Tips and suggestions for St. Petersburg hostels
Hostels have become a fashionable business in St. Petersburg, and a surprising number of new hostels open every year. Unfortunately, a similar number close within a few years (or even months) of opening. Longevity is therefore the single strongest recommendation for St. Petersburg hostels. Bear in mind, though, that some of the city's best hostels may be obliged to move location occasionally.
As your accommodation provider in St. Petersburg, the hostel you stay at is obliged to register you with the local immigration authorities. This process should only require you to hand over your passport at reception for a photocopy to be made. However, it does also incur a fee to the hostel to register you, which is generally passed on to you. Considering it may well represent about half of your nightly bed rate, this seems entirely reasonable.
As well as accommodation, some of St. Petersburg's hostels try to offer an active social calendar as part of their appeal. Some are highly successful in creating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere where guests can meet like-minded travellers and join in with group activities if they so desire. Others are less capable of arranging jollity and entertainment, while a few are even a little too successful, turning their hostels into a 24-hour party where less enthusiastically sociable guests may feel excluded and even harassed. It's worth checking customer reviews carefully to see what you're letting yourself in for.
Most of St. Petersburg's hostels offer private rooms, some even with en suite bathrooms. These can be excellent value, combining the privacy of a hotel room with the social atmosphere and style of the better hostels. However, if the privacy is what attracts you most of all, then it is always worth comparing prices with St. Petersburg's cheapest hotels, as private hostel rooms are almost never the very cheapest option for separate accommodation.