Hotel Farovon Khiva burst onto Uzbekistan’s accommodation scene in late 2021 and is the first five-star hotel outside the capital, Tashkent. Remarkably, the hotel was built from the ground up in only seven months, and it opened just in time to host UNESCO’s “Central Asia at the Crossroads of Civilisations” forum. Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s Director-General, was the first guest to check in and experience a luxurious hotel stay in Khiva.
Favovon’s primary audience is the attendees of international MICE events, which will be hosted at the hotel. It’s well suited to conferences and forums, and is equipped with everything a business traveller will need. If you are visiting Khiva’s UNESCO sites for pleasure, however, and want an immaculate hotel with international-standard facilities and service, Farovon is also the place for you.
Farovon is an impressive modern hotel with 106 spacious guest rooms and suites. The decor is neutral in its colour palette but the design is far from bland: there are plenty of thoughtful features – from the metal lanterns and textiles to the abstract artwork on the walls – which give a strong sense of place. You come to Uzbekistan to experience the local culture, and Farovon celebrates this fact.
Recognising that many of the guests checking in will be here for business, even standard category rooms have a workplace with high-speed internet access. If you would like additional space to entertain or just chill out, opt for a superior standard with separate living and bedrooms, a balcony, and a gigantic bathroom. All the guestrooms have climate control systems and large flat-screen TVs with international channels.
Food and drink
When staying at Farovon you can dine around the world without having to leave the hotel. There are three in-house restaurants – Khiva, Milan, and Tokyo – each serving the cuisines their namesake cities are famous for. Italian and Japanese foods need no introduction, but Uzbek food? Imagine the taste of the Silk Road, with ingredients and cooking styles influenced by China and South Asia, Russia, Iran and Turkey. Plov, Uzbekistan’s national dish, is akin to an Indian biryani, but made with beef; and other favourites include laghman (hand-pulled noodles with meat and vegetables), samsa (Uzbek samosas), and shashlik (chicken, lamb, or beef kebabs). Shivit Oshi is a speciality from Khiva: the distinctive bright green noodles are coloured with dill and other herbs. Should you fancy a strong black coffee, a pastry, or a pint, Farovon’s Istanbul Lobby Bar is also open 24/7.
After a long day of meetings or sightseeing, you will want to head to Farovon’s indoor swimming pool to swim a few lengths and relax. The lighting is calming and you might well have the space to yourself.
Farovon’s MICE facilities are world class: the hotel has been built to host large international events. There are banqueting halls and plenty of meeting rooms, all decorated in bright white with attractive chandeliers and other tasteful hints of bling.
A standard king room at Farovon starts from $73 per night.
Farovon is just five minutes drive from the main gate of the Ichan Qala, Khiva’s historic walled city, which was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Uzbekistan. Inside you will find dozens of well-preserved monuments, including magnificently tiled madrassas and minarets, lavishly decorated palaces, and one of the most elegant mosques in Central Asia, the Juma Mosque (Friday Mosque). The entrance ticket costs $12 and is valid for two days, though if you want to get the most out of your visit, it is well worth hiring a local tour guide. Allow yourself plenty of time for wandering and shopping, too.
Most visitors concentrate on sightseeing in the Ichan Qala and skip the attractions of the Dishan Qala, Khiva’s outer city. In doing so they miss gems such as the recently restored Nurillabay Palace, which boasts elaborate interiors and fascinating exhibitions of vintage photography and contemporary art.
To the north of Khiva are the Desert Castles of Ancient Khorezm, a must for archaeology lovers. More than 50 fortresses have been discovered here so far, and the Ayaz Qala, Elliq Qala, and Topraq Qala (qala meaning “fortress”) are in particularly good condition. You will need your own vehicle to get there, but hiring a car and driver for the day is affordable and convenient.
Whether you are visiting Khiva for business or pleasure, Farovon Khiva Hotel is the place to stay if you want a little luxury. The designers have created a beautiful, culturally appropriate hotel and the standard of service is superb.