I first travelled to Iran in 1993 to open up new markets for my business. At the time the Ayatollah Khamenei was in power and I had to cover myself from head to toe — all in black, except for the area from hairline to jaw line. I was also not allowed adornment of any kind: no makeup and no jewellery.
These days, while Khamenei is still the supreme leader of Iran, President Hassan Rouhani is more relaxed about women’s dress code. A headscarf, a long loose top, and long pants are fine to wear. This new arrangement is much better for travelling, especially in summer when temperatures are high. Men wear long-sleeved, collared shirts and long pants.
As I often travel by myself, my hotel of choice is the Azadi Hotel in the more affluent northern part of Tehran, where the locals do not frown upon lone women travellers. The views over the city and the Alborz Mountains are spectacular! The Azadi has a good restaurant outside the front entrance, arranged around a lovely water feature. This is especially pleasant in the excruciating summer months. The the tempreatures cool down a bit in the evening and to sit outside sipping on fresh juice or iced tea is a treat. Bice, the Italian franchise, has a restaurant at the Azadi, and offers delicious Italian food.