I was a first-time visitor to Iran, and it's for business. First thing first, I want to state categorically that those of us who has been watching too much CNN or ABC/NBC coverage of Iran will find that this country is very different from what has been portrayed on our TV screen. The people are friendly, it has a functioning government and civil service, it possesses a sound infrastructure and people live in relative peace and abundance.
But if you're looking for entertainment or nice, posh restaurants to dine away while doing business in Iran, you'd be disappointed. Which is why the Raamtin is so valuable as a gem for a foreign visitor.
First, this hotel exudes a sort of boutique-style charm. It may not be very posh or pretty, but it's definitely a nice outfit. This hotel reminds me of the little pensions found in the quainter parts of major European cities, in terms of decor and in terms of cosiness.
The layout of the room is a breath of fresh air, not small and not in the typical style of western hotel rooms. It was a waste I did not bring any DVDs to watch to while my time away at night, as a DVD player was provided in the room free of charge. Of course you may rent DVDs from the reception but I was in no mood to spend too much.
The room was a clean and adequate. But I must say the layout of the bathroom was not too intelligent. The toilet bowl was placed in an awkward position just before the shower area, and there was no bathtub (not a major issue to me though). The toiletries were adequate but nothing to rave about.
Otherwise, everything works in the room and compared to the bigger hotels (which I visited as my colleagues and contacts were staying in the Homer and the Estagelal) the Raamtin is definitely more intimate and more cosy.
The location of the Raamtin is also good for some shopping of local products, e.g. nuts and confectionery. There is also a nice restaurant selling upmarket Iranian food within 3-5 mins walking distance (I forgot the name) and I enjoyed myself tremendously there.
From the shops, the parks and the restaurants in the vicinity of the Raamtin, it's not difficult to conclude that the hotel is located in a rich part of Tehran. Coupled with the warmth of the people of Iran, I think this makes for a good stay in a city not used to welcoming too many businessmen or foreign visitors.
And yes, two things to act as a caveat: 1. the internet speed in Iran is dreadfully slow, even with free WiFi throughout Tehran. This is something you'd have to accept there. 2. Credit cards are NOT accepted in Iran. So bring with (literally) stashes of cash, preferably US dollars. Again, you'd just need to get used to this.... too bad.