Three grand glass towers are fast becoming the emblem of Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. For me, a complete foreigner in this exotic country, the Fairmont Flame Towers are the strongest memory of this enchanting city. This breathtaking complex is a striking addition to the Baku skyline and acts as a reference point wherever you are in the city.
Designed by HOK Architects, it is the tallest structure in Azerbaijan and certainly the most dominating. Conceived to mark the country’s rebirth, it took over five years to construct and the staff who work here have been in training for the last year and a half. I could feel the sizzling excitement in the air as I stepped through the entrance, the first British journalist to experience this much-anticipated hotel. There are three towers: a hotel, offices and a residential apartment block. When we visited much of the hotel space was still to be finished, we were placed in the highest room available, on the eighth floor.
When in full operation the Fairmont Baku will offer 299 guest rooms and suites; 19 apartments; a luxurious ESPA spa (including tennis court, fitness centre, indoor and outdoor pools); French brasserie (Le Bistro); Steak restaurant; Jazz bar; Cigar divan and shop; the Nur Lounge bar; Coffee shop and poolside bar and grill. It hopes to be the hub of Baku activity for tourists and locals and, if they achieve their ambition, it is sure to be the ultimate Azeri accommodation.
It is difficult to describe the awe we felt whilst staying at the Fairmont Flame Towers. From our glass walled sky-high room we could look out and see many other recent additions to the architectural landscape of Baku including Flag Square (until recently the tallest Flagpole in the world), Crystal Hall (which was built to host the Eurovision in 2012), Martyr’s Alley and the Eternal Flame and, slightly further away, the walls of the Old City.
The hallway leading to our room still smelt of fresh paint and the room itself was in pristine new condition. It was a marriage of contemporary design and traditional materials, with quirky furniture and clever hidden technology. Everything from the lighting to curtain and blind functions could be controlled from the panel by the bedside. Our bed was massive, coated in 300-thread-count linens and down filled pillows and duvets… seriously comfortable and definitely welcome after a full day of exploring on foot. The alternate black and white (his and hers) Fairmont slippers were greatly appreciated as we made ourselves at home in our new pad.
The bathroom was high tech and fully equipped with super cool bespoke Le Labo Rose 31toiletries… much more interesting than the usual standard brands stocked in renowned hotel chains. The big bath was ideal for a long soak and an indulgent power shower encased in glass stood next to it. The word ‘Minibar’ has never been so appropriate, as our room had tiny versions of all the essential chocolate bars and posh jars of other naughty snacks.
The staff ensured our stay was unforgettable in every way… offering city suggestions, arranging a day trip to Gobustan, and arranging a cocktail class in Nur bar lounge specially for us. The only restaurant open was the casual French Le Bistro offering simple salads, soups and main courses. At breakfast we feasted on French toast and coffee and at dinner we relished the juicy steak frites, garlicky snails and wonderfully authentic creme brûlée. Over at the Nur Lounge for after dinner drinks, I can recommend the beautiful lilac coloured Grape and Lychee Collins and the sweet and syrupy Rose Petal Martini. Carrying the trend over from London and New York, the Fairmont bar is certainly producing the best, most innovative cocktails in the city. If you find yourself needing a snack, the Duck confit spring rolls with plum sauce are a must.
With everything on offer at Fairmont Flame Towers, guests need never leave the complex. Perhaps the most thrilling aspect of this empire occurs at 10pm every night when people all over the city can witness the most spectacular light show. All three towers are illuminated in tandem showing clever Azeri inspired designs and multi-coloured delights.
Unlike anywhere I have ever stayed in the World, Fairmont Flame Towers is an architectural marvel and hotel heaven.
More information and book here.
Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled with British Airways who operates a daily service from Heathrow to Baku seven times a week. The lead-in fare is from £463.95 including taxes/fees/carrier charges. To book or for more information visit www.ba.com/Baku or call 0844 4930787.