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Review: The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty (2022) [Kazakhstan]
I spent my last nights in Central Asia at The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty. It’s one of the two Ritz-Carlton in Kazakhstan, the other being The Ritz-Carlton, Astana at the country’s capital. Since I strive to end a trip on a high note, I might as well do it in one of Almaty’s most luxurious hotel!
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty- Booking
I booked the hotel for 2 nights using a total of 56,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Cash rate would’ve been ~$320 per night, resulting in a redemption of ~1.14 cents per point. Since I value Marriott points at 0.7 cpp, this is a great redemption!
Expect to pay 20,000-30,000 Marriott points per night depending on the occupancy. Even at 30,000 points per night, the redemption value for this hotel is still good!
Keep in mind that this is the only hotel in Almaty that participates in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty- Location
The hotel is located at the top floors of the Esentai Tower, the second tallest building in all of Central Asia, and the tallest in Almaty. It’s fair to say that The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty is the tallest hotel in Central Asia! You can find high-end luxury brand stores inside the Esentai Mall that complements the Ritz-Carlton hotel. A Starbucks is found on the ground floor of the Esentai Tower, which can be convenient to get a quick bite as Ritz-Carlton hotels don’t offer free breakfast even for Marriott elite members, including the one here in Almaty.
Other than the mall, it can be hard to walk anywhere else, and the hotel’s location is a bit out of the way of the city. But, getting around Almaty is cheap and easy with Yandex Go taxis. Yandex Go accepts Visa/MasterCard as payment options in Almaty!
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty- Check-in
I arrived at noon after spending a night at a mountain resort (Tenir Eco Hotel) in Shymbulak, southeast of Almaty. A door attendant helped guide me to the hotel once I arrived. As I mentioned before, the Ritz-Carlton hotel is located at the top floors of the Esentai Tower. Nonetheless, the ground floor is decorated beautifully with horse murals that represent Kazakh motif.
The hotel’s lobby is located at the 30th floor. Check-in was smooth and easy. I tried asking for a suite upgrade to their Club Suite as a Marriott Titanium Elite, but the best upgrade they could give me during my stay was the Junior Suite. I didn’t get the suite I wanted, but I did get a noon check-in and 6 pm checkout after requesting it since my flight back home is at 9 pm.
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty- Junior Suite
I was assigned to Room 2611 at the 26th floor. It’s my first time descending from the front desk to get to my room in a hotel. Just straight of the entry is the spacious living room. The view from the room is simply stunning, which the tallest hotel in Almaty certainly delivers!
It comes with a sizable desk, but there’s no universal power outlet.
The pantry and minibar are on the shelves under the living room TV.
A half-bathroom is found on the immediate right to the entrance.
Just around an hour later, a staff brought in some welcome amenities of Kazakh wine, sweets, dried fruits, and nuts.
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty Junior Suite Bedroom
The bedroom is to the immediate left of the Junior Suite entrance. Plush king bed is accompanied by a TV and chair in the corner alongside with the gorgeous view of Almaty.
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty Junior Suite Bathroom
The marble bathroom is on the other side of the wall next to the bed. Floor is heated and packed with lots of amenities. The amenities are made by Asprey, a Ritz-Carlton standard.
Dental and shaving kits are included.
There’s even a TV next to the bathtub. The see-through window to the bedroom can be closed with the digital control switches found inside the suite.
A beige microfiber bathrobe is hung next to the bathtub.
The shower room is quite spacious with good pressure and a bench to sit on.
Overall, the Junior Suite is very spacious especially for a solo guy like myself. The view is certainly the highlight, however.
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty- Breakfast
As Ritz-Carlton hotel brands don’t include free breakfast for most of the time, even for Marriott elite members, I only tried the breakfast on the final day of my stay. Breakfast is located at the 30th floor inside the Vista Restaurant. It’s a buffet breakfast that mostly serves Western food. The cost for it is ~$38 per person. The food is quite good, but it’s definitely a weird feeling paying for breakfast since I’ve been getting them for free most of the time in Central Asia.
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty- Dining Options
The hotel has restaurants and bar options. I didn’t get to try them out other than the breakfast. Unfortunately, most of them were closed during my stay for unknown reasons.
There’s also a Club Lounge at the 26th floor, but it appeared closed without any notifications I don’t think. I managed to sneak a peek when the door was somehow opened. Normally, breakfast would be served here, along with food presentations throughout the day for those who have access to the Club Lounge.
There’s the Sky Lounge & Bar where you can have light meals and cocktails while enjoying a panoramic view of Almaty from the 30th floor of the tallest building in the city.
Then, there’s the Seven Bar & Restaurant that serve international cuisines with mix of Western and Asian menu. It was closed for the summer season during my stay however.
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty- Spa, Pool & Fitness
The spa facilities, pool, and gym are located at the 20th floor. I had a spa treatment on the last day few hours before my 6 pm checkout. The hotel’s spa operator used to be Six Senses, but it was no longer the case. It’s replaced by a “SPA in The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty.” I went for a 90-minute Balinese massage, and the price was around $69. A very nice price for a Ritz-Carlton indeed!
My massage therapist was Indonesian and from Bali specifically. It was a delight to conversate with her and amused her that another Indonesian just happened to be in Kazakhstan. It was a similar experience I had at the Sheraton Bishkek down in Kyrgyzstan. I also received a bonus 2-minute Thai massage at the end! It made me curious about Thai massage that I may book for a future hotel stay possibly. Overall, I enjoyed the spa treatment and it was definitely a great value coming from a Ritz-Carlton.
The pool is next to the spa facility. Summer in Almaty can be quite hot, so I was glad to make the time to go for a swim. It was fun having the pool and jacuzzi all to myself. But, I’m not a fan of the green pool tiles combined with beige walls. It made the environment look bland and dated.
The gym is just next to the pool room at the corner of the 20th floor. It’s not a big gym, but is still packed with equipment to get workout done.
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty is an exquisite hotel that serves unbeatable views of the city. It felt like the right hotel for me to end my month-long journey in Central Asia at a grand note, and I wished I stayed here more instead of the InterContinental Almaty on my first few days in the city. I appreciated the extra elite treatment like receiving noon check-in and a 6pm check-out so I don’t have to spend too much time in Almaty airport on my way home, and spending more time in this beautiful hotel!
Its Marriott Bonvoy points redemption requirement is excellent compared to its cash price, and I can definitely recommend those with Marriott points to not shy away from spending their points here when they choose to visit Kazakhstan.
I must say that the hotel stay quality doesn’t quite beat the ones I had in Astana with the St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton there (but not quite far). The upside of this hotel is that Almaty is a more charming town with more things to do and see than Astana in my opinion.