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Review of Otrar

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Otrar
Ranked #30 of 75 Hotels in Almaty
Reviewed November 18, 2012

A very 1950's style hotel firmly fixed in a past era. It certainly requires a comprehensive make over in order to bring it into the realms of a four star hotel. This does not include just the decor but also the staff who could start by smiling.
There is a bar/coffee bar in the reception area but the variety of refreshments was very limited and there was no milk available to serve with coffee from the capsule coffee machine.
Breakfast was very simple but didn't vary the three mornings I stayed and coffee was 'serve yourself' instant. My room number was only checked once.
The room was adequate and the bed firm but comfortable. It was also good to see English language TV programmes were available.
Pluses have to be that wi-fi was excellent throughout the hotel. Very refreshing given that even higher level hotels either charge or limit the availability. The hotels location was good and made life easier.
Also, laundry was free with excellent service.
Overall, there was nothing wrong with the hotel but we do expect such a place to have kept pace with international standards over the last fifty years.

Room Tip: It seems there may be two choices of view, mountains or drab city - would suggest you make request o...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Stephen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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40 - 46 of 102 reviews

Reviewed November 11, 2012

First of all - do not believe in "4 stars" grade of this hotel! I would give it maximum 2... Central location is the only plus of this hotel, the rest is ugly... Interior, starting from the main entrance, lobby, restaurant, up to the room's furniture reminds Old Soviet times - nothing's changed since that moment. Receptionists are so much concentrated on paperwork and getting money from customers, that do not pay attention at customers at all - nothign to talk about the smile, what must be their main attribute... Breakfast menu, bathroom's equipment and many other things leave much to be desired... I cannot recommend this hotel to anyone, excepting those "extreme travellers", who want to experience the service of old Soviet hotel...

Room Tip: Advice is only one - do not stay here!
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank Roman R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2012

I have stayed a few times at the Otrar in 2011/2012 for business trips.

The girls on reception are charming and friendly and most of them speak English.
Wi-Fi is available, not always reliable, but free of charge.

Hotel management is very Soviet-era, but they have an excellent Travel-Agency on the ground floor, and they also have sauna in the basement.

I only ever eat breakfast there because the kitchen produces food that I would more expect to see in an English transport-cafe.

Excellent location beside Panilov Park, and easy walking distance to nearby supermarket, patisserie, KFC and the SOHO club which features the best live cover-band that I have heard in years. Playing everything from Heavy Metal, through classic rock, to Latino, Pink Floyd, Beatles, etc.
Brilliant
So I overlook the shortcomings in the hotel which are outweighed by the better things.

Room Tip: Worth paying the small premium for Exec. room
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank Derek F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2012 via mobile

This is the usual hotel our partner in Kazakhstan books for us. With the discount spent 17,000 tenge breakfast included (around 115 USD).
From the exterior the hotel is ok, comparable to most soviet era built hotels.
Lobby is clean and ok. The staff at the reception is friendly and the employees are helpful except the security guards who are very rood at times.
The rooms are way below average. The room doors are very light, closing them leaves gaps, so if your room is close to the bar it gets very noisy at times.
Do not expect your usual hotel furniture. Had to improvise with the one of the cabinets to work on my laptop. Electrical plugs are badly located so I would suggest to have an extension cord. Every lamp in the room has its own switch located all over the room, so to turn or switch the lights off you would need to make a walk around the room flipping the switches.
The rooms overall are visually clean, although beds and furniture looks decades old. The bathroom is very basic soviet style. On my last trip it seems they had trouble with their water circuits, as every time I would open the tap I had orange colored water flowing for around 10 minutes. Note this never happened on my earlier trips.
Beds are very uncomfortable and narrow, but I guess if you are a frequent traveler to eastern Europe you would know these beds.
Overall it's a hotel I can deal with, but not at all a comfortable stay. Definitely looking at other options for my next visit, I guess for an extra 100 USD I'll manage to find a better option.

  • Stayed: May 2012
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Thank Rnajm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2012

I spent 2 nights here and found the hotel quite pleasant. The air conditioning worked well but the minibar frig did not cool at all. Television was mostly local language stations though BBC was available. Not enough closet space. Two robes provided along with shampoo. No conditioner. The bathroom was perfect. Good room lighting, 220V plugs only so a converter was mandatory.

The staff speaks good English but my passable Russian certainly helped. We had a standard room with twin beds, comfortable. Wireless works in the lobby but not in the rooms; but it may also depend on your device as to if it works at all. There is no pool. We had room 401 on this 5 floor property. Both breakfast and lunch were commendable, especially the fresh veggies. This seems like a new hotel. Free bottled water provided on each floor in the central area. Balcony with each room. Quiet sleep! Altogether I highly recommend staying here.

Room Tip: End room, high floor. But if you are not a smoker, you cannot avoid the smoke in the halls.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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Thank PDM77059
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2011

I stayed there only two days but it was enough to feel how poor the service is there. It looks like they get many customers who leave without paying because they made me pay for all my stay during check in. Since the moment I checked in and until my check out all reception talked to me about was "Are you really checking out by 12 o'clock on 16 June?" In fact, it was the only thing I heard from reception during all 2 days of my stay. I haven't been offered anything or asked how I liked the hotel, etc.

The food at Otrar is bad as well. Everything I tried there (breakfasts and a very strange "burger") was either too deeply fried, too salty or otherwise ruined. I would recommend to eat there.

There must be a good part in everything. For this hotel it's cleanliness. Everything in the rooms is clean. Cleaning is regular and of high quality.

The condition of rooms is ok. The location is not bad - it's in the city's old downtown area surrounded by many offices, shops, restaurants. Wifi Internet is not free and is rather expensive.

That's pretty much all I can say about the place.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled on business
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4  Thank Tatar_KZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2010

The Hotel Otrar isn't fancy and it certainly isn't well set up to support business travelers; however, I think it is a great choice for tourists who want a local experience and easy access to tourist sights.

The property is right next to Panfilov Park and is in easy walking distance of Almaty's major tourist sights and restaurants. The external facade is very Soviet but the interior has a somewhat charming Russian feel to it (e.g., marble, dark red fabrics, and chandeliers). Beds are reasonably comfortable and showers are hot. The property serves primarily Russian and Kazakh food. Front desk staff are helpful but English skills are somewhat limited. Internet service is painfully slow but very cheap.

I'm sure the Hyatt, Marriott and Intercontinental are nicer; however, they are US chains and are inconvenient for tourists given their location in the business district. That said, given the slow internet access at the Hotel Otrar, it would be almost impossible to work here.

  • Stayed: April 2010
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2  Thank Japan_Gaijin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Otrar

Address: Gogolya St., 73 | corner of Kunaeva St., Almaty 50004, Kazakhstan
Location: Kazakhstan > Almaty
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #30 of 75 Hotels in Almaty
Price Range: $45 - $57 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Otrar 4*
Number of rooms: 161
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The hotel is located in the downtown Almaty, near to a park zone, business and shopping centers, at a distance of 5 minutes from "Акбота"-entertainment park & city zoo, 20 minutes from the airport and 5 minutes from railway station. From windows of hotel you may enjoy the perfect panorama of Zailijski Alatau mountains in combination of the Museum of musical instruments and golden domes of Zenkov Cathedral. ... more   less 
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