Sandwiched between the fun and funky Riviera (see page 50) and the brand new and lavishly opulent Golden Coast (see below), it is perhaps no surprise that the old school and unrenovated five-star Crown retains something of a solid, post-Soviet feel. That said, the rooms are of a comfortable size, the classically elegant décor is pleasant enough, the sea views are lovelyand the service is efficient, if not exactly warm. The top floor restaurant has a good, solid menu and an expansive view out over the bay towards central Baku. The basement fitness centre with swimming pool is of a high standard and popular with guests and non-residents alike and yet still something just isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the 3 week-old copies of the FT at reception?