A Five-Star Hotel, Courtesy of ISIS

You won’t be able to reserve a room ahead of time with any of the major online sites if you want to stay at Mosul’s Ninawa International Hotel. Orbitz announces it doesn’t support bookings anywhere in Iraq, and Booking.com without explanation reverts immediately to the original search page when you enter “Mosul, Iraq.” But old Trip Advisor reviews say it is well worth the stay—or certainly was before the jihadists stormed into town last year.

No doubt if you motor there from Baghdad or Erbil, braving front-lines, dodging airstrikes, navigating Shia militias and talking your way through checkpoints manned by crazed abduction-minded jihadists, you should find a warm welcome with open—or possibly cocked—arms at this five-star palace in Iraq’s bustling second largest city.

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