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ERBD and EU help develop tourism sector in Kyrgyzstan

By Altynai Nanaeva

Advice for Small Businesses programme helps to redesign old building into a boutique hotel

Advice for Small Businesses programme helps to redesign old building into a boutique hotel

In Osh, Kyrgyzstan, we met Meergul, owner of Art Hotel, a cosy boutique hotel in the town centre, with 10 guest rooms, a conference room, and a coffee shop. The hotel has a distinct style and concept. Each room has a different design, and guests can enjoy pieces of art produced by local artists, such as ethnic interpretations of works by famous artists such as Klimt and Picasso.

Meergul is a very social young woman, participating in conferences and master classes and speaking easily to any audience. She personally promotes her hotel on social media. All of this is particularly impressive as Meergul is hard of hearing.

“I created a boutique hotel and hope to turn it into a conceptual space for artists and creative people,” Meergul says. “We collaborated with several artists who helped us to design the rooms and some spaces around the hotel. I like every corner of my hotel, as we did everything with love.”

Designs on new business opportunities

Meergul has quite extensive experience in the hotel business. Before opening Art Hotel, she managed a hostel. In late 2020, she decided to rent a space for a hotel and approached the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses programme. With the support of the European Union, the Bank got one of the leading hotel and restaurant business consultants in Kyrgyzstan on board. The consultant conducted a full diagnostic of the building and developed a detailed reconstruction plan. He also helped Meergul to develop a pricing policy for the hotel and a breakfast menu to meet expectations of tourists.

“I am very grateful for this great experience,” Meergul says. “We considered all of the minor details during reconstruction – lighting, furniture, bed linen and mattresses – to ensure a comfortably stay at our hotel. I am a very communicative person and try to get feedback from our guests. We are still in touch with our consultant, and he is always very helpful.”

Meergul is planning to acquire her own land and broaden her hotel business. She hopes to build a new hotel and attract more tourists to her native town, which is full of ancient history.

“I am a cautious person,” she says. “Therefore, it took me many years to develop my business. Nowadays, we are working hard and occupying a niche in the hotel business. We are sure our professionalism, love and passion will help us to achieve all our goals.”

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