After staying at Kazzhol twice, in July and August, and having read many reviews, my thoughts are that people should adjust their expectations according to their destination. Almaty is not New York or London, or even Phoenix or Pittsburgh. We were very happy with Kazzhol, especially on our return visit, when after 2 weeks traveling in Kazakhstan we were so looking forward to a quite, clean, comfortable experience, complete with hot water, pleasant and accomodating staff, good food, and comfortable beds. On the plus side, the best points for Kazzhol are: it's clean; the restaurante offers an excellent selection of good safe-to-eat food, especially for breakfast; there are several other decent eateries within walking distance; the staff are very friendly, helpful, and competent; many languages are spoken amongst the various staff, so even though they may need to track down the right person, they will find someone who can understand you; the decor is pleasant; and there is a good excercise room and pool. On the negative side: the hotel is a bit expensive for what you get; internet access was intermitent and often slow; hot water was intermitent during our 1st stay (but, I think that hot & cold water are city utilities, and the city was repairing water lines while we were there, so perhaps this is not a hotel problem). And yes, we were happier during our second visit than during the first, even though the experiences were similar - perspective is everything! Things that we accepted as part of the locale, as neither positive or negative: the rooms were small, and the bathrooms smaller; some rooms had baths with handheld showers and other rooms had shower stalls; handicapped persons might have problems betting around the hotel; some rooms had balconies or patios, but not furniture in those spaces; we had trouble making sure that our room had 2 seperate beds, and both times we had to re-arrange the furniture to put space between the twin beds; and the mattresses were softer than we liked, but well within "acceptable".
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