|Accommodation options in Moscow|
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Spectacular views of the Kremlin and rooms a short walk from Red Square are two of the highlights of Moscow's centrally located hotels, many of which have recently undergone renovation and extensive remodeling to keep them in line with the expectations of foreign visitors. Prices are similarly comparable to other major European cities.
While Russia does not exactly cater to foreign visitors on small budgets (witness the markups for museum tickets, long-distance train travel and at hotels in the regions), there are some bargains to be found, even in Moscow. As ever, contacts are the best way to get a deal, but patience and luck can often do just as well.
The easiest way to get cheap accommodation is in a university dormitory, but this is usually only available to students paying for Russian lessons at an institute (see Study in Russia). Most organizations will ask you to commit to at least 10 hours a week before they bother with the twin questions of accommodation and visas, so if you are looking for inexpensive accommodations without any study obligations then renting either a small apartment or a room with a family is your best bet.
Remember - travelers in Russia have to be aware of visa issues. The issuing of a visa, and its registration, is often tied to accommodation, so going it alone means you take more of the responsibility. Take a look at our Visas (More information...)
section for advice on getting a visa.
Hostels and Dormatories
The most Western choice is the Traveller's Guest House (More information...)
, which is the only hostel, as we understand it, in Moscow. As such, it is often full during the summer and booking ahead is advised.
The next option is the college, university or institute dormitory. Living in a dormitory hall at one of the universities is an inexpensive option when studying in Russia. Residence arrangements differ greatly, as do the quality of the accommodations, and there are often restrictions on who can stay.
Moscow State University has several residence facilities that are cheap, clean, safe Л and limited to students of a language program affiliated with the university. When school is out, however, it is sometimes possible to talk your way into accommodation at an institute.
Russian boarding houses (huge communalki) are just scary. They may cost only a few rubles a night, but the clientele, security and maintenance of the buildings are in line with the price.
Living with a Russian family is a great way to get to know the place, the language and the people. This option often includes some meals with the family, who usually have some connection to a Russian-study program.
Although there are many Muscovites happy to welcome people into their homes, three factors keep most hosts from openly "advertising" that they accept visitors - tax police, hooligans, and nervousness about people they don't know. Study programs usually have a pool of homestays available, and there are some travel agencies that will arrange this type of accommodation for you.
Of course, hosts will cut out middlemen when they can, but that generally means when they feel secure in doing so. Again, it's all about who you know - and as they're dealing with visitors, it's easier for them to operate through an agency or other organization.
HOFA homestay arrangements(More information...)
Bed and Breakfasts
These are fairly rare, although they do exist. They are often just homestays taken to the next level, with a few people staying in a large apartment. Checking with travel agencies and in newspapers is the best route to finding them.
Moscow Bed & Breakfast
Daily & weekly rentals near Belorussky Vokzal
Tel: 147-0021, U.S. 603 585 3347
Fax 585 6534
Tel: 095 252 4451
Fax 095 205 7683. No credit cards.
B&B on the Arbat
Tel: 203-9446. No credit cards.