrive directly there.
Generally, hotels take 24 to 48 hours to reply to e-mails so if the reply does not arrive immediately do not worry, if instead they take longer then they may have changed the e-mail address.
If you don't get a reply to your email after a couple of days, send it again. Hotels get a lot of emails and there is always a chance that some will get lost in the pile.
One of the advantages to get in touch with the hotel directly is for example, that if you are making a reservation for a large group, you can try asking for a group discount, so it might be a good idea to ask to be able to speak directly or with the reservations manager or with the marketing manager.
To find a hotel email, you can try groping to search for hotels online on Google or as I advised you before, through a paper travel guide.
Note that not all Iranian hotels are listed on Tripadvisor but most of them (particularly the four and five star hotels) almost certainly have their own website.
Additionally, some Tripadvisor features such as contact number and email address are not accessible for Iranian hotels.
In any case (whether you book online or by email) once the reservation is made, contact the hotel one week in advance of your arrival to reconfirm your reservation.
This is dispassionate advice that I almost always give, regardless of the country you are going to visit.
5: Book by calling the hotel directly
One of the rooms of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Tehran
Like 20 years ago you can always pick up the phone and call the hotel directly.
The reason this method is the last one I tell you about is because the reservations office may not be open 24/24.
Also, the time zone of Iran is +3: 30 GMT so if you decide to travel this way, keep that in mind.
Taking into account the typical working hours and break times in Iran, it is best to call between 10:00 and 12:00 and 14:00 to 16:00 local time (06:30 to 08:30 and 11:30 to 13:30 GMT).
Thursdays they work half a day and Friday is the weekend.
Don't forget also that Iran practices summer time; for example, the clock is moved forward by one hour on March 21 and back by one hour on September 23 (dates may vary by one day from year to year).
Il country code of Iran is 0098 and some city codes are as follows:
- Tehran: (+98) 21;
- Isfahan: (+98) 313;
- Shiraz: (+98) 713.
The cons of this method are meanwhile as I said before, being able to speak with the hotel, but also that you must be able to speak English well (and hope that those who answer you speak it too)
A number of factors, from a lack of access to the global banking system to a shortage of rooms, have made booking a room in Iran more difficult for foreign travelers than in other countries (where we usually travel).
After all, with Booking.com, Expedia or other portals, we have become accustomed to booking hotels quickly and easily when we find ourselves in the position of not being able to do it, things get complicated.
However, with this post I hope I have given you some interesting insights for book hotel in Iran providing you with some indications with which you will (easily) be able to leave calmly with your room waiting for you upon arrival.