ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- What do you tell young -- and financially
challenged -- clients who have hopes of visiting the storied city
of Peter the Great?
One option for the backpacking set is the city's only
The 65-bed St. Petersburg International Hostel was founded in
1992 by Steven Caron of Laguna Niguel, Calif., to fill the need for
modern, budget-style accommodations in a city whose average room
rate rivals London, New York and Paris.
Caron noted that there are a number of cheap lodgings in the
city, but most date back to the Communist era in terms of decor and
After traveling in Russia in the early '90s, Caron found that
"standard hotels for foreigners were very expensive."
"Most foreigners find [Russian-managed budget] hotels lacking in
services, frustrating and not up to Western standards," he
Caron decided to offer an inexpensive and service-oriented
alternative "to help foster the interaction of peoples from various
cultures," he said.
He described the hostel as a "totally renovated facility that
has kept its pre-revolutionary Russian charm with parquet floors,
high ceilings and spacious rooms."
The hostel is a five-minute walk from a metro station, the
Moscow Train Station and Nevsky Prospect, the city's most-famous
Perks include daily breakfast, English-language movies in the
lounge, walking tours and a public computer terminal with Internet
Most facilities are shared, with three or four beds per room.
Net rates are $16 per person in a dormitory and $42 for a double
The hostel is the only Russian member of Hostelling
International, a marketing and standards organization with members
across western Europe.
It also hosts Russia's first full-service student and youth
budget travel agency, Sinbad Travel.
The agency assists young people seeking to travel independently
For more information, call (011) 7-812 329-0818; fax: (011)
7-812 329-8019; or e-mail [email protected].