I booked a room at the Tsentralnaya for 10 nights (late April-early May) through a travel agency in the U.S. that specializes in travel to and from Russia. I booked the room about 4 months in advance, and it ran me about $150/night. Yes, you read that correctly. And this was the least expensive option I had for my 10 nights in Novosibirsk...
First of all, the positives. The location of this hotel is excellent and probably the best for all around ease of access to most of Novosibirsk. It is one block to the Ballet/Opera house, and about the same distance to a central Metro stop. There are pharmacies and grocery stores within two short blocks, and restaurants all around. All this was good...
The negatives...well, there were many. First of all, throw out any preconceived western notions of customer service. Had I not had a native Russkie with me I may not have ever gotten a room. Of the four women sitting at the reception desk, none spoke english (I speak very little Russian). My friend gave one of the clerks my pre-paid reservation information, and the clerk could find no record of my reservation. There is no computer, it was apparently a manual, paper system. I was advised to take a seat, this might be awhile.
After about 15 minutes of sitting and waiting, a room materialized and we proceeded to the fourth floor, facing Lenin Street. It was basically a two room set-up, with a small living area with sofa, chair, phone and t.v., then a separate bedroom with a bed, a dresser, and two night stands. I wish I had taken photos, but suffice it to say the room decor was cobbled together in the best Russian style from what appeared to be garage sale artifacts from the 1960's. The floor was old linoleum, a few throw rugs thrown over it. The furniture came from different garage sales. The bathroom was unlike anything I have ever seen, and with any luck won't see one like it again. There is a bathtub that shares a water faucet with the adjacent sink. An attached hand held shower head can be used by turning a valve on the faucet. There is no shower curtain, though, so when you take a shower you pretty much spray anything else that is in the immediate area of the bathroom.
The toilet plugged on my first attempt, and so the plunger (already sitting by the toilet) came in handy over the 10 days I stayed here.
I wouldn't say the room was filthy, but I am not very picky. For me it was clean enough, but it certainly wasn't up to Motel 6 standards.
The heating system was an old radiator by the window, but I never had the occasion to use it because it never got cold enough while I was in Novosibirsk. In fact, on a couple of occasions the weather was warm enough to open a window, which took a little doing because it is a very old building with warped wood frame windows. Finally got the windows open enough to air out the room.
I probably wouldn't have noticed (or wouldn't have cared) about any of this if I had only been in town for a day or two, but over 10 days I really began to question my decision to stay at this hotel. I think back to when I booked the room, and thought that by saving $25/night over the next most economical choice (the Sibir) I wouldn't really notice the lesser quality room. I was wrong.
The worst part of the stay, though, was the noise. Not from inside the hotel, but from Lenin Street. It is a major thoroughfare, and road noise/traffic was evident all night, every night. Even with the ancient windows closed it sounded like people were gunning their cars in the next room.
The housekeeping arrangement was interesting. Apparently, there is a maid that is in residence on each floor. She also takes in laundry, if you need anything cleaned, and she charges western rates, I don't remember the individual rates, but it cost me about $20 for a few pair of pants and a couple of shirts. Laundered and folded.
I needed a wake up call on my departure date and so I had my friend inquire at the desk, and they referred me back up to the resident maid. They suggested that I knock on her door, and ask her to set her alarm to wake me up in the morning. I didn't really want to risk missing my flight so I relied on my travel alarm clock and my watch alarm, and fortunately that worked out alright.
The strange practice of turning in the key and my registration papers each time I left the building took a little bit of getting used to, but that wasn't so bad. I guess that is how they keep an eye on who is coming and going.
Again, this was the cheapest option for me on this trip according to the travel agent that I used, and I did a little looking around on my own and didn't really see anything better for less. But if I had it to do over again, I would pony up the extra $25 a night and try something else.
The location of this hotel is primo....but....
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel "Central" - a set of economy class, located in the heart of the city of Novosibirsk, at the crossroads of transport routes.In the cozy rooms have TV, telephone, refrigerator. There is also a restaurant where you can dine and spend the evening in comfort.DescriptionThere are 196 bedrooms, and there are total 352 beds. There have free early entry, free WI-FI , ironing room, камера хранения, ATMs, Ticket offices, taxi, transfer, there are 3 cafe at hotel (European, Japanese, Middle Eastern restaurants) From 07:00 to 12:00 hours from a full breakfast cost 200 rubles.Just invite you to visit a Japanese restaurant "Sushi Terra", which is on the ground floor of the hotel. Here you can enjoy Japanese cuisine and a good time. Opening hours: around the clock . Free entry to the territory.Free hotel reservation (by phone, on-line reservation).Location\areaThe hotel has convenient traffic interchange: 10 minutes from the train station Novosibirsk-Main, 30 minutes to Airport Tolmachevo.Located behind the hotel "Pervomaiskij Square", with a landscaped area, numerous cafes and fountain.Convenient transportation lets you quickly get to any corner of the city ... more less
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