One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world has quietly been getting a makeover. Yerevan, the capital and largest city of Armenia, was founded as a fortress in the 8th century BC and became the newly formed country’s capital in 1918. The city along the Hrazdan River is known for its wide streets, diverse architecture, and stunning background, which includes snow-capped Mount Ararat. But for years, it was part of the Soviet Union. Historic buildings were demolished, electricity was scarce, and creativity was stifled. You know a new era has arrived when you have not one but three boutique hotels to choose from on your first visit to the rapidly changing city.
Your first choice sits on Amiryan Street, one of the oldest and most walked streets in the city. Republica Hotel Yerevan is near the 18th century Blue Mosque and Republic Square, where you’ll find the National Gallery of Armenia, the History Museum of Armenia, and singing fountains. Shortly after getting picked up at the airport—always a nice perk when you land in a new city—you arrive at the sleek 10-story hotel to find slate gray walls and ancient carpets in the lobby. Smoking is forbidden, even in a city where everyone seems to be puffing. The smell of homemade bread is still lingering around Anoush Restaurant from earlier this morning. Café tables, shady umbrellas, and bikes are outside for after you get settled. While your top-floor junior suite has a king bed, a sofa bed, and a modern bathroom.
Just steps away from the Republica Hotel Yerevan, your second choice has a classic vibe. At the Paris Hotel, a red carpet lines the entrance. Neutral colors, soft lighting, and possibly the biggest bed in the city fill your deluxe room. Your balcony overlooks high-end shops and expensive passing vehicles. But you’ll be spending much of your time on the rooftop. Montmartre, an elegant French-and-Italian restaurant, has live music, a view of the mountains, and, most importantly, an open-air terrace.
Your final choice blends the sleek vibe of the Republica with the classic look of the Paris, but it adds a few unexpected twists. The Opera Suite Hotel is located near lots of green parks. France Square (with the Armenia Opera Theater), Poplavok Park, and Lovers’ Park (with the parliament building) are just steps away. Italian furniture, neutral colors, and black-and-white photographs—as well as brightly colored armchairs—fill the spacious suites. Bon Appetit, where a buffet breakfast is served each morning, features simple white tables and orange-and-lime-cushioned chairs. Plus you can watch the city light up after dark at the 12th floor Sinatra Restaurant, which features Italian dishes and wine. Now that you’re settled in Yerevan, it’s finally time to start exploring.