Bishkek has a balanced accommodation scene. The pre-pandemic glut of cheap rental apartments and basic hostels has been reduced to normal proportions, but it is only a matter of time before oversupply returns; even the smelliest of hitchhikers is more profitable than a local tenant.
At the high end, the big chains are a disappointment as usual. Local alternatives are newer, more consistent and a good deal cheaper.
In the midrange, our favourite guesthouses have disappeared in the pandemic. Will they return? Luckily, some excellent hotels remain, as well as rental apartments all over town.
Best neighbourhoods to stay
While the mountain scenery may look like Switzerland, the sidewalks of Bishkek definitely bear little resemblance to those of Zurich. Nonetheless, Bishkek is, in its own way, a very strollable city. Make use of it by settling somewhere in the center. That center is an ill-defined area stretched along Chuy avenue, between Osh bazaar in the west and Ala-Too square in the east.
A lot of backpackers need to be close to the bus station. The north-south Jash (Maladaya) Gvardiya boulevard is a good marker in this case: about 15 minutes walk from the bus station, Osh Bazaar and the central museums and coffee houses.
Then again, Bishkek is not a metropolis, so if you decide to settle outside of the city center, it’s at most a 10-minute taxi ride into town.
Best budget accommodation in Bishkek
The coronavirus has shuttered our favourites in the budget category. We can’t give recommendations for hostels at present.
Best midrange accommodation in Bishkek
Bishkek has at least a dozen choice, often brand-new 3/4-star hotels with rooms on par with international standards around the 50-60 euro mark. The Garden Hotel wins it for us thanks to the breakfast and the proper workout room, while Navat offers a cosy respite from the onslaught of sleek surfaces and international-hotel-style of the rest of the pack.
If you would like the extra independence an apartment brings: Bishkek has plenty of choice, but the best ones do sell out quickly.
Best high-end accommodation in Bishkek
Understated elegance is not what the Orion Hotel is all about, but if you feel you are a Sultan in all but name, this is the place for you. The fitness centre and indoor swimming pool are the best in Bishkek, breakfast is opulent.
Just below the Orion Hotel in terms of services, with an aesthetic that is more toned down, the Garden Hotel & Spa is an excellent 4-star hotel at a competitive price, with free spa services and a good workout room. The Park Hotel is also really good: it has an indoor swimming pool, but its design choices are dated.
If you are looking for an apartment, the Prime Suites aparthotel is as good as it gets.