We were rather shocked when we arrived at this "hotel" as it is situated in a rather run-down building. Iskra was billed as "three-star hotel" on an online booking site. By no stretch of the imagination can this be called a hotel.
The staff don't seem to be able to speak/understand English. Thankfully, my friend spoke Russian. Prior to our arrival, he had written in English to ask for the letter of invitation needed for our visa application and didn't get a reply until he wrote another mail in transliterated Russian. (The letters - for an additional charge - were eventually e-mailed to us.)
After our arrival, a strong stale odor assaulted us as we were being led to our room. This prompted us to call around to find alternative lodging. But having arrived during peak season, it was too late for us to get accommodation for the duration of our stay so we had to stick it out for a week.
The room looked rather different than what was... More