In major cities — which are the ones described in this guide minus Ghazni and Lashkargah — you will find hotels of three types.
The first type are the foreign morons' demoneying centers. Prices start at 50 dollars — everywhere in this section prices are per room, whether you take it alone or with a friend. Since the real price of a room is significantly lower, you will pay 15–20 dollars if you explain that you are not one of the foreign morons but a tourist.
Your room will have its own bathroom with a working shower and hot water. Air-conditioner is often present, and there is always a ceiling fan. Everything is clean. A hotel has its own restaurant with fancy meals. Often there are clearly visible or invisible armed guards. The staff speaks English.
In the second group are the hotels for the not so poor Afghans. The locals pay five dollars there, and you will be asked for 20–30 and finally get a room for 10 dollars. Bathrooms are often communal and are shared by the whole floor. Even if you have one in your room, there is no running water. But you may have a 200-liter drum, which is filled up daily by the staff. Rooms are not that clean but not that bad either. There is a ceiling fan. Often there is no restaurant, but the staff is ready to order and bring food for you. There are no guards. Usually at least one person in the staff speaks English. Foreigners stop here once in a while and do not attract too much attention, but people are friendly to them and are always ready to chat.
|A grandpa sunbathes on the roof of Zarnegar Hotel in Kabul|
The third type are caravan-serais — road hotels for traveling working class. Constructively they are similar to Western motels — lots of rooms on two–three levels, which open into a central yard. They are reluctant to accept foreigners because tourists almost never stay here. However, if they take you, they do not discriminate and quote a fair price, two–three dollars. Rooms often do not have beds, only mattresses with pillows, sheets, and blankets. There is no fan. Bathrooms are communal. There almost always is a restaurant. The staff does not speak English at all. Foreigners are rare here and attract a lot of attention, even too much of it sometimes.
Usually, in all three types each room has three sleeping sets, so you will not be able to take it for four people, but three or less will do.
Outside of this classification are not really hotels but chaikhanas where you can sleep at night for free if you eat there during the day. You are issued a mattress and a blanket and can sleep in the dining room or in some backrooms. Foreigners attract curious crowds.
Which type to choose depends on your finances and nerves. Most likely, you will end up everywhere during your trip. A group of three people should consider the first type. If you can not bargain the price down in such hotels, lower the hotel class. In caravan-serais and chaikhanas you should stay only if you do not have any other choice. They are taxing.
Specific hotels are mentioned in descriptions of the specific cities.
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