During the last 15 years the hotel business in Russia has been rapid developing and undergoing the revolutionary changes. International hotel networks have entered Russia’s market, small private hotels have been springing, local chains developed. Amaks hotels, Accord management group, Intourist Hotel group, Alroso, Russian hotels, Eurasia, Forston are the main ones. Old-type Soviet hotels have been renovated to match the international standards. Some of them started to operate under the international brands like Mariott Hilton, Rezidor SAS, Radisson SAS, Royal Hotel, Novotel, Accor. The country leaders in the hotel market are Moscow, St-Petersburg and Sochi. Being popular tourist destinations Moscow and St-Petersburg have 70% of the Russian hospitality market turnover.
While there is a growing demand for 2-3 star hotels in Russian capital, the business is however focused on luxury or upscale segment. St-Petersburg is more friendly for middle budget visitors and a growing number of mini-hotels in the city is partially satisfying the demand.
The construction of mini hotels and guest houses is booming in Krasnodar and Irkutsk regions, which is connected with the approaching Olympic Games in Sochi and increasing interest to eco-tourism on Baikal lake.
In 2010 Russia won the right to host 2018 FIFA World Cup. Since then Russian cities that were included in the bid to host the event witness the hotel construction boom. While Moscow, St-Petersburg and Sochi are well-prepared to accommodate the participants and guests of the World Cup, other cities like Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Nizhniy Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Volgograd, Yaroslavl, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don appeared to have insufficient room supply. The present day construction in the cities is aiming at covering the deficiency of quality accommodation.
Luxury hotels of Moscow and St. Petersburg have the same standards as any International five stars hotels. The prices here are on par with or even higher than in Paris or New York. Usually staying at these hotels guarantees a visitor the best accommodation and the best service levels in Russia. Most famous luxury hotels are Metropol or Golden Ring in Moscow and the Grand Hotel Europe or Emerald Palace in St. Petersburg. Russian five-star hotels are conserved to be the only truly rated.
Russian Budget and mid priced hotels that claim to be four star hotels are mostly three or three-plus star hotels in fact. Some of them are the Ukraina, Irbis and Zarya in Moscow and in St. Petersburg is the Petro Palace Hotel, Rossiya and Andersen.
A number of private homes have been converted for the exclusive use of guest accommodation. They are often called guest houses and combine the features of bed-and breakfast, mini-hotel a guest house and an inn. The term guest house is widely used in Russian tourism business. It appeared not long ago (1990-2000).
The characteristic feature of this type of accommodation is that it aims at providing a home comfort and more relaxed atmosphere than a hotel. The owner usually lives in the same building and offers a number of services. The range of services and a number of facilities is optional. The quality is differs as well as there are no set standards for guest houses. Unlike hotels the guest houses are not monitored by the number of government structures. That is why the room taxes are defined by the free market. The guest houses are not obliged to fit in the standards of hotel classification and therefore there are no precise norms and rules as for the room space, numbering, meals, etc.
The guest houses are especially typical for Russian resort cities like Sochi, Anapa, Geledzhik and other reports of Krasnodar Krai. They cater for tourists coming to have a rest by the sea. The visitors staying in a guest house often have to rely on themselves in a greater extent than in hotels. However the later tendency is to enlarge the number of facilities and quality, so some guest houses can compete good hotels.
Along with guest houses, there are mini-hotels. This type is mainly characteristic for St-Petersburg. In the past, there were many communal apartments in the city centre, which are are large, pre Revolutionary apartments, where a few families were placed to live together after the Revolution - each family in 1 room with communal use of the bathroom and kitchen. They had quite a big space from 120 to 600 square meters. Most usual format is 200-300 square meters, which made it possible to redesign them into a small mini hotel with 6 to 8 rooms, each with a bathroom. The mini-hotel is usually equipped with a shared kitchen-buffet and a reception. Since apartments in many ways are more comfortable than hotels and less expensive, this has become a very popular way to stay for guests coming to the city for short or long trips.
Traditionally a motor hotel, or motel for short, (also known as motor inn, motor court, motel, motor lodge, tourist lodge, cottage court, auto camps, tourist home, tourist cabins, auto cabins or even a auto court) is a hotel designed for motorists, and usually has a parking area for motor vehicles.
In Russia motels have national peculiarities and they are popular as the country does not enjoy the developed highway-system everywhere. So the need for inexpensive, easily accessible overnight accommodation sited close to the main routes is obvious. Most Russian motels developed from the road cafes by contracting extra rooms for guests. The main accent is made on public catering though. A Russian motel is usually a two or three-storey building with a café or restaurant on the first floor and rooms for guests above it. It usually does not have more then 50 rooms.
Quite often the word “motel” is used for the entertainment complex including a casino, amusement park, restaurant, rooms, horse riding facilities. (e.g Motel Aivengo, 18 km from Moscow). Motel “Chaika” in Perm has a paintball complex, ski slope, football field and other not typical facilities for whole concept of a motel. So such motels cater for a different target group than simply car travelers. They are a mixture of a mini hotel and motel in fact. That is why calling this type of accommodation a "motel" is rather a marketing strategy.
Russian hostels are a budget oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed in a dormitory, share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes a kitchen.
Russian hostels operate together with travel agencies. According to Russian legislation hostels cannot act as an independent accommodation. Such hostels are usually based on various lodging facilities and occupy a rented space (one or several floors in the building). The hostel has all the common features of this type of accommodation: the travel agency arranges a shared kitchen, lounge, provides Internet use and often translating services. Another scheme is when inexpensive hotels or dormitories are promoted and offered for rent under the hostel's label.
First Russian hostel was opened in 1992 in St-Petersburg. In 1993 a Russian Youth Hostel Association RYHA was founded. At present it combines the lodging facilities in St-Petersburg, Moscow, Novgorod, Petrozavodsk, Irkutsk. Due to the major flow of visitors to Russian capitals the hostels community is quickly developing there. There are 7 hostels in St-Petersburg now: Metro-Tour, Antonio House, Griboedova 71, Zimmer Ertel, Cuba Hostel, Sleep Cheap и Nord Hostel. St.-Petersburg and Moscow hostels are more focused on foreign tourists who make 60-90% of the visitors staying in hostels.
The booking to Russian hotels is done either though a travel agency or directly on the website which many of Russian hotels, hostels, guest houses and mini-hotels have. The room prices are greatly dependant on the city, location, season and facilities offered.
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