The Ritz-Carlton, Astana
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; ritzcarlton.com