Intriguing: Marriott’s Azerbaijan Ski Resorts

Intriguing: Marriott’s Azerbaijan Ski Resorts

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While the major global hotel groups have thousands of properties, I’d like to think that I’m at least familiar with most of the aspirational ones. Along those lines, I just came across two fascinating Marriott properties that I’m surprised I wasn’t aware of. I’m not quite ready to plan a trip there yet, but I’d sure love to learn more, and I’m curious if any OMAAT readers have been.

Marriott’s two Autograph Collection hotels in Shahdag, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a beautiful country with a lot of natural beauty, but I didn’t realize that Marriott had two ski resorts there, both belonging to Autograph Collection. They’re both located in Shahdag Mountain Resort, about a three hour drive from the capital city of Baku. Shahdag is located close to the border with Russia, near Dagestan. Okay, maybe it’s not an ideal time to travel here (on multiple levels), but I’m still curious.

The properties include the 167-room Pik Palace Shahdag, and the 164-room Park Chalet Shahdag. The former is described as being inspired by the surrounding mountains, while the latter is described as being modeled on European Alpine architecture, with stylistic influences from Aspen ski lodge developments.

These hotels don’t actually get particularly good reviews on Marriott’s website or Tripadvisor, though they’re also quite cheap, including during peak ski season. For example, I see rates of $140 per night in January and February, which is just ever-so-slightly cheaper than Aspen.

Pik Palace Shahdag rates

Has anyone been to this region of Azerbaijan?

While I doubt I’ll make it to either of these hotels in the near future, I’m fascinated. I’ve flown over this part of Azerbaijan and remember how gorgeous the terrain is, so I’m sure the skiing is pretty cool too. But it’s everything else that fascinates me:

  • How are these two hotels actually?
  • Are the visitors mostly people making weekend trips from Baku and/or Russians, or what’s the crowd at this property?
  • What’s the aprés ski vibe like?
  • I’d almost rather do this as a summer destination and go hiking, if that’s a thing here?
Pik Palace Shahdag exterior

Bottom line

I’d like to think that I was familiar with virtually all of the ski resorts belonging to the major points hotel groups, but clearly that’s not the case. As it turns out, Marriott has two Autograph Collection ski resorts in Shahdag, Azerbaijan, which look kind of cool. They’re affordable, and while I’m probably not going to make it here anytime soon, I sure am interested.

Anyone know more about these two resorts?

Conversations (25)
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  1. BritInUAE Guest

    Both really nice hotels - been on four trips to Shahdag. The value for money is incredible, ski passes and food and drink all incredibly cheap. Tends to be the "go to" for Westerners in the GCC (especially Dubai) during the Feb half term because of ease of travel time. Never felt unsafe. despite being on the border with Russia, and whilst it does not compare to Europe on size of terrain or apres, is...

    Both really nice hotels - been on four trips to Shahdag. The value for money is incredible, ski passes and food and drink all incredibly cheap. Tends to be the "go to" for Westerners in the GCC (especially Dubai) during the Feb half term because of ease of travel time. Never felt unsafe. despite being on the border with Russia, and whilst it does not compare to Europe on size of terrain or apres, is always an enjoyable 5 days or so. The Ski in / ski out feature makes it incredibly easy, and with all facilities within 100m of the hotel, is very good for families & beginners.

  2. notsosmart Guest

    As a ski nomad, I am fascinated by this! I’m married to Starwood/Marriott, and while I don’t have St. Regis Aspen money anymore, I would LOVE to check these two hotels out.

    I’m not going to comment on the politics of the country. I live in the United States after all, and we’re not exactly the shining beacon on the hill that everyone here believes we are.

  3. Gustavo Guest

    Unfortunately the country is led by a very questionable regime. People full of hate and delusional. Flew once there years ago won't ever return. I believe if you want to visit that region go to Georgia or Armenia. Not dictator oil run countries but friendly free people !

  4. Aida Guest

    I’ve been to both hotels, and thought they were wonderfull, nice local food, friendly and helpful staff. Scenery is amazing and slopes are easy for beginners. You can rent any gear you need there too. But who would trust my opinion, I’m Azeri, aggressive and violent. After Armenians killed thousands of our people and forced 1 million to leave their homes in Karabakh in 1990 with the help of Russian army, we only waited for...

    I’ve been to both hotels, and thought they were wonderfull, nice local food, friendly and helpful staff. Scenery is amazing and slopes are easy for beginners. You can rent any gear you need there too. But who would trust my opinion, I’m Azeri, aggressive and violent. After Armenians killed thousands of our people and forced 1 million to leave their homes in Karabakh in 1990 with the help of Russian army, we only waited for 30 years for UN to solve the problem and return our people home. UN recognaized the land as Azeri but wouldn’t do anything. Well, being super aggressive we decided that 30 years was enough and took it back ourselves without killing any civilians. Our ‘violent’ government offered Armenians to stay, become Azeri citizens and obey our laws, instead of some unrecognised ones. They refused and left (apart from a few old folks who used to live like this 30 years ago and know from their own experience it is ok). Well, we are now an aggressive tourist destination who committed a genocide without killing anyone.
    I thought the purpose of travel is going places and seeing it for yourselves, experiencing for yourselves, learning. The purpose of reviews and blogs to avoid underwater stones and enhance the experience. Shame we have to propagate against and for tourist destination basted on nationally non-acceptance.

  5. Matt Rj Guest

    Stayed at Pik Palace and it was alright, we had problems with our stay and their guest recovery response was to give our small group a bunch of mud and private use of the hamam private room. It was awesome. Ski vibe was hilarious. People from Baku taking pictures of themselves in skis but not skiing.

  6. Matt R Guest

    Stayed at Pik Palace and it was alright, we had problems with our stay and their guest recovery response was to give our small group a bunch of mud and private use of the hamam private room. It was awesome. Ski vibe was hilarious. People from Baku taking pictures of themselves in skis but not skiing.

    1. UAE4EVER Guest

      Booked it for the New Year , for the whole family, will keep you posted ...
      As for Azerbaijan being a beautiful country , IT IS , regardless of the politics, food and ppl are amazing and welcoming

  7. Mohammad Guest

    I have been to the Pik Palace last new years.

    It is the best place to learn skiing (super cheap lessons, rentals, etc), food was good, service was good. Apres ski on the quiet side. Highly recommended for touching on your ski skills but as noted by others: the resort does not compare from a size perspective to Europe.

  8. Tony Guest

    It’s crazy because I don’t understand it how can the country of war and violence like Azerbaijan trying for invite tourists into Azerbaijan. I mean we’re o even haven’t kind of guarantee of our save place.

    Meanwhile, I guess is just of part of big game of Azerbaijan for make this horror country pleasurable place for others people.

    Shame on you all for killed Armenians and others peaceful nations

    1. Aida Guest

      It’s amazing how some people make an opinion of a place based on their local media propaganda but no personal experience. Azerbaijan is the least aggressive country with least aggressive people in the region and patiently waited for the conflict resolution by big players for 30 years. We had 1 million people misplaces from the Karabakh, hundred thousands killed by Armenians with help of Russian military in 1990th. We didn’t yell about it in media,...

      It’s amazing how some people make an opinion of a place based on their local media propaganda but no personal experience. Azerbaijan is the least aggressive country with least aggressive people in the region and patiently waited for the conflict resolution by big players for 30 years. We had 1 million people misplaces from the Karabakh, hundred thousands killed by Armenians with help of Russian military in 1990th. We didn’t yell about it in media, we applied to UN court and patiently waited for 30 years for your big countries to help us to return our land which everyone recognized as Azeri ☝️ Now Azerbaijan took over what was theirs without killing any civilians and yet someone calls it a G word. Thousands of expats live in Azerbaijan and love it. It is a welcoming country with friendly people. We do lack of service culture in the hotels but it will come. People who were brained washed by Armenian propaganda are welcome to come and see for themselves, no need to agressivily propagate against it.

  9. Dan Guest

    Get over your self folks. Go where you want. Even if you pay tax to a dodgy government. Most of that is going to the citizens biz.

  10. Thank you Ben Guest

    Absolutely wonderful review! As far as controversy is concerned, you can find Good things to say about Israel also.

  11. Diego Dave Guest

    "Azerbaijan is an incredible country..."

    Sure, and Azerbaijan just chased ~80,000 ethnic Armenians out of their homeland Nagorno-Karabakh, an act that many consider to be another genocide. I won't be visiting Azerbaijan anytime soon, no matter how cheap the points hotels.

    1. Engel Member

      He's got you on that one Ben.

    2. DiogenesTheCynic Member

      Yep, you can write about a place and call it beautiful without directly complimenting a country that many argue just committed genocide.

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Diego Dave -- Totally fair, I'm sorry. My intent was to say it's a beautiful country with great food and (well, mostly) friendly people.

    4. Karo Member

      Ben, your passion for Turkey and Turkish-related hotels and vacations is well known. Now you talk about Turkey's little brother. Cool, no need to find excuses. If you find its people-friendly, I suggest you watch videos of what its soldiers did to Armenian captives. Big disappointment in you and bye.

    5. Karo Member

      Friendly? As long as you pay generously and don't talk about your sexual orientation.

    6. T. Davis Guest

      I was there in September with my partner. We shared a bed and nobody even flinched. No issues at all. We were treated extremely well and never felt any sort of discrimination. This isn't Iran, Uganda or Egypt.
      I feel less comfortable in many part of the US.

    7. Guy Guest

      Next time you go, casually mention that you're Armenian and see if the service level stays the same.

    8. T. Davis Guest

      The UN and nearly every country in the world disagrees with you. The land is part of Azerbaijan. The Armenians wanted to make this land part of Armenia-essentially carving out a piece of the country for themselves. They are more than welcome to stay where they are but will need to take Azerbaijani citizenship, which they refuse. Can you imagine if ethnic Mexicans decided that five counties in Texas are now part of Mexico? I...

      The UN and nearly every country in the world disagrees with you. The land is part of Azerbaijan. The Armenians wanted to make this land part of Armenia-essentially carving out a piece of the country for themselves. They are more than welcome to stay where they are but will need to take Azerbaijani citizenship, which they refuse. Can you imagine if ethnic Mexicans decided that five counties in Texas are now part of Mexico? I doubt the American government would be very agreeable to that situation. There was no genocide and comparing this situation to that level of atrocity is simply ridiculous. Now back to travel.....Azerbaijan is a wonderful country for tourism.

  12. Lara S. Guest

    It is funny now but wasn't at the time- but the week before the first Marriott was opening here we had a conference with local government but because we were a week too early, we had to stay at a nearby former USSR summer olympics training camp. It was all you'd expect.

  13. Josh Guest

    I'm currently booked for 2 nights at Park Chalet in Shahdag in February for 16k pts/night. We're from the US and just wanted to explore Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and using Skiing as an excuse! Very excited and really not concerned about the safety of the area....but I'm guessing it's not going to be like Vail :-D

  14. betterbub Diamond

    At first glance at Shahdag's ski trail map it looks like a mediocre resort, to be honest. I counted fewer than 30 trails total and the elevation doesn't seem like anything to travel abroad for.

  15. T. Davis Guest

    I have not been to Shahdaq specifically but I was in Tufandaq in September and it's absolutely beautiful. Its just south in Gabala so just at the start of the same mountain range as Shahdaq. As you mentioned, Azerbaijan is amazing. Beautiful landscapes, very friendly people, good food. Can't wait to go back.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Diego Dave -- Totally fair, I'm sorry. My intent was to say it's a beautiful country with great food and (well, mostly) friendly people.

3
Diego Dave Guest

"Azerbaijan is an incredible country..." Sure, and Azerbaijan just chased ~80,000 ethnic Armenians out of their homeland Nagorno-Karabakh, an act that many consider to be another genocide. I won't be visiting Azerbaijan anytime soon, no matter how cheap the points hotels.

3
Aida Guest

I’ve been to both hotels, and thought they were wonderfull, nice local food, friendly and helpful staff. Scenery is amazing and slopes are easy for beginners. You can rent any gear you need there too. But who would trust my opinion, I’m Azeri, aggressive and violent. After Armenians killed thousands of our people and forced 1 million to leave their homes in Karabakh in 1990 with the help of Russian army, we only waited for 30 years for UN to solve the problem and return our people home. UN recognaized the land as Azeri but wouldn’t do anything. Well, being super aggressive we decided that 30 years was enough and took it back ourselves without killing any civilians. Our ‘violent’ government offered Armenians to stay, become Azeri citizens and obey our laws, instead of some unrecognised ones. They refused and left (apart from a few old folks who used to live like this 30 years ago and know from their own experience it is ok). Well, we are now an aggressive tourist destination who committed a genocide without killing anyone. I thought the purpose of travel is going places and seeing it for yourselves, experiencing for yourselves, learning. The purpose of reviews and blogs to avoid underwater stones and enhance the experience. Shame we have to propagate against and for tourist destination basted on nationally non-acceptance.

2
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