A truly legendary hotel that has been decorating the southern capital of Kazakhstan for 47 years - the Almaty Hotel is regaining its former popularity. The head of the enterprise Aydin Sultanov told K how the status of a modern and sought-after hotel is returning to the hotel.
- Aydin Kuanyshevich, today the Almaty Hotel is experiencing its rebirth, what could you say about a new hotel in this life?
- As you know, the Almaty Hotel has a rich history, it was the standard for the entire Kazakh SSR, and it was not easy to book a room in it. Perhaps the history of all hotel business in Kazakhstan begins with our hotel. However, now the modern world dictates completely different requirements for this business, the format of the hotel industry is changing. Today in the city there are already more than 100 different hotels and hostels, which, of course, is for us a strong motivating factor for further development and modernization. It is very important for us to be flexible, to meet all the requirements of the modern market, while preserving the values of the past. After all, the hotel building itself, its walls and premises preserve the memory of two, three generations. We really want to keep this spirit, a good memory, but at the same time we try to keep up with the times. We already have a developed concept for modernizing the hotel and at the moment we have begun to implement it, so that in the near future it will be possible to see the first results with our own eyes. This is not only about the appearance of the hotel, but also about certain technological changes, which are simply indispensable in the age of information technology and automation.
- Speaking about the appearance of the hotel, you can’t help but ask about its facade, is it planned to be updated, after all, the Alucobond is no longer in fashion?
- Of course, because the facade is a very significant part of the exterior of any building, it will also be modernized. Already in the early 2000s, Alucobond was a very practical and presentable solution, but design trends do not stand still and today this material is not a suitable finishing material for objects of such a level as our hotel. As I said, in the near future the hotel will undergo some changes that will affect the facade of the building. Our hotel is a real architectural monument of the last century, and therefore modernization will only have to emphasize this and make the exterior of the hotel relevant out of time. We want to combine historical value and current trends. The design of the new facade was developed by the well-known design company Chapman Taylor, and the main materials will be glass and metal, since it is the combination of these two materials that gives the very timeless effect.
- But the hotel is not closed for repairs, how many guests can you receive today and what are you ready to offer them?
- In total, the hotel has 255 rooms, including standard rooms and suites. At the moment, repairs are being carried out on some floors, associated with changes in the design and interior of the rooms. In general, our hotel offers restaurant services, laundry services, a comfortable sauna, and the opportunity to go on various tours in Almaty, thanks to our travel agency. So a pleasant leisure for our guests is provided.
- Very often, hotels become convenient venues for business and scientific events, does Almaty have such opportunities?
- Our hotel has all the resources for such events, moreover, we have vast experience in this matter. Various events of the past years were held within our walls and to this day the Almaty Hotel receives up to 120 people in its conference hall. Today, many seminars, trainings and other events are held within the walls of our hotel. Modern technology, comfortable furniture, all the necessary resources, and finally, a beautiful panoramic view of the mountains can make any event a success.
- The hotel has an exceptionally advantageous location, do you have any plans to increase the "star rating" of the hotel in this regard?
- Indeed, the location of the hotel in the historical and cultural center of the city near the Opera and Ballet Theater. Abay, parks and squares, as well as the former "Government House" - this is a real gift. Located in the very heart of the city, the Almaty Hotel has always been its vibrant part and it is known throughout the country, which we are very proud of. Regarding stardom, we do not strive for them, and to some extent even want to move away from these standards. Our task is to adapt the hotel to the modern market and maintain its high image. In the end, the main component of success is a constant improvement in the quality of service so that guests feel it, remain satisfied and return to us again and again.
- And how do employees respond to all these changes, because in this business the human factor is very important?
- Of course, the human factor plays a huge role. Especially in a hotel with its long history and traditions. And I can say that one of the most important details of the hotel modernization program, of course, is work with the team. Incidentally, he is enthusiastic about all changes. Indeed, along with young employees who have just graduated from educational institutions in the field of hotel business, employees with experience of more than 15 years work and transfer their experience to us. Thus, there is a continuity of generations, especially now when it is so necessary to take into account and preserve the experience of the past. In addition, training seminars are organized for employees, including abroad. And just recently, for the same purpose, we invited a well-known foreign consulting company to cooperate, which should help our employees become the best in their field.
- Hotel "Almaty" has been operating for 47 years, are there any remarkable traditions in the hotel?
At one time and now, it was in our hotel that many prominent political figures, famous theater and cinema artists stayed. Therefore, having such a large baggage, we strive to preserve it, adapt it to modern realities. No wonder the motto of the hotel is the phrase: "Keeping traditions, we strive for excellence." In addition, we never lost close ties with the honored people of our state, guests, WWII veterans and associates of the former first director of the hotel, a national hero, the legendary Rakhimzhan Koshkarbayev. These are our most important values and traditions, which we want to preserve and enhance with our new successes.
Thanks for the interview!
Source: “The Renaissance of a Legend” - KURSIV newspaper, No. 18 (546), May 15, 2014