Hotel Review: Boutique Hotel Minzifa, Bukhara
Bukhara is perhaps the place with the widest choice of charming small hotels in Uzbekistan, and perhaps Central Asia. So, on my trip to Samarkand and Bukhara, it made sense to push out the boat a bit and book a characterful traditional small hotel. I found it in the Boutique Hotel Minzifa. I first read about it here, and if its good enough for UK Luxury Tour Operator Cox and Kings, good enough for me. Especially at 39 EURO, it was really affordable.
*They currently sell a group tour of 12 nights from 2900GBP, and another one for about 2000GBP based on two people sharing… which is not too bad, but I am probably not telling you a secret that you can probably do the same trip individually, stay in the same hotels and pay half that provided you get a decent price on a flight… as always, I paid for this trip myself, 400EURO for flights to Samarkand, 112 EURO for four nights mid-range accommodation, using a double room on my own, plus 14EURO for a return ticket on the high speed train.
But anyway, back to the Boutique Hotel Minzifa, abode of classy travellers and small groups. I booked the Minzifa as a luxurious treat and was really excited when I pitched up there at lunchtime!
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Boutique Hotel Minzifa is 5minutes walk from Lyabi Hauz complex, the centre of tourist activity in Bukhara. It is also on the edge of the old Jewish quarter, and one of the ancient synagogues is just around the corner.
The area is quiet yet central, and best accessed by foot. I didn’t go out there in the dark, but since this is a small lane old town quarter, a flashlight might not be a bad idea.
Transport from Kagan (Buxoro 1) Train Station to Boutique Hotel Minzifa
The main train station of Bukhara is about 15 kilometres away in a separate town called Kagan. There may be a bus, but everyone off my train got into a coach or took a cab, so I followed suit. 30-40.000 sum should pay for a trip to your hotel – I think the driver started at 60.000, so about half that should be right for everyone to get a decent deal. My taxi driver was nice enough to park by the old town perimeter then walked me along some dirt roads to the hotel, which seems part of the service. You can take marshrutka No. 268 to Lyabi Hauz, too, but I would only do that if I were strapped for cash or my hotel was within 100m of Lyabi Hauz.
Boutique Hotel Minzifa is in a small traditional building, enclosed by a courtyard. I think it is actually newer than it looks, but has the same Soviet-style heating I saw elsewhere. Anyway, they pride themselves in having salvaged the old door from the building on the site. There is a tradition of preserving the original door, even when you build a new house on the site.
Most of the building may be new, but are kept in traditional Bukharan traders mansion style. There are twelve rooms, each individually decorated. Attached is a small breakfast room, a tiny reception and a few outside tables, but no bar or restaurant. You’re pretty much confined to the courtyard and a small terrace area on the first floor for outside space, but this seems a feature of Bukhara hotels as its much more desert-like than, Samarkand, for example, where guesthouses often have little gardens and terraces.
When I arrived around noon, my room wasn’t ready. I left my luggage in reception, sat around in the courtyard a bit and contemplated where to go first. In the previous guesthouse they would have fallen over themselves and plied me with tea and bisquits but no such offers here. A bit of a shame, because this place is run very professionally, and while its a friendly place, they have to catch up on the service front a bit. You will also need to specify a time for breakfast the day before – their breakfast area is small and holds perhaps 6 tables.
I was given the “Celestial Room”, a generously proportioned twin room off the communal balcony on the first floor. It had beautiful wooden flooring, matching soft furnishings, quality white bedlinens and the traditional plasterwork niches.
Also, there was a big TV, large fridge, a full size mirror, plenty of wardrobe space and a safe in the wardrobe. Just to the right you can see a little desk – handy if you’re bringing a bit of work. But be warned, internet in Uzbekistan can be fickle. When I arrived, the internet in the property (and old Bukhara) was down. When it worked again at night, the speed wasn’t much to write home about.
This room had the nicest bathroom of all the places I stayed in Uzbekistan – very clean, with an actual small bath and appliances that weren’t coming loose or rusted.
Beds were medium comfy – The mattresses weren’t the newest and had a bit of a sag to them.
This is a small hotel with few facilities. There are small outside areas to sit in They serve breakfast from their own small kitchen, but that’s about it! The website also mentions bicycle rental (at a charge),a restaurant and private parking. Maybe its different in high season, but there was definitely no action int eh kitchen at night! It is worth mentioning that there is a restaurant by the same name about 5-10min walk away which belongs to the same family. It is best approached from the Lyabi-Hauz site through a small lane and staircase off Bakhowuddin Nakshbandi Street. This restaurant is lovely, with a great covered terrace, good service and, for Central ASia, a good selection of vegetarian foods. In high season it tends to be full and booking is needed, in March I could just turn up at a half-empty restaurant.
Hm. Not so much although the whole package is very nice indeed for less than 40 EURO per night. When I turned up just after 7am for breakfast (it got light very early), breakfast was really good, with freshly cooked eggs, some fruit, vegetarian food on request, and decent coffee.
Why stay here when visiting Bukhara?
Despite the slightly indifferent service and the need to pay in cash, and Uzbek sum being the preferred payment, I thought this was a very nice and well run hotel indeed. It is secure (door is locked at night but reception is manned), well maintained and very pretty and functional, and I would definitely stay here again. It seems a notch above similarly styled properties in Bukhara, and in terms of value for money, it will be hard to beat.
Address: Eshoni-Pir 63 street, Bukhara 200118, Buxoro 200118, Uzbekistan
Telephone: +998 93 477 08 00
Hotel Website: http://minzifa.com
I reserved this room on Booking.com and paid 38 EURO in March 2019 for a double room for single use. The hotel took cash payment only, preferably in Uzbek Sum.
Nearest Airport: Bukhara International Airport (BHK), 5km. Currently has flights to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Tashkent, Ferghana and Urgench. Internal flights are on Uzbekistan Airways, which use contemporary Boeing and Airbus. I’d still use the train, less than 4 hours from Tashkent, about six hours from Urgench.
Features: Coherent traditional style, English-speaking staff, so-so WiFi, good breakfast
Doesn’t have: on site restaurant although a restaurant affiliated with the hotel is a short walk away, bar, great outside space
Disclosure: This trip was entirely self funded. I will only review and recommend places that I have stayed in myself. You can trust me for the whole, unbiased truth. I have received no monetary or non-monetary rewards for linking aside from some affiliate links. In this case, this post contains some affiliate links to Booking.com. This means that I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you book through the affiliate links. More details on my affiliate link policy are here.