The Ritz-Carl­ton, As­tana

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Tried & Tested Hotel -

BACK­GROUND Four The ho­tel launched in June this year, in time for the open­ing of As­tana’s high­light Expo 2017 event. Part of a mixed-use devel­op­ment that is the first “green” build­ing in Kaza­khstan to meet Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign (LEED) stan­dards, it oc­cu­pies the first 18 floors of one of the two Talan Tow­ers smack in the middle of the city cen­tre. Above it are RitzCarl­ton res­i­dences on floors 19 to 25, while it is also con­nected to a three-storey, high-end shop­ping mall.

WHERE IS IT? In the new city dis­trict, at the south­east cor­ner of the large cen­tral square con­tain­ing As­tana’s iconic Baiterek tower. All the ma­jor gov­ern­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tive build­ings are within walk­ing dis­tance (or a short drive if the weather is in­clement) – this is prob­a­bly the best lo­ca­tion for busi­ness of any ho­tel in the city.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The spa­cious main lobby, with its high ceil­ing, cas­cad­ing cen­tral chan­de­lier, sweep­ing stair­case and com­bi­na­tion of light mar­ble, dark wood and gold ac­cents, makes a state­ment from the mo­ment you walk through the door. This prop­erty is all about top-end lux­ury and re­fine­ment.

Gold is used through­out the ho­tel as a nod to the coun­try’s an­cient Saka (Scythian) cul­ture, which de­vel­oped the work­ing of gold into a fine art more than 2,500 years ago. In­ter­est­ing art­works from lo­cal gal­leries are ev­ery­where – the owner of the build­ing is an avid art col­lec­tor with a large port­fo­lio, and has con­trib­uted some in­ter­na­tional works.

ROOM FA­CIL­I­TIES There are 157 rooms and suites spread across the fourth to 17th floors of the ho­tel, com­pris­ing two room types (both 40 sqm) and four suite types (rang­ing from 75 to 270 sqm). I was in an Ex­ec­u­tive Suite, a pala­tial space of 115 sqm with a clev­erly ex­e­cuted en­trance hall sep­a­rated from the liv­ing room by golden lat­tice screens.

RESTAU­RANTS AND BARS Øzen Lounge on the ground floor is long and thin, of­fer­ing all-lounge seat­ing be­neath a wooden slat de­sign that runs like a huge wave or rip­ple along the whole lounge. This is a pop­u­lar place in the evening with the city’s well-to-do, who come for the cock­tails – cre­ated by German mixol­o­gist Arnd Heis­sen – and Asian-Mediter­ranean food.

Mökki on the third floor is the all-day din­ing restau­rant, of­fer­ing “or­ganic, cos­mopoli­tan” cui­sine.

MEET­ING FA­CIL­I­TIES The Club Lounge is on the 14th floor, open to all Club-level guests. A long, thin space split into a few ar­eas, it has its own meet­ing room (avail­able to use on re­quest) and of­fers a good range of food of­fer­ings through­out the day. Staff here quickly learn to recog­nise you and use your first name, which is a good per­sonal touch.

LEISURE FA­CIL­I­TIES These are all on the third floor. The Ritz-Carl­ton Spa has five treat­ment rooms plus a suite for cou­ples, and of­fers lo­cally themed treat­ments such as hot stone mas­sages, al­gae and mud wraps, and salt and oil ex­fo­li­a­tion. A salon is here too, and Espa prod­ucts are used as per nor­mal for Ritz spas. Jeremy Tredin­nick

VER­DICT Su­perla­tive ser­vice, an un­beat­able lo­ca­tion for busi­ness, great suites and a fan­tas­tic over­all Club-level of­fer­ing makes this the new bench­mark ho­tel in As­tana. Of course Ritz-Carl­ton’s aim is to be the best of the best in this rel­a­tively new cap­i­tal – and for the af­flu­ent busi­ness trav­eller I can only agree that it has suc­ceeded.

PRICE Stan­dard in­ter­net rates for an Ex­ec­u­tive Suite with Club Lounge ac­cess in mid-Novem­ber start from 476,000 tenge (US$1,399) in­clud­ing tax and sur­charges

CONTACT 16 Dostyk Street, As­tana 010016; +7 7172 734 000; ritzcarl­

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