granani1Not so long ago Kars was very low on good places to stay. Now the situation has much improved with the Grand Ani one of a series of new hotels that have raised the barrier as regards both amenities and service.

The building itself is nothing to write home about being a monolithic block just steps away from a huge traffic intersection dominated by a statue of Atatürk. With 68 rooms, the hotel caters for tour groups as well as for regular business visitors from Russia and Iran as well as Turkey. 

The ground floor consists of a sprawling, somewhat unfocused sitting area attractively decorated with photographs of Ani and other local attractions. A corridor winds down to an unexpected fitness suite with a lovely long indoor pool in which real swimming is possible plus a delightful hamam fitted out in grey marble and tiles (for women up to 7pm, then men afterwards) right next door to a pine-lined sauna.granani2

Bedrooms are spacious and well-lit with decent bedside lights as well as the natural light from the large windows. Big comfortable beds come with a good range of amenities including tea and coffee-making facilities, a plasma TV with English and other international channels all neatly recorded on  acard for easy access, a minibar, safebox, hair-drier, etc. Bathrooms are smallish and windowless with rather old-fashioned shower cabins but they're perfectly adequate provided you don't object to liquid soap.

The first-floor dining room offers an excellent open buffet breakfast with hot choices as well as the usual range of cold meats and cheeses, and delicious balkaymak (honey and cream) - this is Kars, after all. In the evening (6-9pm) it converts to a licensed restaurant with a reasonable choice of mainly Turkish favourites with a few international staples just as chicken schnitzel added in. 

Service here is good, whether in the restaurant or at reception. Staff do their best to help with queries and resolve any problems. You can organise tours here without any difficulty.

Thumbs up: Excellent service, good hamam and indoor pool, comfy rooms

Thumbs down: Music and television competing for attention in restaurant, toiletries a little random

Ordu Caddesi No. 14, Tel: 0474-223 7500, www.grandani.com.tr



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