Moscow from a hotel room. Photo by sevenbrane.
Here’s the deal: I’m in the midst of planning a late January journey to Russia. It’s completely exciting and different and will take EuroCheapo into new (and frozen) territory. However, I’ve hit a minor accommodation stumbling block and could use a little help from you.
I’ll be in St. Petersburg for eight days–exploring the city, camping out at the Hermitage, and visiting some hotels for the site. I’ve got the lodging covered in St. Petersburg.
Moscow hotel quandary
However, from St. Petersburg I’ll be heading down to Moscow for three days. This requires two nights in a hotel. As you may know, Moscow hotel prices are quite steep.
Here’s what I’ve found so far:
* Hostels are available with bunks for $30 a night.
Problem: I don’t want to stay in a hostel. (And I really shouldn’t, considering I’ll have a computer, cameras, and such. And I haven’t found any hostels with private rooms.)
* B&Bs run about $135-200 a night.
Potential problem: Will I be able to find it? Will I feel completely safe staying in a B&B in Moscow? Most of the B&Bs I’ve found don’t have any guidebook or user reviews. Yikes.
* Hotels start at about $200 and shoot up to over $500 a night!
The cheaper hotels tend to be Soviet-era concrete structures (which have their own special charm), located at some distance to the city center. Recognizable chain hotels start at about (gulp) $300 a night and quickly become much more expensive.
So what’s a Cheapo to do in Moscow? Where does an independent traveler stay?
I’m realizing that this isn’t like planning a trip to Europe. Aside from the slightly spooky formalities (hello mandatory tourist visa!), it’s also quite a bit harder to find helpful advice online.
I’m obviously a proponent of independently-run small hotels, and thus this dilemma doubly concerns me. Perhaps Moscow demands a different approach. I’m wondering if I might want to splurge on a three or four-star hotel in Moscow. Or would it be cheaper to book a hotel through a travel agency in the States? Join a tour package (double-yikes!)?
Tell me: Have you been to Moscow? Where did you stay? Do you have any advice? Thanks!