There are a few mountain hotels located close to the city that are excellent places to stay if you’re planning to hike around Almaty. Up past Shymbulak are the Vorota Tuyuk Su and the Alpine Rose – both of which are run by the Almaty-based firm Alpina XXI, which is extremely knowledgeable about local trails and can help organise hiking itineraries from both hotels. Vorota Tuyuk Su sits roughly 1.5km above Shymbulak. This small, rustic, 26-room hotel has four wooden cottages, a billiards room, banya, and, in the winter, snowmobiles. Situated in the beautiful Malaya Almatinka Gorge with stunning views through the fir trees of the pyramid-shaped Mount Kumbel, from here you can also walk to the Tuyuk Su glacier (3,500m above sea-level). The Alpine Rose Hotel is nestled 2,300m above sea-level just below Big Almaty Lake. Its three mountain cottages, billiards room, sauna, and restaurant that is reminiscent of a ski-lodge are the perfect jumping-off spot to explore more than 20 nearby hikes. In the winter months, snowmobiles and ski equipment are available for hire. Alpina XXI can also organise other alpine activities as well as helicopter trips over the Tien Shan Mountains and fishing on Lake Balkhash.