I speak Russian and am a former tour guide in Russia.
We had a booking for a double room at Vanilla in late July 2012.
When we arrived with our 6 month old daughter Ruslan, at the front desk, took one look at our daughter and said, 'You can't stay here.'
There was no indication on the booking form (of the booking website) that an infant would not be allowed. (There was also no way to add an infant to the booking.)
There was likewise no information about children/infants on the Vanilla B and B website.
When we protested, rather than seeking an alternative, Ruslan threatened to call the police!
After a prolonged dispute, he reluctantly agreed to call an affiliated hotel/hostel which had a vacancy.
Later, I found that a cancellation fee had been charged. I asked Ruslan to reverse this, but he refused ('You cost us money, we had to refuse other guests...' etc.) It is unclear who passed my credit card details on to the hostel, because I didn't give them my card details. The booking website was initially unhelpful and denied any responsibility but a manager is now offering to deal with it so I won't name them at this stage.
- This is an example of the worst customer service you can get in Russia: aggressively rude, indifferent, and unaccountable.
- I would advise all travellers to avoid this hostel. Even if you don't have children, my experience was that they clearly can't be relied on to help in a difficult situation.
- Be very careful with your credit card details.
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