St. Petersburg Hotels
Known as Russia's Northern Capital, St. Petersburg has become a popular destination, especially in summer when tourists come in droves to enjoy the midnight sunshine of the “White Nights.” The good news is that to cater for this demand, a huge number of hip hostels, cozy mini-hotels and elegant boutique hotels have been opening over the past few years, greatly expanding the accommodation options.
Visitor numbers drop dramatically once summer's over, with lodgings in all categories slashing their prices to as little as half their summertime peak. So if you don't mind a chill in the air, you can really save while exploring the city during its least touristy times of year. Fall and winter not only clear out the crowds, they also bring the stunning beauty of golden leaves or a sparkling layer of snow.
Here are our recommendations for where to stay in St. Petersburg:
The Hottest Hostel North of HavanaA million-dollar location on a pauper's budget? Once it would've been a revolutionary idea, but since 2006 backpackers from all over the world have been enjoying just that at Cubahostel. Located behind the grandiose Kazan Cathedral just a couple of minutes walk from the main street, Nevsky Prospekt, this friendly, laid-back hostel puts you right near the mains sights – plus cafes, bars and clubs galore. Prices for bunks in the 10-bed dorm are hard to beat; for a bit more privacy, you can pay a little more to stay in an eight-, six-, four- or two-bed room, with prices inching upwards as the bed-count falls. All share bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, lounge common area, laundry services, and a stairwell styled as a “beach” with hammock in the warmer months. Complimentary vodka gets the party started every night.
Budget-Priced BehemothA massive 2-building hotel with hundreds of rooms, the Oktyabrskaya is one of the city's oldest, having opened in 1851 – but unlike some other prerevolutionary veterans, it doesn't charge a premium for elaborate regal embellishments. It's an appealing place to stay if you're looking for something no-frills but functional that's a step up from a hostel (your own bathroom, for instance). And having operated in Soviet times, it comes with the full spectrum of extra services typical of hotels from that era – beauty salon, tourist office, money change, restaurants. The location is another plus, just across the road from the Moskovsky train station, so it's handy for Moscow trains, the metro, and any other transportation you might need. It's also at the end of Nevsky Prospekt, so sightseeing and shopping are right at your doorstep.
Quiet Courtyard Quarters on the Main StreetNot so much one big hotel, Anabel is more like a cluster of 5 cozy mini-hotels. Each has its own reception and occupies a different floor of a grand old high-ceilinged building located in a lovely, landscaped courtyard through an archway on Nevsky Prospekt – making this a peaceful oasis right in the city center. It's just a 5-minute walk from Moskovsky train station, convenient if you're traveling by train between Moscow and St. Petersburg. There's free tea and espresso around the clock, umbrellas on hand in case of rain, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and all the other mod-cons you'd expect. Various grades of rooms are available at different prices, with all being good value in the medium price bracket. Clean, comfortable and cozy as can be.
A Boutique BeautyThe name means “three bridges” and 3MostA certainly delivers. This gorgeous 26-room boutique hotel is located near a troika of pretty crossings over two picturesque waterways, Griboyedov Canal and the River Moyka. It would be difficult to find a more beautiful neighborhood. Steeped in history, every building is practically a landmark. A short walk in one direction takes you to Palace Square and the Winter Palace with the Hermitage Museum; stroll the other way and you'll soon reach the stunning beauty that is the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (its swirling blue domes are visible from the “Superior View” room, the rooftop deck, and the upper-level restaurant). It's not for cheapskates, but 3MostA offers a level of luxury that will make you feel spoiled without lashing out on 5-star lodgings.
5-Star Luxury with History to BootThis duo of neighboring but separate Rocco Forte hotels provides two quite different levels of luxurious accommodation. Located on St. Isaac's Square, both offer spacious, well-appointed rooms with jaw-dropping views of the towering St. Isaac's Cathedral with its 333-foot-high gold-plated dome. While from the outside the two hotels might look quite similar, the Angleterre is positioned as more of a business-class hotel. Originally founded in 1840, it enjoys a certain dark renown as the place where Russia's beloved poet Sergei Yesenin committed suicide in 1925. Its newer, fancier neighbor, the Astoria has hosted royalty and revolutionaries alike in its more than 100-year history; it's the place to stay if you're a celebrity or head of state and only the best will do.
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