In my opinion, the most important thing for a
new traveler to Russia is having a personal tour guide and someone who will meet them at the
airport. The next most important thing is having a comfortable place to call
home while you are visiting here.
We thought it might be useful to our customers to have our opinions and other information about Saint Petersburg's hotels. So we trudged through the snow in chilly January, February & March 2002 and did room inspections in every hotel we could find. Every hotel!
Of all the hotels we visited, only 3 chose not to cooperate with room inspections. Those were the Neva Hotel, the Hotel Sovetskaya and the Marine Plant Hotel in the suburban island city of Kronshtadt. Our search for hotels extended to the northern suburbs and as far south as Pushkin. To the best of my knowledge, at that time, I had visited every single hotel which was permitted to handle foreign tourists here.
In January 2004 I returned to Saint Petersburg for another long-term visit and I went to see the new hotels... wow! Things have changed! It appears last year's 300 year birthday celebration for the city has really stimulated tourism and hotel development. A hotel boom is in progress. The selection of hotels has very much improved and will continue to get better. And there are many new "mini-hotels."
The best example of a mini-hotel during my 2002 inspections was the Korona Guest Center. Somebody apparently took over a communal apartment and turned it into 8 really great rooms. This concept has suddenly exploded in popularity as many people appear to see it as a good business to get into. Mini-hotels very often do not have dedicated entryways. Rather, the guest must pass through a communal entryway/stairwell to approach the apartment door which the mini-hotel is located behind. You might find it a bit shocking to see these communal spaces that ordinary Russians living in the same building share with the mini-hotel. A lot of these communal foyers/stairwells are old, dirty looking and not well lit. Be prepared. But once inside the mini-hotel, everything is new.
I also found new, substantial, very impressive, multi-million dollar hotels. Wonderful new places.
Keep in mind there is still a severe hotel room shortage during the warmer months, and if you want to stay at one of the nicer hotels, you need to plan ahead.
When booking your room, inquire whether the price includes all taxes. Some hotels include the tax in their pricing. Others do not, and it can be substantial.
Often room rates vary depending upon if you are visiting during peak season or off peak. And not all hotels have the same interpretation of what peak season is.
Note: Some hotels give pricing in dollars, some in euros, some in rubles, and some in "y.e." This y.e. is a unit equivalent to what the hotel says. It could be 32 rubles, or 36 rubles, or a euro, or a dollar.
Since having a nice, comfortable place to stay is an important component of a successful visit here, I advise you to be aggressive in securing a room. And please consider the benefits of hiring one of our very well qualified guides. They can help you get so much more out of your visit to Saint Petersburg. Write me at: aSummerInRussia@aol.com and we will discuss it. We have professional tour guides waiting to assist independent travellers in Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
To the left and below are the hotel reviews from
my 2002 inspections. The information is 2 years old.
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Peak Season Rates: Standard twin for single occupancy $260; standard double twin $290; superior twin for single occupancy $280; superior double twin $310; junior suite $330; deluxe suite $820. Add 25% tax to these figures. Breakfast is $20.
Location Rating: Excellent. Extremely interesting views with Saint Isaac's Cathedral being right across the street. Palace Square, The Hermitage, and the interesting Neva waterfront are within easy walking distance.
Proximity to Metro: Fair. It's probably a 15 minute hike to Gostiny Dvor Metro Station, but what do you need it for when everything interesting is right here?
Lobby Appearance: Spotless and classy.
Room Appearance: They have a renovation program underway. The rooms are old-style, like the Astoria's. Only about 20 percent of the rooms face Saint Isaac's Cathedral. These are the rooms to ask for.
Useful Nearby Businesses: Busy Nevsky Prospekt, where you can find everything, is right around the corner.
Hotel Restaurants: They have a fancy casino and nightclub, and a restaurant/bar. Immediately next door is the Hotel Astoria which is owned by the same organization. You can choose from among some luxurious eating spots there too.
Other Amenities: It is considered a four star hotel. They have a pool and fitness room. And it is a hotel with high standards.
Would I Stay Here? Yes.
Staff Speaks English? Yes, of course.
Comments: The building which dominates the city skyline, Saint Isaac's Cathedral, is right across the street. There is a large square here, and it is very attractive and interesting both at night and in daylight. I believe the world's widest bridge is here also. It spans a canal. A popular vegetarian restaurant known as "The Idiot" is also nearby. Among the elite hotels, based upon the pricing information given to us, this one is the least costly. In our photo, the hotel is straight ahead.
Askur Hotel K A little better than so so. (No website.) Phone: 7 (812) 234-4588
Rates: $68 to $80. Higher in summer.
Location Rating: Good. It's located on an island, near a park. It feels like you are in the country here, but it is the city, and a busy road is off in the distance. You will walk over the Neva River on your way to the metro.
Proximity To Metro: Good. It's about a 12 minute walk to Chernaya Rechka Metro Station, and it's an interesting walk.
Lobby Appearance: Inside it looks like it was a former mansion. And the lobby is huge for a hotel that only has 5 rooms. A fireplace is also in the lobby.
Room Appearance: These are the biggest hotel rooms in Saint Petersburg - palatial in size! And so big that the rooms seem a little lonely. There's not enough furniture to fill them. The bathrooms are old and ready to be updated. I found them unattractive. The furnishings of the rooms are also dated.
Useful Nearby Businesses: I think there is a fitness facility about 5 minutes away. And near the metro there are plenty of little kiosk businesses.
Hotel Restaurants: For $7 they will make a custom breakfast for you.
Other Amenities: Russian billiards on the top floor.
Would I Stay Here? Yes. It's kind of interesting. But it would not be among my most desired choices.
Staff Speaks English? We were told the administrator speaks excellent English. She was an English teacher and spent time in the US and Canada.
Comments: The director is a very jovial fellow, although he speaks no English. The lobby is huge. The rooms are huge. It is unique among the hotels here. Far from the hustle and bustle with a long tree covered driveway from the main road. The area is considered prestigious. And although it is a curious place, the hotel is a bit dated.
Hotel Ass-Tomp CKBM x Foreigners not accepted.
What a name... This hotel informed us over the telephone they do not accept foreigners.
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