Overview of places where you can spend a night in Mestia. Mostly budget guesthouses since that's where I usually sleep but included also a couple of more expensive hotels.
Here, I would like to sum up my experience with various guesthouses in Mestia, the regional centre of Svaneti. I don´t claim these are the very best ones - I am sure there are many others which I´ve never heard of (for example, places mentioned below are not even in top 10 on Booking.com). For reference, I am just "a simple man of simple tastes" - preferring small, cozy places with good food and pleasant atmosphere, don´t care that much about facilities or wi-fi signal.
Also, as you will notice later, finding my ideal guesthouse is The Neverending Story. Because these small places I like the most tend to expand once they get successful, build new rooms until they lose their appeal to me (but can't blame them - these places are cheap, operate with small margins and expansion is the only way to increase profits). So I have to keep looking 🙂 Still, I hope that this post will make a ton of money help you when deciding about the accommodation. It covers the following categories:
The better part is devoted to the guesthouses. But before I get to them, I would like to mention two other options when it comes to the accommodation in Mestia, lying at the opposite sides of the price spectrum.
Hotels in Mestia
There are many places named "hotel" in Mestia but many of them don´t deserve the name, often it's just Beso renting his spare room. Then there are several small 3* hotels or varying quality (mostly converted from a living houses) and two true large hotels - Hotel Tetnuldi and Hotel Banguriani. I haven´t stayed there but have several friends who did and their experience was more or less the same. So, after further research, I think I can compare them to guesthouses.
2019 update A new hotel - Hotel Posta - was opened right at the main square. It's very modern, stylish and expensive. Could be an interesting option if you want to splurge, however, keep in mind that due to the location, it can be quite noisy even late in the evening.
Pros of Mestia hotels
Better facilities - both hotels offer more comfort compared to the average guesthouse. While in guesthouses, the rooms rarely have any furniture apart from a simple bed, in hotels, you can expect also a nightstand, closet and a table. Another bonus is a private bathroom and clean towels. And last, but not least, hotels have other facilities such as restaurant, reception, parking lot and usually also a better wi-fi.
Cons of Mestia hotels
More expensive - compared to the accommodation in guesthouses, both hotels are almost three times as expensive.
Usually worse food - both hotels feature a restaurant. That´s a slight advantage over guesthouses where you usually just order "a dinner" and hope for the best. However, according to my knowledge, the homemade food served in guesthouses has overall a higher both quality and quantity when compared to restaurants (and not only those in hotels).
The attitude of staff - staff at hotels are just an averagely paid employees and it shows. On the other side, guesthouse owners are developing their own business so have to care more about its reputation. Of course, there are some black sheep but overall, the attitude of guesthouse owners and their staff is better because of the much shorter "chain of command". At least in Mestia, where an unsatisfied tourist has countless other options.
Camping in Mestia
If you are on a low budget, you can spend nights in a tent. While I am aware of only one large designated campsite (Svanland), you can also build your own tent in many gardens for as little as 5 GEL. However, I see nothing attractive about camping in the middle of the city. While in more expensive countries can be camping a great way to save money, in Georgia, the price difference is not large enough to outweight a reduced comfort. Still, it could be a good option if you are on a really tight budget or plan to spend in Mestia prolonged period of time.
Budget guesthouses in Mestia
OK, and now to the guesthouses I experienced myself. In some cases, several years had passed since my last visit so I had to do additional research among my friends, readers, and the internet. Generally, all places below are considered to be "budget places" with prices around 20 GEL per person per night. However, several of them expanded in the last few years and now offer also some new, nice and more expensive rooms.
This pleasant little guesthouse is one of the first places I call when heading to Mestia. Irma and Aleko are great hosts who love what they do and it shows. Irma also speaks very good English and since she works at the tourist information office, know a lot about Svaneti. Aleko is a clever woodcrafter - most of the furniture in the guesthouse was made by him which is a pleasant change from the usual mass-produced stuff used elsewhere. Another advantage is the quality of food - both dinner and breakfast were great! The amount of food was adequate and after we finished most of it, Irma offered us to bring a repeat to make sure nobody is hungry.
The guesthouse lies at the eastern side of the river, behind the bridge. It takes some 10 minutes to walk there from the city center which could be inconvenient, but the location is very quiet.
Being one of the oldest guesthouses in Mestia, Nino Ratiani´s guesthouse keeps its high level of service and provides a great value for money. It´s quite large - in the past year, two new buildings were built close to the original guesthouse. The food is great, place clean and the staff helpful. Also, it´s very popular among hikers so it is a good pick if you want to meet some new people.
The only reason why I don´t stay there more often is that while the place is managed well, it misses that "homely feeling" and rather reminds a hostel (but that´s not a problem, just a matter of my personal preference).
Another famous Mestia guesthouse, lying in the hillside south of the main square. Because of the elevated position, it offers great views, but some people might be deterred by a climb on the rocky road (if you read this, you probably don´t travel with a roller bag, but if you do, this is not a place for you :)).
This is a place I used to visit in the past few years. I loved the house with an adjacent tower, nice terrace and evenings spent with other guests by the kitchen table. Unfortunately, some of this charm was lost when Roza opened a new hotel nearby. The place is new, modern and has nice garden with hammocks, but doesn´t "tick" with me, feels a bit sterile. And since most of the guests are placed in this new building, the old one was empty during our last stay. Also, the food was only mediocre (at least by Svaneti standards). I am not happy to write it because Roza and Vitia are genuinely very nice and welcoming people and I wish them only the best (Roza also speaks good English), but their guesthouse simply doesn´t suit me since they expanded. But that´s just me - I know many other people who love them because their new hotel offers great value for money - nice, new rooms for a very friendly price.
Pardon a cliché, but this is a hidden gem. The house is inconspicuous and unsigned so, during our first visit, we expected just some old, dusty rooms, but in the end, were pleasantly surprised - the rooms were clean and bathrooms renovated. But the greatest asset of this guesthouse is its owner Mery - kind, hard-working woman with infectious laughter. Also, she is a terrific cook - the dinners are a bit more pricey than usual (25 GEL) but beat all others we had in Svaneti (and the competition was really strong).
The guesthouse itself is located in the eastern part of Mestia, in a quiet location some 10 minutes away from a city center. It has no online presence, but you can contact them through an email.
Overall, this guesthouse provides a very good value for the money spent. The food tasty and abundant - and if you finish everything, owners tend to offer you more. Also, the rooms are nice (for the price) and the owners welcoming. I am not sure if we met Kristina at all, but Tamara, who was around most of the time was great, she even offered us her special medicine (the homemade, extra strong version of Jagermeister) when one of us caught a cold.
Like many others, they are also building another large hotel in the backyard - hopefully, they will be able to handle the expansion and keep their attitude and the level of service.
Manoni Ratiani is another traditional guesthouse (or rather a hostel) which keeps expanding, it seems they add a few more rooms every year. Haven't stayed there in a while since it's not of my style but I can't deny they provide a good value for money. Overall, it seems they have a similar business model as their relatives from the opposite side of the city. The Manoni's offers private rooms as well as a large dormitory with 15 beds. It's popular with hikers so it's a good place to meet some mates for Mestia - Ushguli trek.
A pretty nice guesthouse, conveniently located only some 50 meters away from the main square (making it the most accessible guesthouse from this list). Considering the location, it´s surprisingly quiet at night. It´s another advantages are nice rooms, fabulous breakfast and a couple of kind women owners (thinking about it now, all guesthouses on this list are operated by women) who also speak a little English. What´s a bit less convenient is the construction works going on in the garden - like many other successful guesthouses in town, also Marina´s guesthouse is expanding...
And now something completely different. This homestay is not situated in the city itself but in Lakhushdi, a small village several miles west of Mestia. The location is completely "off the beaten track" which has some advantages and some disadvantages. The moving around is obviously more complicated, even though the hosts do their best to assist you. On the other hand, you can enjoy the atmosphere of the real Svan village, unspoiled by tourism. The place has a very homely atmosphere - family is friendly (older members speak Russian, younger also English) and the beds are comfortable. The food is abundant, very tasty and mostly homegrown - it comes from a large garden and the farm with chicken, cows and pigs which also belong to the family running the guesthouse.
Upscale guesthouses in Mestia
Last, I would like to mention a few more luxurious guesthouses (or small hotels) so it doesn´t look that in Mestia are only budget places or large hotels. These places are new, modern and have a professional staff. While being cheaper than big hotels, they are still considerably more expensive compared to budget places. I wouldn´t land there after a trekking trip cos I am not too picky on these but would consider them if I travelled with kids or some more demanding family members. Out of many places available, I picked two where several of my friends stayed.
This small hotel does almost everything well - the rooms are modern, views from the balcony great and the staff very helpful and attentive. Another advantage is a very central location - the hotel lies almost at the Seti Square, yet the noise from the outside doesn´t pose a problem. There was only one thing I heard complaints about - the breakfast might have been better, especially considering the price.
Another nice small hotel, lying at a quite location in the hillside above the main road, some 5 minutes walk from the main square. The place is modern, after all, they opened only in 2018. It is owned by a friendly German - Georgian couple and it´s also somewhat reflected in the design of the rooms - while minimalistic, everything is cozy and spotlessly clean. Also, the beds are very comfortable which is unfortunately not the case in many Georgian guesthouses.
Disclaimer: This article contains links. Pointing to hotels and guesthouses. Most of them are them are Booking.com affiliate links - that means that if you click on them and book something, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you.