The Otrar Hotel is a truly Soviet establishment that has somehow survived in a fast developing and quickly modernising city. It first opened in 1981, so remains one of the city’s oldest hotels and – despite renovations in 2002 – has changed very little. But unlike some of the other older hotels in town, it is very clean and its Soviet style is not too overwhelming for the uninitiated. Each floor has a different colour scheme, and walls, bed covers, carpets and curtains are meticulously matched. Its main asset, though (apart from transporting you to a bygone era), is its location opposite Panfilov Park and on the doorstep of many of the city’s clubs, bars and restaurants. We suggest you make the most of your inclusive breakfast, as the restaurant is an impressive, yurt-inspired room decorated with scenes of Kazakh folklore painted in miniaturist style on the ceiling.