Where to stay in Uzbekistan
Tourists are still required to stay in hotels that are licensed by Uzbektourism, and most hotels are run by them. However, a growing number of independent hotels are now being licensed. It is necessary for visitors to have a slip of paper stamped by the hotel to prove that they have stayed there. Most receptionists will remind you of this when you check-in but do remember to keep the slips safe.
Services and facilities are not generally up to Western standards, but efforts are being made to improve them and there is a growing number of Western-style hotels owned by foreign companies. Most tourist hotel rooms have a shower and WC ensuite, although supplies of soap and toilet paper can be unreliable. Rooms tend to be clean and will usually be decorated in the typical Central Asian style, with rugs, carpets and rich colours. Front doors and entrance gates may be locked relatively early at night so it pays to enquire what time reception closes.
All regional capitals have at least one Uzbektourism hotel that will accept foreigners. Many tourists will have booked tours which include accommodation, others will have to pay in US Dollars, unless they have special exemptions. Many large city hotels are Soviet in style, especially in the capital, so they can look very dated to western eyes and are often overpriced. Samarkand and Bukhara have the widest range of accommodation options, some with excellent views and atmosphere – often these are good value too, including breakfast and outdoor areas in which to relax.
Bed and breakfast
Guesthouses and bed and breakfasts are springing up all over Uzbekistan. These are cheaper than hotels and often mean you'll get the chance to meet and spend time with Uzbek families. B&B accommodation may not always offer a private bathroom, whereas guesthouses generally do.
Uzbektourism runs a number of temporary campsites in the mountains. There are also opportunities to sleep in a traditional yurt in several locations in the country. These generally accommodate 8-10 people and many tour agencies who offer overnight stays in them also offer full-board, as well as camel rides as part of the deal.
Definitely the most atmospheric places to stay in Uzbekistan are the old caravanserais - roadside inns dating back hundreds of years where travellers would rest and recover from the day's journey. A few of these have been converted into guesthouses. Mainly found in Bukhara, the old caravanserai guesthouses often only have a handful of rooms, so it pays to book ahead.