Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Moscow Hotel Bargain

Last week during a visit to Moscow I spent several nights at the Alpha Hotel, part of the Izmailovsky Park complex of hotels. This is a large but pleasant hotel that caters to tour groups big and small, and the cost of my room, which included an enormous and tasty breakfast buffet, was included in my tour price. When I checked the price online, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the cost of a room at this time of year starts at only $77. Checking prices for September, I found that they were higher, but still as low as $102 per night. The summer price is about half what I paid last time I was in Moscow in 2007, for a hotel situated equally far from the center.
Rooms at the Alpha are basic but very clean, and mine had a tub, hard to find even in Russian homes. The Alpha, which is part of a five hotel complex comprising 7,500 rooms, keeps to the old Soviet system of having an attendant on each floor. You are supposed to leave your room key with her when you leave, and she also keeps track of the minibar and telephone charges. Long distance rates were moderate--about $10 for a five or six minute call to North America.
One big advantage of the Alpha is its location, literally just across the street from a Metro station. The station is listed on my Metro map as Park Izmailovsky, but now seems to be known mainly as Partizanskaya, and it connects directly to the stations near Red Square downtown. Another plus is that it is next to a very large park and to the Izmailovsky souvenir market, an ornate Disneyesque place with turreted buildings that is reputed to have some of the best prices in Moscow for souvenirs. Unfortunately the market is open only on weekends.
With such bargain room prices (for Moscow) there had to be a drawback to this hotel, and there is, especially for summer visitors. Rooms are not air-conditioned, and it looks as if the city is in for another very hot summer. If you leave the windows open for air at night, it can be hard to sleep because of traffic noise--rooms on higher floors are better. I was so tired because of the fast pace of my tour that I didn't have much trouble sleeping, but it is a consideration.
Rates quoted above are from the Website

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