Latest posts by Mitra Gholami (see all)
Staying at Boutique Hotels of Kashan; Saraye Ameriha Boutique Hotel
After the two incredible experiences I had in Sayeh Saray and Sourijan boutique hotels, I am now excited to enter the most magnificent boutique hotel in Kashan, Saraye Ameriha. As the greatest boutique hotel and a national heritage of Iran, I must say that everything was as it was expected to be. All the elements were harmoniously elegant and noble: from the stunning architecture of the building to the rooms and the staff. However, the grandeur of architecture, within its meticulously ordered patterns and symmetrical paintings all over the walls and ornate ceilings, is the first thing that mesmerizes you.
Back to Qajar Era
This house is more than 300 years old, and it had experienced a long period of prosperity when it was the residence of the famous governor of Kashan, Saham-o-Saltaneh. As I learned from the staff who kindly responded to my questions, Saham-o-Saltaneh had been a significant political figure for his contribution to protecting the Silk Road and the central desert of Iran. One of the two main mansions of this grand hotel has been the room that the ruler used for his important meetings while the interior mansion embraced the family members. The governor’s heirs built more buildings around these two mansions, and now the whole complex includes seven buildings and courtyards. With the rise of Reza Shah Pahlavi, the family lost their political power, and the last heirs migrated from Iran.
Then, time brought the clouds of decay and ruination over this complex. Looters plunged into this structure and ruined a great deal of its grandeur to search for treasures and money. Finally, the government saved this historical memento and officially announced that it was a national heritage. Then, it was closed for renovation by one of the best organizations of architects in Iran.
The Secret Corridors and Unheard Stories
Later in the evening, the kind-hearted Communication specialist at the hotel took me on a magical mystery tour around the building. Besides taking me to every corner of the courtyards and mansions, he guided me to the cozy and beautiful café in the basement. Thanks to the genius Iranian architects who came up with the idea of wind towers in arid areas, this place was filled with cool, calming air. While I was drowned in fascination, my guide told me: “I have a little surprise for you.”
He led us to the end of a corridor where we found a window. He continued: “This house is built in a way to protect the governor and his family in times of danger. This window here takes us to the hidden room of the house.” We entered, and I was curiously looking around that I noticed another short window. “There, my friend, that’s the entrance to the second hidden room of the house.” I asked for permission and entered the room. He said: “You see that narrow corridor over there? It’s like one of those tunnels you’d see in a castle in a thriller movie. That’s a 12-meter-long tunnel that would lead to another tunnel that could take the governor out of the city walls in dangerous situations.” He was definitely right; the tunnel was scary and yet very fascinating.
Culture and Festivals Embedded in the Iranian Lifestyle
After the tour, we joined a group of people in the courtyard. They had gathered around two pots, one for making cinnamon extract and the other for pomegranate paste. But more interestingly, my companion told me they had gathered to make three wishes since it is part of the tradition of making cinnamon extract. Each person stepped forward, said what they wished for, and stepped back again. Experiencing part of a tradition practiced in Iranian culture was precisely one of the main things I sought in my three-day plan. It was a fun and friendly event. I remember very well that a young couple wished for having a baby, a woman wished her daughters success, and she continued wishing a suitable husband for her marriageable daughter. People’s wishes granted us extreme joy, and finally, we all had a great time drinking cinnamon syrup together.
All that I experienced among the Iranians, particularly in any of these three boutique hotels, has turned into magical lines of code in my brain’s memory. These memories were unique, from all the historical events I heard of to the gatherings I was part of. I must confess that my friend was right when he said I’ll enjoy this journey.