It is not easy to be the most famous hotel in a country, but the Baron Hotel Aleppo is just that. Why is it so famous? Well when you boast an alumni that includes everyone from Lawrence of Arabia and Agatha Christie to former presidents and kings galore, then there has to be something special about the place.
The Story of the Baron Hotel Aleppo
The Baron Hotel is the oldest continually open hotel in all of Syria, no mean feat, although its current level of openness is up for debate. Originally founded in 1909 as a way for Europeans to feel more at home whilst going on pilgrimage.
Aleppo at the time was rich bustling metropolis, but alas was not Euro friendly. Thus the Baron Hotel was opened in the French style, with a bar and restaurant and unbeknown at the time was set to become one of the most notorious, famous, historical and in the end tragic hotels in the country.
Who has stayed at the Baron Hotel in Aleppo?
And this is the really interesting part and one in which the manageress (who has been there over 40 years) was eager to talk to us about. The list by no means complete consists on the following!
Dame Freya Stark, Julie Christie, Mr and Mrs Theodore Roosevelt, Kemal Atatürk,Lady Louise Mountbatten, Charles Lindbergh, Glenn Richer and Yuri Gagarin among others….
But the hotel has done more than just have some famous guests and has also played an active part in not just Syrian, but global history, with Agatha Christie writing murder on the Orient Express here and King Faisal declared Syria’s independence from the balcony of his room. And while Syria might no longer be a Kingdom, both father and son Assad have also stayed here.
And these names barely touch the surface with the manager naming so many more it was hard to keep up with things!
The Baron Hotel in Aleppo and the Syrian Crisis
Sadly Aleppo was one of the worst hit by the Syrian crisis, first between the government and rebels, but latterly against Islamic State. The Baron Hotel sad right on t front line, with the manager proudly telling us they would sit out having drinks while being fired at.
Sadly such defiance while admirable could not last and after mortars hit the roof of the hotel the game was up. In 2014 it duly shut its doors. Afterwards it housed refugees, which while admirable also led to further decay. The Sunni residents used to cleaning floors regularly did so at the hotel, alas too much thus speeding up the decay of the place.
Since then the former owners have yet to return, but it is kept in as good a condition as possible by the caretakers here. Will the Baron Hotel open again? It is not currently known what the owners want to do with the hotel, but as such a historical relic it will either be renovated, or preserved as a museum – inshallah……
Can I visit the Baron Hotel in Aleppo?
While Aleppo has literally and figuratively been through the wars – a site very visible from all the damage it is making a comeback and not only are there international flights, but also a few tourists!
We personally include the Baron Hotel on all of our tours to Aleppo and yes we make sure you can not only stand behind the bar, but also visit the most famous rooms of the hotel.
To check out our Tours to Syria click here.