I stayed at the Astra hotel for 3 nights in early June 2013. The hotel is very convenient to the train station which is great if you are coming from or going to Astana. My room was very quiet despite facing the road. Breakfast was good but only from 8 -10 am. Internet access was good. Overall the hotel lived up to the reviews I have read.
The only problem with the hotel is the distance to various sites you might want to visit. But if you like walking, then Almaty has an astounding amount of trees lining all the boulevards. I have never seen a city with so many trees. Walking was quite pleasant despite the volume of cars in the city.