InterContinental Almaty Front Building

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Review: InterContinental Almaty (2022) [Kazakhstan]

 

My first few nights in Almaty start at the InterContinental Almaty, an IHG Hotel after spending a few days in Kazakhstan’s current capital Astana. It’d be my first time in an InterContinental Hotel, and trying out what the IHG program has to offer.

 

InterContinental Almaty- Booking

I booked 2 nights at this hotel at an average rate of 25,500 IHG points per night for the standard room, totaling to 51,000 IHG points redeemed. The total cash rate during my stay would’ve been $384 including taxes. So, it’s a redemption value of ~0.75 cents per point, which is good as I value each IHG points at 0.5 cents per point.

If you are interested in the IHG Rewards loyalty program, please consider using this link to sign up for free and earn IHG points on your hotel stays under the IHG portfolio. By signing up, you’ll help support the site!

 

InterContinental Almaty- Location

InterContinental Almaty is sandwiched between downtown Almaty and Kok-Tobe mountain. The location is great to feel a blend between modern and Soviet feels that pretty much describes the city of Almaty. Food options nearby are plentiful as there are malls and eateries within a walking distance. To venture further in Almaty, it’s easy and cheap to do so with Yandex Go taxis. Yandex Go conveniently accepts Visa/MasterCard as payment options in Almaty.

 

InterContinental Almaty- Check-in

I arrived at the hotel at around 6pm from Almaty International Airport (ALA). The ride took around 30 minutes with congested traffic in Almaty’s airport. I entered the hotel through a revolving door and into the metal detector.Surprisingly, there was no bellhop that assisted me with my luggage since I’d expect one at a hotel of this caliber.

The lobby is located on the base of a beautiful atrium with palm trees and elevators moving up and down. It feels like a trip down memory lane!

InterContinental Almaty Lobby
InterContinental Almaty Lobby
InterContinental Almaty Atrium
InterContinental Almaty Atrium

I was informed that I’d be upgraded to the Club Room at the 8th floor because of my IHG Platinum status that I got from the Chase IHG Premier Business Card. Unfortunately, getting upgraded to a Club Room does not give access to the Club Lounge. Thus, it’s just a fancy name for the standard room at a higher floor. I was granted a 2pm checkout after I asked thanks to IHG Platinum status.

InterContinental Almaty Club Lounge
InterContinental Almaty Club Lounge (no access unfortunately)

 

InterContinental Almaty- Club Room

I was assigned to the 8th floor, which is the highest floor for guest rooms of this hotel. Interesting how the bathrobe is plopped down on the bed instead of the closet or bathroom.

InterContinental Almaty Club Room King Bed
InterContinental Almaty Club Room King Bed

After getting spoiled in The St. Regis Astana and The Ritz-Carlton, Astana, I can’t help but feel like having a downgraded experience at this hotel. To be fair, I probably shouldn’t compare the InterContinental with both of those brands. But, since InterContinental is one of the top brands of IHG, I felt a bit letdown even though I did kind of expect it. The room feels very dated, and the brown colors on the furniture just exacerbate it.

InterContinental Almaty Club Room Lounging Chair
InterContinental Almaty Club Room Lounging Chair
InterContinental Almaty Club Room Desk
InterContinental Almaty Club Room Desk

The view is quite nice though. The backdrop of the Tian Shan Mountains is just beautiful!

InterContinental Almaty Club Room View
InterContinental Almaty Club Room View

Here are some of the frustrating things about this room. First, there’s no power outlet by the bedside end tables so there’s no opportunity to me to be lazy on my bed while playing with my charging phone. And, the lighting rely solely on the covered lamps so it was difficult to find the right balance between too dim or too bright. In most cases, I found the room to be too dim. The brown colors just made it more depressing. There’s no master switch that controls brightness or switch on/off the lights either. All lights spread are spread apart, and you’d have to manually switch them.

InterContinental Almaty Club Room Pantry
InterContinental Almaty Club Room Pantry
InterContinental Almaty Club Room Minibar
InterContinental Almaty Club Room Minibar

Pantry and minibar are by the entrance next to the closet. To be frank, I’d rather have an empty fridge so I can store outside food and drinks in.

A safe is inside the closet next to the entrance.

InterContinental Almaty Club Room Safe
InterContinental Almaty Club Room Safe

 

InterContinental Almaty Club Room Bathroom

Bathroom is decent and does its job with some quirks.

InterContinental Almaty Bathroom Sink
InterContinental Almaty Bathroom Sink

Dental kit is provided.

InterContinental Almaty Dental Kit
InterContinental Almaty Dental Kit
InterContinental Almaty Bathroom Toilet & Scale
InterContinental Almaty Bathroom Toilet & Scale

The shower head is disappointing with weak pressure, and should be upgraded. The glass barely covers half the tub too, so I got water splashing out each time I used the shower.

InterContinental Almaty Shower
InterContinental Almaty Shower

Bath amenities are Bal D’Afrique by Byredo, an InterContinental standard, which I think is quite nice. They come in dispensers instead of individual bottles. Too bad, I couldn’t take some home with me!

InterContinental Almaty Bath Amenities
InterContinental Almaty Bath Amenities

 

InterContinental Almaty- Breakfast

This hotel is the first in my Central Asia trip where I didn’t get free breakfast, so it’s a bit strange facing that reality :P. Nonetheless, I gave it a try for the review on the final day. Breakfast takes place at the Asian Cafe Restaurant on the ground floor. The price for the buffet breakfast is ~$24.50. While Almaty isn’t as inexpensive as I thought, this is quite steep for Kazakhstan, but is to be expected considering the place operates in a multinational hotel chain.

InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Entrance
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Entrance

The food offering is quite large with western spread and a special Kazakh station with adorable decorations!

InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast

I love baursak, which is basically the Kazakh/Kyrgyz version of donut holes.

InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast Kazakh Station
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast Kazakh Station (Baursak)
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast Kazakh Station
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast Kazakh Station
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Breakfast

There’s an egg dish station where you can order omelettes, scrambled eggs, or eggs benedict. I didn’t enjoy it much, but it could’ve been greatly improved if the bottom muffin is roasted.

InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Eggs Benedict
InterContinental Almaty Asian Cafe Restaurant Eggs Benedict

I felt the breakfast wasn’t worth the price. I should’ve just gone to the nearby McDonald’s with their all-day menu with 1/3 of the price.

 

InterContinental Almaty- Dining Options

This hotel has a lot of dining options inside, but I didn’t try them. I’ve checked out most of them. But, some are closed for the time being, and some only open during certain hours. They’re located in the Mezzanine Floor just above the ground floor.

There’s the Bosphorus Restaurant, which serves Turkish cuisine just as the name suggests. It only opens during dinner time.

InterContinental Almaty Bosphorus Restaurant
InterContinental Almaty Bosphorus Restaurant

Then, there’s the J Bar, but it’s closed for the summer season. It comes with an outdoor terrace for you to enjoy drinks in.

InterContinental Almaty J Bar
InterContinental Almaty J Bar

There’s another bar called Atrium Lounge & Bar where you can order drinks and chill at the atrium base in the lobby.

InterContinental Almaty Atrium Lounge & Bar
InterContinental Almaty Atrium Lounge & Bar

Finally, the Bon Bon Patisserie. No one attended the stand when I was there, but the cakes all look well-designed.

InterContinental Almaty Bon Bon Patisserie
InterContinental Almaty Bon Bon Patisserie

I’d be hard pressed to dine in one of the places though since Almaty has a ton of choices nearby and possibly at lower prices too.

 

InterContinental Almaty- Spa, Pool, & Fitness

The hotel has the spa facilities and gym on the basement floor.

InterContinental Almaty Spa InterContinental Entrance
InterContinental Almaty Spa InterContinental Entrance

Inside, there’s sauna, Turkish hammam, pool, and Jacuzzi that you can use for free.

InterContinental Almaty Sauna
InterContinental Almaty Sauna
InterContinental Almaty Turkish Hammam
InterContinental Almaty Turkish Hammam
InterContinental Almaty Jacuzzi
InterContinental Almaty Jacuzzi

The pool looks great with the sunroof on top. There’s an outdoor lounge if you wish to sunbathe.

InterContinental Almaty Pool
InterContinental Almaty Pool
InterContinental Almaty Pool Outdoor Lounge
InterContinental Almaty Pool Outdoor Lounge

The gym is located next to the Turkish hammam room. It’s well-stocked and includes a free weight bench station!

InterContinental Almaty Gym
InterContinental Almaty Gym
InterContinental Almaty Gym
InterContinental Almaty Gym
InterContinental Almaty Gym
InterContinental Almaty Gym

 

Conclusion

InterContinental Almaty is a mediocre hotel and does not make for a good first impression towards the InterContinental brand for me. It’s very outdated and in desperate need of a renovation. The brown and golden schemes make the atmosphere feel stuffy. Rooms have functional annoyances like lack of power outlets by the bed and room lighting need overhaul.

For the similar price, I probably would’ve booked the Doubletree instead as it looks very modern, in an overall same proximity location wise, and I would’ve gotten free breakfast. But, since I only had some IHG points to burn and wanted to see what an InterContinental Hotel was like, it was the “best” choice for Almaty since the rest is either the Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express, which aren’t worth burning points on.

For Marriott Bonvoy loyalists, The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty can prove to be the bang for your bucks when it comes to redeeming points or 35k free night certificates from Marriott co-branded credit cards.

 

Overall Rating

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