Radisson’s four-star Park Inn complex opens19 september 2013, 13:53
Astana has long had a sufficient inventory of five-star hotel rooms, but industry watchers say that for some time it’s lacked enough four-star space.
The recent opening of the Radisson Hotel’s Park Inn complex has made a dent in the four-star gap.
Radission General Manager Jesper Francl told me the Park Inn, which was under construction for two years, booked its first guest on September 6.
The complex, which boasts 248 rooms, is next to the Radisson on Saryarka Avenue between the Ishim River and Kenesary Street.
Those driving along Saryarka will notice two new buildings next to the Radisson, not just one, however.
The Park Inn by Radisson and the Riverside Apartments flank the taller Radisson Hotel at the right. Photo courtesy of the Park Inn by Radisson
The second building, whose exterior is designed like the Park Inn’s, is an apartment complex for executives wanting short-term stays in Astana – anywhere from two weeks to a year.
The Riverside Apartments are the work of Incom Astana, the developer of the Radisson and of the Arman business center adjoining the hotel.
The 104 one- and two-bedroom Riverside units are plush and comfortable, and those living in them will have access to the Park Inn’s fitness center and other amenities.
The Radisson has 181 rooms, so the combined Radisson/Park Inn complex boasts 429 rooms, one of the largest totals in Astana. The four-star King Hotel has the most rooms in the city – 475.
I’ve always believed the Radisson was the best hotel location in Astana. It’s on the Right Bank in the heart of the old part of the city. But it’s only a short cab ride from the attractions of the Left Bank, including the new shopping centers.
And the Radisson is smack-dab on the Ishim River, which offers guests a pleasant walk, boat rides and an amusement park in the non-winter months.
I asked Jesper if the decision to build the Park Inn had anything to do with the Expo that’s coming to Astana in 2017.
“No,” he replied, “that decision was made three years ago, before anyone knew Astana would get the Expo. There has been a general increase in the hotel occupancy rate in the city, which is why there are more players coming to the market.”
Radisson Hotel General Manager Jesper Francl. Photo courtesy of Jesper Francl
Two of the new players will be the Marriott, whose five-star hotel industry insiders say will open late this year or early next year near the Khan Shatyr shopping center, and Hilton’s four-star Garden Inn, which will be near the new Opera Theater on the Left Bank.
Not only is Astana’s hotel occupancy rate rising each year, Jesper told me, but often “you can’t get a room” when there’s a big one-of-a-kind event like the Astana Economic Forum, the 2011 Asian Winter Games or the 2010 summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“These events are bringing a lot of attention to the city,” he said.
During this year’s Astana Economic Forum from May 22 to 24, Jesper said, he could have filled the Park Inn – if it had been ready – as well as the Radisson.
Astana Economic Forum organizers said that this year’s extravaganza – the sixth – attracted 9,000 people, up from 6,500 last year.
Jesper said the Park Inn offers a top-of-the-line four-star standard that is “something new to the Astana market.”
“This kind of standard has been available in Almaty, but not here,” he said.
It caters to a clientele that’s on the way up, including young business people.
The Park Inn staff went through extensive training this summer to ensure that the service was excellent from the outset, Jesper said.
The new Park Inn by Radisson offers colorful bedding and good views. Photo courtesy of the Park Inn by Radisson
A beauty of having the Radisson next door is that the training could be both in the classroom and hands-on at the Radisson, he said.
Jesper said a lot of energy-saving features were built in to the Park Inn – for example, lighting that uses minimal electricity.
It’s part of the Radisson organization’s ambitious goal of reducing its energy and water consumption worldwide by 25 percent by 2015, he said.
How much energy and water would the organization save if it meets the goal?
“It would equal the amount of consumption in the entire country of Iceland,” Jesper said.
As part of this effort, he said, “I recently had all the lights in the Radisson changed” to light-emitting-diode or LED lights.
The shift has reduced energy consumption in the lobby by 15 percent, he noted.