Almaz had been recommended by a friend. It's located on Lake Schuchye, near the town of Shchushinsk, within Borovoe National Park and about 10 to 20 kilometers from the resort town of Borovoe. There are quite a few hotels located on this lake.
We had two small, connecting rooms, at a cost of 23000 tenge per 24 hours (about $123), and the price included 3 meals a day. However, the meals were only at set times, and we went just once, for a lunch of soup and meatballs which were so unappetizing that none of us ate. The girls went one more time for breakfast - pasta in milk - and that was it. We ate our own food from then on.
Having a car meant I could drive into a supermarket in town and buy us food. Our room had a refrigerator and a kettle, so I could easily feed us. The hotel had a very small store, from which we bought soda and cookies.
The room was a nice size, however, it was old and dirty. The second time we went, my mattress was too big for my bed, and since I'm tall (5 foot 7) and like to stretch while sleeping, it was so uncomfortable that I moved to the couch.
I wouldn't recommend this hotel to a foreigner or someone who's picky about cleanliness or to anyone who's slightly picky about food and can't bring their own. However, it was quite suitable for the girls. Just outside our room was a small shack with skis, sleds, and a snowmobile for rent. (We didn't rent the snowmobile, however). There also was a large ice slide that they loved. There was a gently sloping trail to the beautiful lake, and enough space to do some skiing around there. Perhaps not enough for an avid cross-country skier, I don't know. We were beginners, and it was enough for us.
The hotel is also situated in the woods, and the girls went hiking through these one day. The glory of the hotel was that everything was on site, and everything was relatively safe. I felt comfortable letting the girls go exploring and skiing on their own. I accompanied them some, but also I let them go alone while I rested and relaxed.
|The hotel Almaz|
|The beautiful lake|