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St. Petersburg B&Bs: Tips and suggestions

By their very nature, bed and breakfasts vary widely from establishment to establishment but, as with other forms of St. Petersburg accommodation housed in residential buildings (see mini-hotels and hostels), there are a few specifics that are almost universal.

Advantages (and disadvantages)

The main advantage of the properties we list as bed and breakfasts is the opportunity to interact with the owners and to get a more genuine feel for life as it is lived by real Petersburgers, or expats who have settled in the city. The coziness and comfort of a real home as opposed to an impersonal hotel is also a major attraction.

The disadvantages (if such they can be called) of choosing a B&B are inherently the same the world over - you are staying in somebody else's home, and therefore you cannot expect quite the same freedom and privacy that you would from a hotel. That said, most bed and breakfast owners in St. Petersburg are generally quite young and fairly easy-going, so issues like 24-hour access should not be a problem.

Availability

These properties are currently few and far between, and tend to become very popular very quickly if they get the formula right, going straight into the guidebooks and shooting up the ratings on review sites. Obviously, most bed and breakfasts also have very few guest rooms. Therefore, particularly during high tourist season (end of May until early August), St. Petersburg's top B&Bs can be booked up months in advance, and the most famous require early booking throughout the year. If you do want to stay in a high-quality bed and breakfast and are worried about availability, send your dates and budget to our travel experts, who will be able to advise you on the best B&Bs available.

Catering

In their effort to make you feel at home, most bed and breakfast owners will provide home-cooked food for you during your stay, in some cases not only for breakfast. We indicate what you can expect from catering at each B&B in our descriptions. You should also have reasonable access (with consideration for other guests) to the property's kitchen, so you can save on meals out as well. Most B&Bs also offer free refreshments (tea and coffee).

Standards

Standards of accommodation can vary considerably, and in many of these properties you should be prepared to share bathrooms, but as a rule B&Bs have rooms that are comparable in terms of fittings to mini-hotels (or average 3-star hotels) but with much more character and more stylish interiors, reflecting the owners' personal tastes and the fact that they have decorated and furnished the premises for their own comfort, rather than from purely commercial considerations.

Infrastructure and entryways

As with mini-hotels (check our tips and suggestions for mini-hotels here), St. Petersburg's bed and breakfasts are prey to the same setbacks with infrastructure as all private apartments in the historic centre of the city. These include occasional short interruptions to water supply (although most B&Bs will be equipped with a boiler, so guests should not have to suffer cold showers), variable water pressure, and no central heating during the summer months.

Communal entryways, although nearly always secure, can be a little unsavory on first impression. While the best bed and breakfasts are generally in reasonably well maintained buildings, owners have little or no control over the condition of public areas, so a neglected staircase and aging elevators should not be seen as an indication of the state of the B&B itself.

Visa support and registration

All the bed and breakfasts featured on our site do provide visa support (the documents you need to apply for a Russian Travel Visa) and will register visitors on arrival. However, this is generally a more time-consuming and complex process for B&B owners than it is for hotels, so you may be required to pay a more significant extra fee for either or both services.

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