Almaty saw a boom in accommodation since 2015. Together with the falling rates of the tenge, it made staying in the city much more affordable than before.
Best neighbourhoods to stay
Try to stay central. The metro has limited reach and traffic jams are almost everywhere. If you can avoid transport, you should.
So what does central mean?
Panfilov street, running between the metro stations of Almaly and Zhibek Zholy, is about as central as it gets. We drew a circle of 1,5 km radius from there, constituting a 20-minute walk. We then moved the circle slightly east, because east of Dostyk lies a quiet, low-density residential district with a number of pleasant guesthouses; it’s better than the anonymous Soviet blocks that are found west of the circle.
The area right around the Green Bazaar is very noisy. Avoid that. As you go further north, the city gets shabbier. On the other hand, south of the circle, the architecture gets progressively more upmarket as you go uphill towards the mountains. Some of the most luxurious hotels can be found in this region. The drive to the center is not more than 10 minutes from the well-maintained Dostyk boulevard. Not a bad option either, if you have the budget.
Almaty experienced a boom in hostels in the years 2015-2020, often in rented properties. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a wave of bankruptcies. We are waiting to update this section to see who will have survived.
20 – 100$
Turkestan Hotel: The cheapest hotel in town, and not bad price/value. Located in the heart of Almaty, it is a Soviet-style hotel: receptionists can be helpful or grumpy, rooms are small and not meticulously cleaned, with only one plug. It is also noisy due to its location. On the upside, the heating works, showers are good and beds are comfortable.
Guest House on Sadovaya: Run by a sweet, extremely helpful family with basic English skills, delivers a wonderful home-away-from-home type stay. Located in the heart of the city, but no nightly noise. Airport transfers are free of charge. Breakfast is varied and filling, wifi is free and fast. Big rooms, big bathroom, air conditioning and an outdoor pool.
Salem on Tulebaeva: Salem is another decent budget hotel. On the upside, rooms are newly decorated and very clean and the location is perfect. Staff don’t speak any English, but they are very friendly and helpful. Main issue is noise: Kazakhs staying here tend to be loud, and the nearby Central Mosque might wake you up with speakers blaring prayers.
D’Rami Mini-Hotel: In the center of Almaty, D’Rami features very stylish rooms and a caring owner. Downsides: lack of breakfast and the somewhat small, noisy rooms (only 2 are ensuite). This is more than made up for by the exceptionally friendly staff and the perfect location. For this price, it is as good as it gets in Almaty.
Kuze Hotel: A good option if you are looking for an airport hotel. Kuze offers basic rooms, basic service and basic breakfast for a decent price. It is close to Almaty-1 train station, though this is not the best neighborhood in Almaty. It is clean, though, and there is free wifi.
100 – 200$
Worldhotel Saltanat Almaty: Best hotel in Almaty? Quiet, modern, ideally located and with an affordable price tag, the Saltanat is currently the best hotel in Almaty for business travelers. All amenities (excellent beds, modern furniture, great wifi and up-to-date tv sets) and knowledgeable staff. Also best place for business functions and conferences.
Holiday Inn: Excellent for business travelers. Close to the main conference and exhibition halls of the city, good service, a tasty breakfast and clean, comfortable rooms make this a safe bet when traveling to Almaty on business. Adding to the appeal of the Holiday Inn: business center, an atmospheric bar and a well-equipped gym. Suites offer thrilling views of the mountains through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Voyage Hotel: Stylish hotel with excellent staff and a pleasant mood. Centrally located near the opera, the rooftop café is clean and not overpriced, offering panoramic views over the city. Spacious, elegant rooms. Breakfast is nothing special though, and the free wifi signal occasionally drops.
Iris Hotel: New hotel, furnished accordingly. Friendly staff, central location, good breakfast, free wifi works. Aside from breakfast, the restaurant staff also turns out great food for lunch and dinner at affordable prices.
Best Western Plus Atakent: Located right next to the Atakent exhibition center, this is another good business-oriented hotel. Clean rooms, service-minded, friendly staff with good English and a wide choice at the breakfast table make for a great option for those heading for an exhibition.
Kazzhol Hotel: Not up to standards in terms of recent furnishing, but everything works (except occasionally the wifi) and rooms are decent for this price. In walking distance of all sights and the business district. The staff is a great help and speaks good English. The breakfast buffet is excellent and offers a large choice. The gym and spa are quite a poor sight, but the indoor swimming pool is a nice extra.
There are 5 good luxury hotels in Almaty. Ritz-Carlton is the newest, best located and most outstanding of the five. Royal Tulip is another great option, a bit further from the center nearer the mountains. Rixos and InterContinental offer the best value for money with great relaxation (and at Intercontinental, dining options), right in the heart of town, although Intercontinental is showing its age. Donatello is the first and so far only boutique option.
Room prices at these hotels start at 200$-400$ and go up to 300-1000$ for higher-end rooms.