A Quick Glimpse Guide to Baku: The Paris of the East
In recent years Baku has undergone a flamboyant regeneration with VIP club openings, 5 star hotels and first-class restaurants transforming the city into one of the world’s most exclusive destinations or the affectionately nicknamed, “Paris of the East”. As one of the stops on the glam Grand Prix circuit you can expect plenty of style in affluent Azerbaijan with its shimmering flame towers, crumbling old town, and incredible shopping options.
Check into the Four Seasons Baku just a few minutes walk from the ocean edge. Watch the water from the comfort of your private balcony then unwind at the hotel’s luxurious penthouse spa with Turkish inspired therapies. The in-house restaurant, Zafferano (named after saffron, the spice that grows abundantly in Azerbaijan) and Bentley’s Whiskey Bar attract a sophisticated crowd. The shimmering blue and gold tower of Hilton Baku is also in prime location for F1 viewing and gazing out across the changing city. Whilst no way near as regal as the Four Seasons, the design is clean and contemporary, and all rooms have huge windows overlooking either the harbour or the charming streets of the Old Town. The revolving rooftop bar is a pretty spectacular spot for a cocktail at sunset. The F1 Paddock Club offers high end hospitality for the fortunate few and where you are guaranteed to bump into beautiful faces from across the globe. The hotel itself is elegant and chic with a very lavish, 3 bedroom presidential suite. Its also a stones throw away from the hip Buddha Bar where crowds gather as night falls for post- dinner drinks.
Azerbaijan is known for hosting the most extravagant parties that typically stretch across the weekend. Baku’s Yacht Club is at the centre of the action, hosting entertainment and dining throughout the day on the terrace. The Billionaire Club’s after parties are similarly glamorous, with an enviable guest list of VIPs as well as sets from internationally acclaimed DJs. Naturally though the wildest and most exclusive soirees take place on board a yacht and continue until dawn.
When you find time to eat, Chinar is Baku’s most popular fine-dining restaurant for it’s a pan-Asian menu and late lounge that mixes the best cocktails in town. For something more cosy, Evde Bar & Grill serves hearty European dishes in a friendly, relaxed setting. Or else, try Mugam Club, situated just across from the beautiful 12th century, Maiden Tower and within the walls of an old fortress. The restaurant offers great traditional cuisine accompanied by live music and dance performed nightly in the photogenic courtyard surrounded by fig trees.
If you get a chance to sightsee, the city’s home to some really spectacular historic sites too. Wander the maze of narrow streets in Old Town for an insight into the ancient past, far removed from the soaring skyscrapers of the modern metropolis, and visit the magnificent sandstone, Shirvanshah’s palace, the last residence of Azerbaijan’s ruling dynasty during the Middle Ages, labelled by UNESCO as “one of the pearls of Azerbaijan’s architecture”. The Modern Art Museum is also impressive, showcasing the best of Azeri art as well as some international names too.
Return to the waterfront to relax; stroll along the grand Boulevard down to the beach and the calm Caspian Sea.