After the madness of the wacaday adventure in the barely known republic of Karakalpakstan, it was time to get back to some textbook Uzbekistan sightseeing and the city of Khiva was on the agenda. I wanted to stay in the Ichan Kala (“Old walled town”) which is the typical tourist option but by far the best way for me to see the sights in a short time given the ridiculously short Uzbek visa time on my egg timer. Plus, I saw the Hotel Xiva Atabek as a Guesthouse run by a local entrepreneur called Barna, who saw the opportunity to open a cool, well designed place to stay here in Khiva.
When I first got in touch with the Hotel Xiva Atabek, it was Barna that was e-mailing me to check when I would be coming. I eventually arrived here as one of my last stops in Uzbekistan before heading onwards to Tashkent and then on to Shymkent in Kazakhstan. Here are six cool features about Barna’s place, this is the best backpacker option inside the city’s walls.
1.Inside the Old Walled Town/Ichan Kala
You need a good place close to the main sights in the centre of the Old Town in Khiva if you are keen to see the main sights of the walled city with ease. Officially of course you are meant to have an entrance ticket to the sights of the Ichan Kala. But I was never asked for one, and there was barely another tourist around. Being based in the Ichan Kala really helps out. You can tour the inner city walls with a sense of freedom and without venturing far.
In the old city, cafes are few and far between but Barna’s place here at Hotel Xiva Atabek gives you a huge breakfast to get you going for the day. Eggs, cheese, bread, local sweets, coffee, tea.
When you step inside the building, you notice a cool square layout in like an indoor courtyard. The rooms are all around the main lounge which is in the centre. There is a balcony all around and on the top floor Barna hopes to open a patio for summer sunset views over charming Khiva.
Barna and her family run the show here. There is always a friendly welcome and you can treat this place as your home in Khiva. I felt welcome and safe here.
As much as Uzbekistanis like to think they know it all about travel, they don’t. They are seriously far behind in promoting their country travel wise but in steps Barna with up to date information on local tours, how to get in and out and for those with a Turkmenistan Visa, Barna and her staff can help plan your route out. Uzbeks, take note.
6.My Warm Cosy Room
When the sun disappears from view, Khiva gets cold in the winter. A nice warm room with a heater and cosy bed was just the tonic for a good night’s sleep!
Here are the details for booking the Hotel Xiva Atabek in Khiva, Uzbekistan:
Barna – firstname.lastname@example.org
Islom Hoja 68, Khiva
+998 919 984 242
Here are some videos of my time in Barno’s, Hotel Xiva Atabek, Khiva: