Lonely Planet review
With the sheer number of Syrian and other Arab women staying here on shopping excursions, this is one budget hotel in the Al-Shouhada Square district where solo women travellers will feel safe.
Al-Rais may have an institutional feel to it but the simple rooms are light and bright, and come with a fan and a small television. It's clean too, even if the grandmotherly cleaner we met here took her cigarette out of her mouth and stubbed it out in the shower to greet us. As the hotel caters to a lot of groups, the triples are significantly more spacious than the doubles and singles. The staff are friendly and the sweet old man on the reception desk is happy to show you some rooms, although he only speaks Arabic and French - make sure you pack that phrase book, or be really good at miming. You probably won't want to ask him to help you with your bags either, so be prepared to hump your gear up a couple of long flights of stairs.