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Room Report: Hyatt Regency Hotel Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

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Arrival Experience: As the country's only five-star hotel, the Hyatt Regency Bishkek is known across town as the address for diplomats, business guests, and the city's elite. You would never know that from the down-to-earth, friendly staff that work there. But, it is it when it comes to deluxe accommodations in town. Guests pull up to a modern building, one of only a handful of hotels worldwide that is actually owned and operated by Hyatt Hotels (most are franchise properties). The entire hotel is fresh from a full renovation including the lobby awash in marble, new fabrics, and conversation areas.

Dining: The lobby lounge named Opera Lounge features free wireless high speed Internet, which draws guests from their rooms to enjoy the bright lobby. An outdoor terrace adds to the seating area, and a Opera lounge menu includes everything from coffee and cocktails to salads and sandwiches. Crostini serves Mediterranean fare throughout the day in a naturally lighted dining room. Buffets offer continental choices in the morning, but the a la carte menu throughout the day features several local Kyrgyz dishes like lamb-stuffed manti and besh barmak. On the other side of the lobby is the main bar named Bar@191, which serves a variety of cocktails and drinks for those that want a more lively atmosphere than the lobby lounge.

Accommodations: Guest rooms are the best examples of the recent makeover here. It begins with the carpeting that mimics Kyrgyz fabrics and photographs showcasing various regions of the country. Large king or queen beds are topped with duvets and feature side tables with small clocks and power outlets bedside. Work desks are spacious with wired and wireless Internet, for a fee, and modern speaker phones. Minibars and coffee and tea makers are housed in wooden cabinets while ample storage space in closets provides numerous drawers and a full-length mirror. The flat-screen cable TV is mounted on the wall to save space, and many larger rooms have sofas and coffee tables. Bathrooms are spacious with local photographs adding color to the already bright space. Portico Spa toiletries are still used here, which will please those that favored them at other Hyatt properties where they have long been traded out. Showers are strong with soaking tubs for relaxation nearby. Guests on the Regency Club level enjoy the same turndown service with complimentary bottled water that all guests receive, but they have access to a private lounge for free breakfast, all-day drinks, and evening cocktails and snacks.

Conclusion: The outdoor swimming pool is ringed with lounge chairs and umbrellas. Bar staff circle round to deliver cocktails and munchies as guests relax in downtown's most luxe space. Meeting rooms, for those that have to discuss business, are located nearby and feature the latest audiovisual capabilities. Natural light fills some rooms (the main ballroom overlooks the pool), and this is the main spot for diplomatic and social functions in the nation's capital. A 24-hour fitness center is located one floor below the lobby and is open to local memberships (which helps to keep the equipment modern and updated). The spa is very affordably priced (to meet the interests of locals), and is one of the hotel's most exciting features. An hour-long massage costs less than $50; perhaps this could be the next spa destination! For elegant accommodations and on-point service, this business hotel maintains high standards that will appeal to a broad range of travelers. For any foreigner visiting Kyrgyzstan, this is the de facto choice for comfort and style.

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