For those of you reading this blog for research purposes, I thought I'd share a bit about our plans for the trip. It can be difficult to make hotel arrangements in a city you have never been to with no "chains" and the one or two that exist like the Hyatt are exhorbitant. While I wish we could have afforded a place like the Hyatt, the $300-$500 pre night price tag precluded us from doing so. You don't do this three times and not learn where you can cut corners! We are basically Best Western type travelers here in the US with the occasional Motel 6 thrown in for good measure, so as you can tell our standards are probably not as high as others so keep that in mind when reviewing our selections. So here is our plan:
In Germany - We are staying at the Ibis Hotel for our layover. We stayed there last time and were quite pleased with the accomodations as well as the price, just over $100 a night (ok I STILL cringe at any hotel over $70, but this is not America so we are stuck!). It really is a Best Western quality hotel, nice and clean, transport to and from the airport, decent little restaurant inside. Rooms are not super large but were fine for one or two nights as we needed. Here is the link: http://www.ibishotel.com/ibis/fichehotel/gb/ibi/2203/fiche_hotel.shtml
In Almaty - We are staying there 2 nights when we arrive before traveling on to Bishkek. When we return to Almaty to finish the process we will be staying in an apartment that our friends have lined up for us. Well, actually Dominick and the boys will be spending most of the time there whiole I travel on to Petropavlovsk to visit our sponsor daughters. In the past we have stayed at the Almaty Hotel and really liked it. It was newly remodeled, had affordable 2 and 3 room suites which when traveling with children helps a lot (they are not enormous but definitely give you more room), their breakfast buffet was to die for and easily serves as lunch as well with both breakfast and lunch foods served and it is included in the room fee. There is a little cafe open 24 hours on premises and it is within walking distance of a couple of small markets and right across the street from the renovated Opera House. The link is:
However, this time we are staying at the Hotel Kazzhol which I have heard from many people is outstanding and caters well to adopting families. Although we are not bringing along a baby this time and are using it is a transit hotel on the way to Bishkek, I am betting it is bette set up to accomodate children and we got a rate of $150 per night for a room which will house all 4 of us, which in Almaty is a great rate (I am still gulping at the cost, can you hear it from where you are?). It is more centrally located and witin walking distance of many things so we thought we'd give it a try. They have also promptly answered all emails in decent English. Here is the link:
In Bishkek we are staying at the Asia Mountains Guest House, which is VERY affordable at about $70 per night (Now we're talking my kind of price!). I have heard from Michelle who was mentioned in my previous post and is a single adopting mommy that we will love it, it is clean, food is very good, and it is near restaurants and shopping. We liked it because our agency said it might better accomodate 3 boys wanting to play :-) There is internet access there so I can keep on blogging, and a nice outdoor area as well. Here is a link to a much better site about the Guest House than some other sites, it has a great description and lots of photos and I am glad I saved it becasue I have never been able to locate this link again by Googling:
I hope these links help some of you traveling in the future! And those of you following the blog who are just curious about our trip but will never set foot in a place like Kyrgyzstan can see it isn't all that bad ;-) At least you'll think that until I post pictures of the Green Market in Almaty where you can obtain fresh meat, entrails, pretty much anything butchered right there out in the open...hahaha! Then you'll not be fooled by our "luxurious" accomodations!! I will post specifics about the hotels once we have stayed there.