Where to stay in St. Petersburg
The first question any tourist asks themselves: “Where to stay…?”
Liden & Denz of course does a fantastic job providing accommodation for its students, mostly in home-stays with Russian families, which have great advantages for immersing yourself in the language. If, however, you’d prefer something a little different and want to avoid the impersonal (and expensive) hotel option, let me introduce you to a perfect alternative, one of the hidden gems of the city: Soul Kitchen Hostel.
To be clear, Soul Kitchen is not a hostel in the backpacker sense of the word, (somewhere cheap and questionably clean) – rather, its a boutique traveller haven. Spacious, spotless and stunningly designed, ever since it opened in 2009 Soul Kitchen have been scooping up awards from Tripadvisor and Hostelworld and from looking at these photos, its easy to see why.
This hostel exudes character and quality, the passion for design and friendly atmosphere are evident as soon as you step foot there. Conveniently situated on the Moika embankment, all budgets are catered for with both private and dorm rooms, en-suite and shared bathrooms. Although, to be fair, the term ‘dorm’ does a disservice to the palatial quality of the rooms, with their high ceilings, beautiful cornicing and cushioned bay windows overlooking the canal.
Even better, however, than the bedrooms are the communal spaces – each one colorfully decorated with wonderful attention to detail. There are beanbags, table football games, and -perhaps nicest of all – a stunning sun-trap balcony, with wrought iron fencing and trellised plants overlooking the canal, its harder to imagine a nicer spot to spend a relaxing evening with a cold beer.
The shared kitchen is kitted out with all the amenities you need. Every morning you wake up to freshly brewed coffee, free to all guests all day long, and home-made шарлотка (apple cake) for breakfast. Unlike many hostels, its not only clean, but spotless – shoes aren’t allowed inside and, if you stay here, you’ll quickly learn to get out of the way of the cleaners, as they will sweep around your feet if they have to.
Every detail which could possibly make your stay as pleasant as possible has been taken care of; there’s the window seat with its retro ‘spin-dial’ telephone for which you can make free international calls, a film projector and pull-down screen which transforms the lounge into a cinema, shared guitars for impromptu jam sessions and a huge selection of books, games and DVDs.
Perhaps best of all is the social, super-friendly vibe. With new travelers coming through all the time, you can’t help but make new friends every day. The staff help by putting on a constantly updated calendar of events, which refreshingly aren’t all orientated around backpacker (read: drinking) culture. They include evenings teaching you traditional Russian meals, borsht cooking, vodka tasting and excursions all around the city.
So whether you’re planning your next visit, thinking of extending your stay or finding a place to put up some friends; look no further – Soul Kitchen is your spot. Rooms can be booked here.
This blog was brought to you by Kamila, student and intern at Liden & Denz, St. Petersburg