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It may be the world’s ninth largest country but it is still a mystery to most. A hangover from the Silk Road, Kazakhstan remains a melting pot of religion and culture. Gilded minarets sit next to towering steeples, whilst market places are awash with foreign spices and Chinese goods. It is understandable therefore, that some of the best places to stay in Kazakhstan are a wonderful blend of modern and the traditional.

Large oil and gas reserves make Kazakhstan more affluent than many of ‘the stans’. Evident as you approach Astana’s futuristic skyline, rising out of the northern steppe. President for over 25 years, Nursultan Nazarbayev raised this country from the rubble, including moving the capital, to the country’s geographical centre, Almaty.

In summer the climate is a pleasant 30°C, plummeting to -30s in the winter months. This makes for excellent skiing at Shymbulak resort, just outside Almaty. Or why not visit during the spring festival of Nauryz and witness formidable Kazakh horsemen demonstrating their falconry skills.

Far removed from Borat’s infamous depiction, you will be pleasantly surprised by the modernity, diverse cultures and thriving arts scene. As with most of Asia, Kazakhstan is a country of contrasts. You can travel from shopping malls to shrublands in a matter of miles. Some of the best places to stay in Kazakhstan have both, right on your doorstep. If you love the great outdoors and have a sense of adventure then it may just be the destination for you.

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The best hotels in Kazakhstan

See all » 4 hotels in Almaty

  • Worldhotel Saltanat Almaty


    Renovated in 2010, Saltanat's sleek interiors attract an international crowd. Modern rooms are decorated in neutral palettes with pops of colour, featuring laptops and stylish bathrooms. There is a gym and restaurant and you are walking distance from the dining and boutiques of Almaty's 'Old Town'.

    60 rooms from $182
    Local markets  -  Barakholka market displays trash and treasures from all over the world.
    Sights nearby  -  Take the cable car up to Kök-Töbe for views across the city.
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
  • Dostyk Hotel


    Listed hotel located on the historic 'Gold Square'. Rooms are contemporary with polished wood floors and brightly upholstered sitting areas featuring large, mosaic tiled bathrooms. Orange restaurant serves gourmet Kazakh cuisine and Bastau Bar fine cocktails. There is a hammam, indoor pool and gym.

    72 rooms from $240
    Local markets  -  Almaty's largest, green Market has delicious dried fruits and nuts, some less appetising snacks and bargain Chinese goods.
    Great walks  -  Meander through leafy Panfilov Park and stop off at Zenkov Cathedral.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the Central Mosque, especially during Call to Prayer.
    Birdwatching  -  Good birding near the hotel.

See all » 4 hotels in Astana

  • Kazzhol


    Walking distance from many of Astana's attractions this modern hotel has a boutique feel. Rooms are decorated in creams and blues with exposed brick and antique pictures. 'Fergana' serves traditional Uzbek dishes; continental meals are also available. There is a billiards room, spa, gym and pool.

    71 rooms from $159
    Sights nearby  -  Towering above the rest of the city and with panoramic views the Bayterek is a short walk away.
    Sailing  -  A tour of the city along the Ishim River is a pleasant way to see Astana.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Full of character
  • Park Inn


    Providing guests with a contemporary stay, bright and airy rooms are decorated with primary colour accents and feature modern bathrooms. There is a gym and a restaurant serving modern cuisine including a buffet breakfast. Abundant meeting and conference facilities make it ideal for business travel.

    248 rooms from $170
    Birdwatching  -  A day trip from Astana the Korgalzhyn Natural Reserve is home to pink flamingoes, pelicans and a variety of flora and fauna.
    Sights nearby  -  Another Norman Foster creation, Khan Shatyr houses a sandy beach, monorail and much more under its tent-like exterior.
    Sailing  -  Explore this city of architectural wonder from the Ishim river.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
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