If you diminish your expectations, the Shirak will meet them. It's important to remember that the country has been suffering an embargo and closed borders with its 2 major neighbors for some 20 years. I still remember not that long ago turning on the water in a Yerevan hotel and having only bird feathers come out. So keeping it in perspective when staying at the Shirak is important.
The hotel is conveniently located a block and a half from Republic Square. At the time of my visit (I stayed there for 4 nights) there was construction going on, with the 2nd floor dining area being extended into the street. The elevator is indeed an adventure -- it's got these crazy push buttons floor calls that pop out and startle when the floor is reached -- but it gets you there. The staff is lingering in Soviet era visitor services: glum, indifferent and at times rude. For instance, the hotel offered laundry services through their housekeepers. I had a small pile of laundry done and when it was returned was asked by the housekeeper for $50, an enormous sum relative to other places. With a threat to go to the manager the price dropped to a more reasonable $10. In another instance, the building water was turned off, I assume due to the construction, without notice to the patrons. When asked about when services would be restored, the staff replied "when it is convenient."
The rooms are comfortable. The bathrooms were clean and in working order. The beds, sleepable. Did not experience ants as other reviewers have mentioned. The breakfasts were substantial and of good quality. The bar/cafe, a nice place to meet and visit. All-in-all I would stay there again, and limit expectations.
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