British Airways: London Heathrow to Baku Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan

Travel to Baku in style with British Airways’ new flight to the Azeri capital. Having recently taken over this ex-BMI route, it has never been easier for British visitors to exchange bustling London for the boulevards of Baku.

After just five hours, you arrive at Heydar Aliyev airport in 30 degree heat, a short taxi ride from the amazing architecture, skyscrapers and historical old town that Baku has to offer.

The British Airways aircraft for this route is divided into two cabins – Club World and World Traveller. I was lucky enough to experience both as part of my return journey. World Traveller is British Airways’ standard class but with plenty of legroom, friendly and helpful staff and very edible food; it is a step up from many of the airlines I have experienced.

On our return journey, we were especially pleased to be seated in Club World. A glass of Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Champagne on take-off, followed by a tasty piece of steak was a lovely way to round off our trip.

The British Airways motto “to fly, to serve” seems like a simple concept, but as always the service felt special – especially when you’re used to flying with Ryanair.

British Airways strive to make the world’s most unique destinations more accessible, this flight to Baku is a prime example.

British Airways 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 or call 0844 4930787.

Fairmont Flame Towers, Baku

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 or call 0844 4930787.

Jumeirah Spa, Beach, Restaurant Resort

Many consider Baku to be a purely business destination but when the Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Resort opened its doors in the summer of 2012, it brought something completely new and different to the Azeri capital.

Offering a family-friendly beach resort complete with aquapark, nightclub, bowling alley and a stretch of private beach by the Caspian Sea, the Jumeirah suddenly made Baku accessible to international tourism and locals wishing to holiday by the sea.

Just 25 minutes out of the city centre and a short taxi ride from the airport, the Jumeirah is ideally located. Those staying centrally for meetings can take a day trip while locals can easily and quickly escape for a short stay here.

I visited for the day to try the facilities and see the impressive property. After three days in central Baku, the towering architecture came as no surprise to me, the Jumeirah is a huge grey and white building with a red flame shaped centrepiece, another reminder of Azerbaijan’s fiery heritage.

There are several dining options available depending on the season. We ate at the Pier Grill restaurant for lunch… out in the sea, this eatery specialises in steak and seafood, with a good wine list and DJ entertainment in the evenings. For dinner we chose to experience the pavilion restaurant, selecting an array of traditional grilled meats, kebabs and meze with the help of the kind waiter. While we enjoyed the flavoursome food, a local jazz band provided lively music.

Our afternoon was spent soaking up the rays on the beach while sipping mojitos, and before lunch we had the opportunity to try the celebrated Talise spa for relaxing and cleansing facials. The staff were welcoming throughout the hotel and seem truly passionate about this unique hotel and special locale.

The highlight for many will be the adventurous aquapark (the biggest in Azerbaijan) where you can challenge yourself to be brave and slide down the thrilling water rides.

We saw several football teams enjoying the Jumeirah accommodation when we visited, and next summer I am sure this seaside hotel will be even more popular… you heard it here first.

More information here.

Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled with British Airways. British Airways 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 or call 0844 4930787.