Best hotels and hostels in Kazakhstan

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Aksu-Zhabagly

    Wild Nature

    This NGO runs one of Kazakhstan’s longest-running community tourism programs, with comfortable homestays in houses with hot showers and good local meals. A camping option is available for budget travellers. Wild Nature director Svetlana is a highly knowledgeable biologist and great guide who speaks excellent English, and offers a variety of short local trips and longer nature-focused trips.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Almaty

    Rixos Almaty

    The rooms at Almaty's most luxurious hotel are suitably sumptuous but surprisingly understated and decked out in neutral shades. The Olympic-sized swimming pool, however, is all marble and underwater lighting, there's an excellent spa on-site and the hotel's Brasserie restaurant serves refined takes on Kazakh food, as well as Pan-Asian dishes. Faultless multilingual service to boot.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Shymkent

    Rixos Khadisha Shymkent

    This showstopper five-star hotel is Shymkent's answer to the Ritz. Expect plenty of marble, a stunning atrium with soaring golden eagles and Golden Man statues, friendly multilingual service that's not stuffy, and splendid rooms – all plush fabrics and chandeliers – that put you in mind of 19th-century Europe. Two superb restaurants, two bars and spa seal the deal.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Shymkent

    Orbita Boutique Hotel

    This little gem 2km west of the centre has just a handful of rooms, all individually and pleasingly designed with features like half-timbering and exposed brick – one even has an African theme – and equipped with tea/coffee makers and well-stocked minibars. Young, attentive receptionists, fluent in English, inhabit the conservatory-like upstairs lobby. Price includes one of the best breakfasts in Kazakhstan.

  • Lodging in Aksu-Zhabagly

    Misha Norets

    In Tulkibas, 18km west of Zhabagly village, amiable, English-speaking Misha offers homestay accommodation with good meals in his simple family home with an indoor hot-water bathroom. He charges a guiding fee of 15,000T per day, per group, and can also accommodate guests in a comfortable modern home in Maityube (Michurin) village 3km away.

  • Lodging in Aksu-Zhabagly

    Zhenja & Lyuda’s Boarding House

    This cosy guesthouse-cum-small-hotel on Zhabagly’s main street has rooms with two comfy single beds and private bathroom, and vegetarian meals can be arranged. Owner Yevgeny Belousov, a highly knowledgeable biologist, speaks English, has been in the guesthouse and tour business for 25 years, and knows the area extremely well.

  • Lodging in Aksu-Zhabagly

    Turbaza Ruslan

    Run by a Kazakh-Dutch family, Ruslan has six good rooms at their main house in the village, and four twin-bed rooms in a lovely country property on the edge of the nature reserve, 7km from the village (1000T per car, or two to three hours' walk). They organise Jeep trips into the Aksu Canyon and horse riding to various destinations.

  • Lodging in Nur-Sultan (Astana)

    Apple Hostel

    This friendly, well-kept little hostel in the old city is unsigned and hard to find, so contact them ahead of arrival. It offers spacious four- and six-bed dorms, a well-equipped kitchen and two bathrooms. The entrance is up a small staircase next to Akku drycleaners, just inside the southernmost archway into the courtyard of a huge apartment block.

  • Lodging in Altay Mountains

    Rakhmanovskie Klyuchi

    The health resort of Rakhmanovskie Klyuchi nestles in a mountain valley, 30km up a track from Berel village, and offers the Altay's cosiest accommodation. You’ll find wooden cottages, some with kitchen, linked by boardwalks through pine forests, and mountain bikes and trips to lakes and waterfalls in the area are offered to guests.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Kolsai Lakes

    Zhanara's Homestay

    Used by Outfitter KZ but welcoming any guests, this friendly Kazakh lady and her hospitable family put up visitors in comfortable rooms and feeds them delicious traditional Kazakh food, including fresh river trout and homemade kumys (fermented mare's milk). There's no shower, but a traditional banya (public bath, 1000T) instead gets you squeaky clean. Get in touch via Instagram saty_saumal_kolsai.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Nur-Sultan (Astana)

    Hostel Astana

    The pick of Nur-Sultan's hostels comes with a wonderful roof terrace, featuring panoramic views of the city. The two dorms are gender-segregated, there's a spacious double and smaller room with bunks, and even a fully equipped separate apartment. Lots of nice touches: hypo-allergenic beds, ample luggage storage and a huge kitchen. The staff are happy to advise about the city's attractions.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Turkestan

    Hotel Edem

    One of the two best sleeping options, the Edem has pleasant rooms with wood-and-wrought-iron beds and cane furnishings. Thoughtful touches like lamps reachable from your bed are combined with helpful management. Also here is the town's best restaurant, with a courtyard garden that turns into Turkestan's most popular nightspot in summer. Tours to Sauran and Otrar arranged.

  • Lodging in Lake Burabay

    Kokshebel Lake Resort

    Kokshebel is a well-built, well-run hotel with attractive pine-wooded grounds stretching down to the lakeshore (with private beach) at the west end of town. The rooms are comfortable and well equipped. The cosy wooden cabins, holding up to four people, are under the pines close to the lake. Guests can amuse themselves with billiards, darts, table tennis or a sauna.

  • Lodging in Nur-Sultan (Astana)

    Radisson Hotel

    The abode of choice for many Western business and official visitors, the three-towered Radisson provides the expected comfort and professional service. The larger business-class rooms have their own espresso machines, and there's a pool, gym, spa and hammam. The huge gleaming lobby encompasses lounge areas, shops, a bar and an excellent Mediterranean restaurant.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Shymkent

    Hostel Sweet Home

    With its individually decorated rooms and friendly, incredibly helpful, English-speaking host Albina, this hostel gets rave reviews from backpackers. The attention to detail, the tranquil location, the summer terrace and the superclean, airy doubles and dorm are all pluses. Albina can pick you up from the train station and bus 26 stops three blocks away.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Almaty

    Interhouse Almaty

    This three-storey house on the outskirts of the city hides one of the country's best hostels. The warm welcome from the owner makes guests feel like family, the bathrooms are huge (and there's a good ratio of guests per bathroom), a hearty breakfast is included in the price and there's a rose- and jasmine-filled garden to chill in. Occasional barbecues.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Almaty

    Sky Hostel

    Vying for the title of 'Almaty's Top Hostel', this friendly place has earned a steady stream of guests for its pop-arty decor, helpful English-speaking staff, and its stupendous roof terrace, because it's best to observe the city from on high. If you don't fancy bedding down in a 12-bed dorm, book a private room in advance. Guest kitchen available.

  • Lodging in Almaty

    Rahat Palace Hotel

    A classy business-oriented hotel with more reasonable rates than most competitors, the Rahat boasts two good restaurants, a spa as well as a fitness centre with pool, and a summer beer garden. Glass lifts glide up and down its glass-domed lobby, and the good-size rooms have big, comfy beds and, on the upper floors at the front, panoramic views.

  • Lodging in Nur-Sultan (Astana)

    Hotel Diplomat

    Ideally placed for the exploration of attractions in the new part of town, this gleaming circular tower is just around the corner from the Bayterek Monument. Service is very professional, rooms are spacious and decked out in neutral tones and perks include a spa, pool and hammam. Of the three restaurants, the Argentine steakhouse is the best.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Almaty

    Hotel Kazzhol

    The cheaper rooms in this efficient, sparkling-clean hotel on a quiet lane off Zhibek Zholy are the best value at this price level. Desk staff speak English, and the smart rooms all have writing desks and international satellite TV. Breakfast is a good buffet and the fitness centre has a 20m pool. Airport and station transfers available.