Five minutes beyond the popular institution Niayesh, is this little gem of a business. When I went on a hunch to pick this over Niayesh, I was never prepared for how right it would be.
Taha House is a traditional Iranian house recalibrated to give Shiraz visitors both private and dorm room options. The century-old structure welcomes you along with hospitality that is warm but never overwhelming.
Winding a little stretch past Niayesh, the compound tucks itself past a carpark with palms, and through the small door with colourful tassels, you’ll find a small courtyard with a traditional pond in the middle, surrounded by ochre walls inlaid with beautiful tiles.
Nothing here is affected, and yet from the orange tree to the colourful stained glass windows, it undeniably lends an impressive air of welcome.
My room wasn’t ready because the previous occupant was late from his tour, so I was greeted by the bright and giggly Elham and served some tea – one of the many cups to come. She briefed me on the house rules and introduced the popular sights to see, giving me a good overview of Shiraz. Her personal recommendation of Naranjestan Qavam later turned out to be spot on, and these are the kind of heartfelt tips you can expect from Taha, one that new travellers will find immensely helpful.
As Taha was only about 8 minutes away from the main street and about 15 minutes away from the Shah Cheragh complex, their location made it easy to get around the main tourist sites. The proximity meant I would frequently take walks towards the Vakil bazaar and sites, with the Pink Mosque and Citadel all within easy reach.
And yet because it’s a little tucked away, this meant you got a little taste of what it’s like to live in an Iranian neighbourhood.
My room was 106, and part of the windows were doors into the room themselves. The furnishings were sparse but homely, but most importantly, the bed and room was clean and comfortable. The radiator was working though a little weak for the 12-degree Celsius weather, but I tucked myself into the blankets and slept without a shiver.
My room came with a private bathroom that was really tiny. It had just enough space for a western-style bowl and tiny corner-sink, and showering meant everything got wet. Although small, it was at least functioning well and at US$25 for a single en-suite, I considered it well-worth the price.
Part of what makes Taha so exceptional is their network of trusted contacts. From English-speaking guides doing day trips to Persopolis, to masseurs and money exchange, the staff never fail to make your trip a seamless experience.
I remember asking about visiting a traditional bathhouse, and they readily told me their honest opinions, about how locals don’t really go there, but they never stopped me from trying it out, even offering to accompany me if I needed it.
Another great feature of Taha was also an unexpected one – their guests. It might be luck, but when I was there, I met the nicest and most interesting of travellers – no doubt attracted by then more intimate setting of Taha.
Sitting at the public compound in the hotel at one of the heated “salons”, I made some of my best travel friends on the trip, as we checked on each other’s progress and experience in Iran thus far, and made plans to share tours or to meet up if our itinerary coincided at some point.
Not to be outdone, brothers and owners Ahmad and Hamid would also come by and chat with me often, telling me personal stories, while forming a precious friendship. I most enjoyed Hamid’s animated insights to the local Iranian industry.
From the resident pigeon to the golden breakfast mornings, Taha has left an indelible yet value-for-money experience on me, and is truly a business with lots of heart. An incredibly entry to the accommodations in Shiraz.
Taha Traditional Hostel
No 43 Old Gha’ani Street
Sang Siah traditional way (Front of Armenian Church)
No. 43, Shiraz 71364, Iran
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