Destination Inspiration: Baku, Azerbaijan

Destination Inspiration: Baku, Azerbaijan

A design destination to watch, this stellar capital promises a feast for the senses. Read on for the inside scoop on where to find Baku’s best bits – plus the essentials to pack.


Baku, Azerbaijan.

Why now?

Azerbaijan is sandwiched between Georgia, Armenia and Turkey, at
the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, and bound by the
Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains. We’re making the historical and
dazzling capital, Baku, our base.

An ancient walled city dating back to the seventh century,
Baku’s cutting-edge architecture is a honeypot for design lovers
and creatives. Throw in its diverse culinary offering and myriad
shopping opportunities, and you’re looking at a destination that
offers a real feast for the senses. Spend mornings walking along
the sun-drenched promenade or join a walking tour to marvel at the
wonders of the old city.

Don’t miss

Ever find yourself lost in the rugs room at Liberty London?
Ditto. Azerbaijan Carpet Museum is on hand to fulfil all of
our flooring fantasies. Having taken 300 pictures of the
extraordinary rolled-up-rug exterior (no judgement), dive inside
for a close-up look at both historical and modern weaving
techniques – but be prepared to end up questioning every carpet
choice you’ve ever made. Music connoisseurs, meanwhile, should make
a beeline for the International Mugham Centre, whose aim is to
preserve this complex, centuries-old musical genre.

Baku Sunset
carpet museum baku

Where to stay?

Bed down at the Art Gallery Hotel. Just a short stroll from the
picture-perfect promenade and the iconic Fountain Square, this
30-bedroom hideout doubles up as an art showroom – hence the name.
Flaunting a sensational reception space, plant-clad walls, white
marble floors and blush-pink velvet chairs, you can be assured of a
first-class stay. Upstairs, two-floor soundproofed rooms (yep,
seriously) are decorated with artworks by world-renowned Azeri and
international artists. After peeling yourself off the Tempur-Pedic
mattress, slip downstairs to enjoy the tasty in-house breakfast

Where to go for dinner?

Sumakh might look like your average restaurant, but
don’t let the hard-faced exterior fool you. Inside, a happy
mish-mash of ceramic plates and oriential artefacts form a backdrop
to spacious tables that are made even more inviting by
super-comfortable seating and Aztec-print cushions. Truth be told,
we’d happily jump on a flight just to come and taste-test the
entire menu. Our order? The shah plov (a rich, traditional pilaf
known as the “king of dishes”), followed by a generous serving of
the succulent ribs or superb sturgeon.

And for a drink…

For a setting just as spectacular as its cocktails, head to
CaféCity. Home
to an elegant restaurant that conveniently backs onto the bar,
we’re pegging this as the perfect spot to pack in lunchtime dining
and evening tipples, all under one roof.

Baku Food
Gazelli Skincare

Who to take with you

A design lover. They’ll enjoy rambling around the city, taking
in the brilliant blend of old and new architecture.

When to go

Visit in September or October, when humidity levels have
plummeted and the temperature is comfortable. Alternatively,
embrace the scorching mid-summer sun and visit in June, when the
Azerbaijan Grand Prix and plenty of sunny music festivals take

Essentials to pack

The flight to Baku from London is just shy of six hours, which
means only one thing for us: dreaded skin dehydration. That’s why
we’ve partnered with skincare brand Gazelli to give new SUITCASE subscribers an indulgent,
carry-on-friendly gift that will ensure you’re still glowing even
after a long-haul trip. Simply sign up for an annual or biennial
SUITCASE subscription and you’ll receive the Gazelli Ultimate Firming Serum and the Gazelli Saviour Mask, with a combined value of £130.
Stock is limited, so act fast.

How to get there

Take a direct flight from London Heathrow to Baku Heydar Aliyev
International Airport, which is only 24km from the city centre.

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