The standard room is large enough to swing a tiger, breakfast tastes delicious, and the staff make you feel at home and important
I shall never become accustomed to being treated as if I am important. I find it confusing. It’s an Irish thing; we are culturally unable to do anything but put ourselves down and prefer to sit scruffily in the background. On the rare occasions when I have been treated as a VIP, it will come across as being obsequious, rude. Somehow, the staff of the Ambassador Hotel in Bishkek manage to avoid all this and make me feel at home and important.
The Ambassador is modern, clean and holds the best restaurant in the whole of Bishkek – the Times Bar. On the nights I eat in the rooftop restaurant, it is full of teenagers Instagramming the cityscape, tourists discovering the Kyrgyz kebab, shashlik, and businessmen negotiating tough deals over a shisha.
My standard room is large enough to swing a tiger. The bed is perfect. I climb in and fall straight asleep every night. The room is bright, and full of everything a traveller needs, including freshly ground coffee and a percolator, and the bathroom looks to be larger than the one in my flat. The shower is certainly twice the size.
Breakfast is delicious and exactly what is needed first thing in the morning – coffees, fresh pancakes, and a huge buffet of fruits, vegetables, meats and breads. It is served in a banqueting room on the ground floor.
I ask the manager if it would be possible to see the other rooms and she gives me a tour. I’m shown the ambassador suites, a whole floor of the hotel behind a locked door. It can be split into the attache, consul and advisor suites. These are huge, extremely comfortable (I dive onto one of the beds for testing) and luxurious. Each has their own balcony and antechamber for meetings.
Afterwards, I’m taken to see the gym, sauna and massage table. If you wish to run a few klicks, lift heavy things, or steam your pores, the gym and sauna are open whenever you need. To book a masseuse to soothe your muscles after a hard day’s climbing in the mountains or wandering [through the amazing city of Bishkek], all it takes is a quick call to reception.
The staff are truly excellent and really do manage to make you feel important and comfortable, without being fawning or toady. Their service is fantastic. One even puts up with me screaming down the phone after our taxi driver disappeared and my girlfriend collapsed because of altitude sickness in the Ala Archa mountains. She had us back at sea level in Bishkek in no time.