Astana hotels are ridiculously overpriced, but this one was an exception. It is far from cheap, but the prices will not take your breath away. Run out of the restaurant of the same name, the Al Sunkar is really just a few rooms upstairs; however, it offers a pleasant room near the central business area. (It's a rather long walk however from museums and tourist attractions near the presidential palace.) I did not eat at the restaurant , but it appears to be one of the city's more elegant. My room came with the amenities of a two or three star European hotel, but I could never get the air conditioner to work, so I spent a rather warm night. An excellent breakfast was included.
The drawback here is the language barrier and lack of a reception desk. One enters the restaurant's lobby. I later learned that there is a small business office off this hall, but it was closed when I arrived and remained so during most of my stay. I was lucky to find that one of the barkeeprs spoke a bit of English, but I had to wait a good half hour before he found someone to show me to my room. The beer was good though. The staff were friendly and courteous, but much use of the phrase book and pantomime were necessary to communicate. I had made reservations through Stantours in Almaty, and there are some online sites that can do this, albeit for a much bigger commission.
Reasonable price for Almaty
Outside the railway station, tourists often find apartments for rent. a couple of beds should set you back by 3500 KZT dpending on your russian. don't worry about haggling. There are brokers and sharks always waiting for unsuspecting tourists... be brave and ask them to show you the room...
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