Return to our Home page Search
Click here for the hotel and hospitality news from around the globe Hotel, Travel and Hospitality Articles Videos and in-depth Interviews
CONCIERGE DESK
Read more now
Read more now
Read more now
Finding a Home Away from Home in the Former Soviet Union.
By Jabeen Bhatti ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends
Monday, 16th June 2014
 

Exclusive Travel Feature: The Soviet Union was known for many things but a top-notch hospitality industry was not one of them;

Fortunately the major cities in former Soviet capitals like Moscow, Kiev and Tbilisi have built world class hotels that cater to every budget.

But step outside the beaten path and many towns and cities still struggle with old and tired Soviet-era buildings that can be expensive and none too appealing.

That is creating a black market for alternatives. Whether you plan to stay in St. Petersburg or a provincial town in Russia, many entrepreneurial people are renting entire apartments for reasonable prices.

The advantages are obvious: the comforts of home, a complete kitchen and plenty of space makes this an ideal solution for small groups or families. Of course there are challenges: the language barrier may be more difficult if you don’t speak the local parlance but then again, one can’t expect provincial hoteliers to speak many foreign languages either in the wilds of rural Ukraine.

So how does one find an apartment? Surprisingly it’s not hard to do. In many towns and cities older women will wait with sandwich boards advertising rooms to rents. They’ll show the place before any money changes hands. This of course can be time-consuming so many enterprising owners have started advertising their properties on conventional booking sites like Booking.com and Tripadvisor.com.

This isn’t for everybody and if you plan to flit from one city to the next each day it’s probably not worth it. However, if you want to land in a place and spend a bit of time, there are obvious advantages of having the space and comforts of a residential home at one’s disposal.

This tradition isn’t just limited to Russia and the rest of the former Soviet Union. Many towns and cities in ex-Yugoslavia including the beautiful Croatia and Montenegro coastlines also in summer months have armies of pensioners who meet and greet every bus and train with cries of “Soba! Soba!” which means “Rooms! Rooms!” these people are all too eager to rent out spare properties in exchange for some hard currency that supplements their pension.

That tradition isn't new – it harks back to Soviet times across the eastern bloc and the former Yugoslavia. The thing was, then, it was illegal but authorities turned a blind eye to it – mostly.

Still, the quality of the accommodation has improved tremendously.  No more tired coverlets on ancient beds. These days, you can rent and get style and comfort.

Be choosy, though. It’s a largely unregulated market and also one might find they’ve displaced a family -- the foreigner will realize they’re sleeping in the master bedroom while the family huddles together in a small room. That’s not always a comfortable situation to be in but it’s usually pretty easy to tell by looking at the apartment if you’re being offered a vacation rental or someone’s home for the night.

In countries of this region that have joined the European Union (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Croatia), you can still rent apartments or homes, very nice ones actually. But the hospitality industry noticed the void long ago and along with local entrepreneurs moved in to capitalize on market opportunities. As a result, in rural Hungary or Bulgaria or the small provincial capitals of Romania or Poland, there are very nice hotels – even boutique hotels – to lay one's head down in.

But until that happens in rural Georgia or eastern Ukraine, or the small cities of Russia, you might just be better off with a rental.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

Jabeen Bhatti is a reporter and editor in Berlin, Germany. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she has spent most of her career in hard news and currently manages the international journalism organization, Associated Reporters Abroad (ARA). She gets out of Berlin whenever she can, enjoying local nibbles everywhere and finding the perfect hotel room many times over.


Advertise with 4Hoteliers.com ...[Click for More]

~ Important Notice ~
Articles appearing here contain copyright material. They are meant for your personal use and may not be reproduced or redistributed. While 4Hoteliers makes every effort to ensure accuracy, we can not be held responsible for the content nor the views expressed, which may not necessarily be those of either the original author or 4Hoteliers or its agents.

Learn more about DigiJames - in room technology
Advertisment  
 Related Articles  (Click title to read)
Summer Travelers Are Swayed By Price, Incentives.
London Insiders: Don't Believe What you Hear About the Food in Britain.
The Next Round in the Battle Between the OTAs, Hotels and the Big 3.
Foursquare for Hotels - The How and Why Guide.
 Latest News  (Click title to read article)
UAE establishes a skills union for hospitality
Saturday, 26th July 2014

A solid year of international arrivals for New Zealand
Saturday, 26th July 2014

Abacus and Spring Airlines strengthen partnership through knowledge exchange
Saturday, 26th July 2014

Statement from Tony Tyler on tragic week in aviation
Friday, 25th July 2014

Ritz-Carlton bends over backwards to bring service to life through video performance
Friday, 25th July 2014
 Latest Articles  (Click title to read)
Holographic Customer Service: A Real Vision or a Hollow Claim?
Saturday, 26th July 2014

Customer Conversations: Identifying Revenue Opportunities Using Customer Analytics
Friday, 25th July 2014

Hotel Brands in the Future – What Will Hoteliers Have to Do to Survive
Friday, 25th July 2014

Beyond the New Logo, Here's Why You Must Learn from Airbnb
Thursday, 24th July 2014

China's Next Growth Milestone: Outbound Tourism
Thursday, 24th July 2014
 Most Read Articles  (Click title to read)
Global Update: Who's Where and Doing What - April 2014
Is Google the New Hotel Booking Tool of the Future?
Global Update: Who's Where and Doing What - May 2014
Marriott Offering Rewards Points for Social Media Posts
New HR Study: Candid Recruitment Experiences with LinkedIn
 Useful Links  (Click company to visit)
A-Listings - Exclusive Links Section @ 4Hoteliers
www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_mshw.php?mwi=9

AETHOS Consulting Group ~ Overview and Articles
www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_mshw.php?mwi=72

Book Hotels & Travel
www.hotelscombined.com/?a_aid=105951

Connect with us at LinkedIn
hk.linkedin.com/in/4hoteliers

Customized Hotel & Restaurant Equipment
www.forkandchopstick.com

Digital Innovation Asia
www.digitalinnovationasia.com

Follow us on Twitter!
www.twitter.com/4hoteliers

Hospitality Consultants ~ Lifestyle Concepts
www.lifestyle-concepts.com

Hospitality IT & Technology
www.nonweiler.com

Hotel Opening Processes: Exploring better ways to open new hotels.
www.hotelopeningprocesses.com

ITB 2015 Marketing
www.4hoteliers.com/news/story/9725

Private, luxurious holiday villa in Valbonne
www.villa-valbonne-biot.com/en

Sayang - For True Wine Lovers
www.sayangwines.com

TravelDaily China Travel Distribution Summit
event.traveldaily.cn/23/index_en.aspx

TV4Hoteliers.com - Live Interviews
TV4Hoteliers.com

Wynamics ~ Working the Dynamics of Wine
www.wynamics.com

ZIXI - Your Asian Partner: Advisory - Sourcing - Project Management - Market Entry
zixi.hk


© Copyright 4Hoteliers 2001-2014 ~ unless stated otherwise, all rights reserved.
You can read more about 4Hoteliers and our company here

Use of this web site is subject to our
terms & conditions of service and privacy policy