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In few months I will be traveling to Russia to visit my gf there. I will be booking a Hotel just for myself, will the staff/reception/security have any issues with letting my gf get into the Hotel during the day/evening? How does this work or do you have any advice please?

PS: She wouldn't be able to sleep over otherwise I would have booked for two people.

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    Possible duplicate: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/44604/guests-at-a-motel – gmauch Mar 16 '15 at 16:55
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    Not a duplicate. This is specific to Russia, and hotels (and Gayot's answer shows Russia has specific considerations). That question is about motels, and isn't country-specific. – user56reinstatemonica8 Mar 16 '15 at 18:26
  • Is there a reason you aren't booking a hotel for two people instead? Or seeking other arrangements that would allow you to more easily share the room with her? – Zibbobz Mar 17 '15 at 17:54
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    You are making the effort to travel all the way to Russia and she can't be bothered to help you out with accommodations? – gillonba Mar 17 '15 at 18:40
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There's scant documentation on the net about it, but generally your gf will have a very difficult time getting by the concierge or hotel security. It's likely she will not be successful because they like to keep a close eye on such things. It's likely your gf would be aware of the situation in the first instance.

If she somehow manages to get past the lobby security, there's still secondary security on each floor supported by cameras (especially in the larger hotels). What this amalgamates to is: they don't like it and they are watching for it. They don't care if she's not 'sleeping over'. They don't care if she's your gf in a serious relationship. It's just the way things work.

If she gets caught sneaking in, she'll have the option of paying off hotel security or paying off the police when they show up. Things can get ugly fairly quickly.

The problem is soliciting and prostitution (and secondarily, the opportunity for staff to supplement their income). You can skirt the issue in one of two ways:

  • pay off the concierge each time your gf visits; or
  • book the room as a couple
  • get her a separate room

I always opted for the latter because it seemed more economical (and more chivalrous). You did not mention the locale, my answer is relevant for Moscow, Peter, Samara, and Stavropol. Probably you can find exceptions, but they would hardly be 'tourist' quality. Hotels in the more remote regions (Perm, Tomsk, Krasnojarsk for example) may have different principles, but I doubt it.

Adding...

A prostitute working the hotel lobby or bar isn't included in this answer. These girls have on-going arrangements with hotel staff and can go to your room without challenge. Various comments on Trip Advisor like this one, dated 2010: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g298518-d1200684-r77686812-Amaks_Tourist_Hotel-Ufa_Republic_of_Bashkortostan_Volga_District.html,

Trip report from Peter in 2012: http://www.travelpod.com/hotel/Moscow-Hotel-St_Petersburg.html

Trip report from Moscow dated 2014: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g298484-d299980-Reviews-Hotel_Cosmos-Moscow_Central_Russia.html#REVIEWS


The 'golden solution' is to get a furnished flat and dispense with hotel complications altogether. They can be surprisingly economical.


Finally, you can consult a forum largely devoted to men visiting their girlfriends in Russia. There are enough current threads such as What are hotels like in the FSU, where people are giving first hand anecdotes of experiences and impressions...


See also Russian Law: 25.04.1997 № 490, Federal Law of the Russian Federation for the legislation from which hotel operators derive the right to set guest policies.

  • @gayotflow I'm confused: is there a Russian law saying unmarried people can't live together in the same room? – Ankur Banerjee Mar 16 '15 at 23:54
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    I too, am confused. Is it not an option to simply book the room for two people? – DA. Mar 17 '15 at 3:31
  • @GayotFow Russian Law? To be honest this sounds too pathetic, while I can imagine that there are some common regulations accepted by the majority of hotel players, but this is by no means Russian Law. – shabunc Mar 17 '15 at 6:49
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    @DA. the OP wrote "I will be booking a Hotel just for myself" – Gayot Fow Mar 17 '15 at 10:29
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    so I am confused which post to select as an answer, cause all of the replies are extremely helpful!!! I am going to select this one as now I know what to expect if things go wrong, this reply made me more prepared. To the rest of the guys who posted below, thanks a million as your nice comments empowered me. Thanks – Oliver M Grech Apr 22 '15 at 6:10
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It depends on where exactly you are going to stay. In big cities, especially in international network hotels, it is not a problem at all. I've actually had travelled a lot in Russia - and disagree with @Gayot Fow (actually, to be honest, this answer surprised me a lot, I've lived in hotels in Russia pretty often), this is not the case in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

In a shitty hotels in relatively small towns - unfortunately this can happen. Well, I can advise you just not to stay in such hotels at all. The other thing is that unfortunately it is not always an option.

Also, it worth to mention that if you have two-bed room this would be something very, very strange if you won't be allowed to live with your girlfriend. Say, one had paid for beakfast and the other one does not. That's it.

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    Can you please include a link to the unregistered guest visitor policies for those 'international network hotels'? Not all of them, just enough to support your answer with substance. – Gayot Fow Mar 17 '15 at 11:58
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    @GayotFow, I can not, I have no time for that, sorry, I can only share my own experience - so, I've be in a lot of hotels in Moscow and Spb and haven't encountered any troubles of this kind. – shabunc Mar 17 '15 at 12:43
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British and lived in Moscow fifteen years but stay in Hotels all over Russia and often. How often? Three hundred days in a year is my record (Business).

Situation (Moscow) has changed since the late 90's when you'd only not be bothered in the Savoy, Kempinski, National... nowadays even the budget hotels don't give a damn.

So unlikely you will be bothered to be honest.

At most you'll be shaken down at the cheapo hotels (and mostly outside of Moscow) for a few hundred rubles but even that would surprise me.

Prostitutes in the lobby? Perhaps ten years ago and certainly at the tourist hotels (the old Rossiya/Moskva /Intourist, all three demolished and kind of rebuilt) twenty years ago. Now mostly a thing of the past.

@GayotFow I don't read hotel policy documents beyond those related to my reward cards points I'm afraid but I have likely stayed in more hotels in Russia than 99.99% of people :) Actually make that 99.999%.

@OliverMGrech have a good trip!

  • Do these hotels not publish their policies? Why not include links to a few? – Gayot Fow Mar 17 '15 at 11:59
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    @GayotFow You include a couple of Trip Advisor reviews in support of your claims and then demand that anyone who disagrees with you sgiykd post official hotel policy. That seems rather unfair. – David Richerby Mar 17 '15 at 12:12
  • @DavidRicherby, I 'demanded'? Seems a bit harsh. What's wrong with looking for some substance? Hundreds of comments on SO indicate that it's acceptable. Is it really that onerous? – Gayot Fow Mar 17 '15 at 12:26
  • @GayotFow OK, scratch "demand" (and, "sgiykd" should have been "should"). But you're holding people who disagree with you to higher standards than yourself. Rather than just requesting sources, you're requesting a specific type of source that is harder to obtain than the type of source you used (and might well require translation). – David Richerby Mar 17 '15 at 13:01
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    @DavidRicherby, ok, let's just say any support at all that has any semblance of credibility. Fair enough? – Gayot Fow Mar 17 '15 at 13:36

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