Hotel Astra is in just barely in the center of Almaty, but not particularly well located to most places you would want to go as a tourist. It is located 150 meters away from Almaty-2 train station which is handy for trips back and forth to other parts of the country. Although, there every car can be used as a taxi the central attractions are easily reachable. A massive supermarket in the basement of the mini shopping centre next door provides a plentiful supply of western goods. There's a Ramstor around the corner to the right with a big supermarket in the basement. There are plenty of Kazakh cafes around. Almaty International Airport is 12 km from the Astra (about 20 minutes drive). The famous Almaty Watch Tower is a 7-minute drive away, offering scenic views over Kazakhstan's largest city.
Generally single and twin rooms are good, but triple rooms may seem too small and uncomfortable. Air-conditioned (there are usual complains on weakness) rooms feature a simple design with a TV, minibar and comfortable furnishings. Some rooms offer a complimentary bathrobe and slippers. Some rooms does not have a safe box. No bedside lamps. The doors to the room are too thin and people talking loudly in the corridor can be heard very clearly. Walls are not soundproofed. Also, some doors to the rooms may vibrate and make noise every time another door is opened in the corridor (just put a towel under your door to stop the vibration). All rooms offer free Wi-Fi (reported problems) and breakfast can be served in bed.
Visitors to the Astra Hotel can start their day with a small but adequate buffet breakfast. Breakfast is a decent buffet but has a system where, every morning, you have to get a breakfast card from reception desk and hand it in at the restaurant which is 5 metres away. A selection of Kazakhstani cuisine is served in the elegant restaurant for lunch and dinner, uniquely decorated with bright pink colours and modern wall art. Restaurant food is generally good, but a bit expensive to compare with cafes around.
The tiny indoor pool in the basement area with an adjoining sauna make for an invigorating end to a long day, but please bear in your minds that you may have to pay to rent towels for the pool.
There is a cash machine on site, but usually does not function.
For those on a budget under 100$ per night in expensive Almaty city, this would be an acceptable hotel. Internet, fitness, swimming pool and breakfast comes with the room rate which is very rare to find for the price Astra hotel offers. Hotel staff is pretty friendly and helpful and more importantly, they speak enough English to get by in Almaty. The room itself is just adequate.