Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hotel Capital, 20 Kyishi Dina Street, Astana, Kazakhstan

I stayed at this hotel from May 22 to May 25, 2014, on a business visit. My mattress was very uneven with my knees and elbows bumping into springs whenever I tried to change my position. My sleep during the first night was really difficult, while some of my colleagues complained they had no mattress at all, and were sleeping on the boards of the bed instead. They have no access for disabled - you have to climb some 15 stairs even before reaching the entrance door, with some more obstacles like spurious floor level changes inside the building. My hosts apparently complained to the reception about my bed, although that changed nothing. The water temperature control in the shower was very tricky - you could either get 100% of water from the hot-water pipe, which was too hot, or too much water from the cold-water pipe, which was too cold, while the desired intermediate position was very difficult to achieve. Internet worked in my room, the breakfast was reasonable, given the national traditions.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dickens Bar and Restaurant, Dostyk 46, Almaty

Almaty, May 19 2014, ca. 9 p.m. local time. I did not ask for much: olives, bread, dry red wine, grilled dorada, and Napoleon cake and green tea for dessert. The service was hopelessly slow, although they did not have more than half a dozen clients in the entire establishment, I could see 3, myself included. Dorada was probably prepared from frozen fish and was served half-raw: I guess they failed to defrost it properly in the microwave. It was not fresh either, as betrayed by the rancid smell of the fish fat. Olives came straight from the can, and were not exciting in any way. Three out of four varieties of bread were stale, the fourth was reasonable but not even good. The Torre del Cura Tempranillo dry red they were serving by glass was probably opened quite a while ago. The Napoleon cake was good and fresh, but the doze would have easily served 3 persons instead of just one. The green tea was good. This abominable cooking and terrible service at Dickens cost me some 20% more than I had paid for a similar meal in a very nice Italian restaurant in Franfurt by the Holiday Inn Express Airport Hotel two nights before ... By the way, non-smokers better keep out altogether: although they do have a non-smoking zone, their ventilation does not work, thus is gets as smoky as the smoker's zone!