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“Above and Beyond”
Review of By the Hermitage

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By the Hermitage
Ranked #24 of 930 St. Petersburg B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Liverpool
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Above and Beyond”
Reviewed March 19, 2013

First of all, I don't know what Sven A is talking about, the rooms aren't palatial, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with them. The water is hot, the rooms are clean, and warm - and the price is very reasonable, and the location exceptional. What more do you want? My answer would normally be nothing, but when I was in Saint Petersburg recently the girls working here went above and beyond to help me.

My passport was stolen while I was in Russia. The girls helped me by taking a statement in English, and translating it into Russian character so that when I arrived at the Police station I simply had to hand it over. They organised taxis, let me use the Internet, printer - put through phone calls, took down my mobile number and kept in touch with me throughout the whole crisis.

They also let us eat breakfast at 11am, despite the fact that it was supposed to finish at nine. They were more than happy to let reopen the breakfast set up for two hungover English lad, and they never looked unhappy about it.

Cannot recommend highly enough. Thanks again to the staff.

The Passport-less Liverpool fan!

PS Made it home safely!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank TomPW87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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108 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Leiden, The Netherlands
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2012

We booked this hostel through the website saint-petersburg-hotels.com, because via this way we could get visa support for our stay. Big mistake. This website advertises the "By the Hermitage Hotel" to have air-conditioning, but this was the very first thing we saw that was missing as we entered our rooms. The second thing we noticed was the size. This room resembled a train cabin, rather than a hotel room. Sewer piping ran straight through our tiny bathroom, which was unappetizing and noisy. Beds were uncomfortable and very small. The advertised cable television is an illusion. Don't expect to even have one English channel. These rooms are obviously designed for Russians.

Some reviewers here mention that the hotel staff spoke English well, but I haven't experienced anything like that. The staff barely could explain to me why I had to pay some kind of city registration fee. Compared with some of the locals, they may speak excellent English, but don't expect anything more than their 10 word vocabulary. Besides that, some word they probably also have never heard about, is hospitality. Not one moment did we feel ourselves at home in this hotel. They were not ready to answer questions, did not welcome us when we stumbled in with our heavy suitcases, did not say good morning when we entered the breakfast room, or stayed at the phone while we waited for them to get our key.

Some points that we did like was the breakfast, which was quite extensive, and the Wifi, was was fast and reliable. The primary feature of this hotel is the location, which is excellent. This was also the reason we chose for this hotel.

Final point is the price. The hotel obviously takes too much advantage of their location, because this hotel is overpriced.

Don't make our mistake: book several months early if you plan to go in the touristic season, because you want more choice than hotels like this.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Sven A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Level 6 Contributor
46 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed December 14, 2011

The security (having to buzz reception to get past an armoured door the like of which I haven't seen since I worked at an embassy) was a little worrying - what happens if there's a fire? - but I guess it's pretty standard in Russia. Don't think you can chuck a chair through the window and escape that way, they have sturdy bars on them.

This hotel advertises free wi-fi but it does NOT reach all rooms, so verify this at check-in if it's really important to you.

Breakfast was supposed to start at 7 AM but the sole staff member on duty only began to set up a few minutes before that time, which may make an early start problematic.

Otherwise fine. The staff were cheerful and spoke good English, and the breakfast was OK once it arrived. The location, a short stroll from the Hermitage or the Church on the Blood, could not be better.

Room Tip: Get a courtyard room for less traffic noise. Check that it has wi-fi if this important for you.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank JohntheFinn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, Rhode Island
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2011

A friend and I stayed six nights here in June and were quite satisfied with this small hotel. The room was tiny and the hotel reception is on the second floor, as was our room, so that meant lugging suitcases up the stairs (though the staff did help with this when we were leaving). The pluses here are the location--we were able to walk to almost everything--and the friendly and helpful staff. We had ballet and symphony tickets delivered to the hotel, and the front desk staff called a couple of times for us to make sure we got the tickets in time. The breakfast was adequate; it had variety, and some blini that they made every morning, but everything was tepid or cold. (It is tragic to me that some British tea company has sold all of the restaurants on their tea bags and in Russia, of all places, you cannot get a BREWED cup of tea!). I would predict that as the small chain that owns this hotel amasses a bit of capital, some future renovations will drive up the price and the amenities. But for now, for the budget minded traveller who wants a great location and doesn't mind cramped quarters, this hotel is a real find!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank BobEA96
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 23, 2011

Exit from room and the building is ultimately controlled by closed circuit TV and a "request" button one presses to alert the person at the desk ("covered 24/7 by the attendant") to buzz you OUT. Yes, that's right, you cannot leave the building when it is locked unless someone buzzes you out. Even after checking in we were not told about this. When two of our party went down to our rooms while we finished the visa registration routine at the front desk, they were not able to get out of the rooms because there was no indication that one needed to buzz at all, let alone sort out which of the multiple button-like devices near the door would activate the "request." Oh, yes, banging on the door was also useless because it is a solid steel door with PADDING on BOTH sides! When I noted the obvious fire hazard this entailed, the attendant said it was no problem, that if the electrics failed or in case of fire, she would come down with her special key and let us out of our rooms (and presumably the building as well). She claimed she had the only key (not true) and wouldn't give us one. Needless to say, had we been aware of this, we would never have booked here. But getting something comparably priced in the area on the spur of the moment was impossible. We were told that "there are a lot of people that come in this building..." implying that our security would be compromised if the door wasn't locked both direcitons. Of course this is ridiculous. While I believed the lock system could be defeated/broken from inside in an emergency, I was still outraged that a few mornings later we hit the request button for 45 minutes without a response. I finally decided enough was enough and defeated the mechanism, allowing our immediate exit. Breakfast was supposed to be served starting at 7 a.m., but at 7:45 when we made our escape and went up to the desk, there was nobody there, and no breakfast. The keys to all the rooms were left on the desk, and the outer building door was unlocked, allowing "a lot of people" a lot of access to us even if we couldn't get out. One clue to what happened to the attendant supposedly there 24/7: a half-empty bottle of vodka (and partial sausage) were the only items in the breakfast room. Now, the place was nicely finished inside (the building common areas and exterior were quite dilapidated), and the breakfast, when served, was adequate, but I can't imagine anyone in their right mind wanting to stay here.

Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
Helpful?
4 Thank Max B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ayer, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed October 1, 2007

This hotel is no longer part of the Rinaldi chain (not certain if that has any bearing on the quality or not) and is simply called the By the Hermitage Hotel. My travel agent and I chose the hotel primarily for its location (definitely its best feature) and based on the recommendation of a travel company but with some reservations due to the photos available. I stayed there for five nights at $122 a night and was pretty dissatisified with the experience. Please note that I've travelled extensively throughout Europe, South America, and Asia, so my comments are not skewed based on only US standards for room size and cleanliness.

Of course, the rooms are quite tiny. Essentially they took the 3rd floor of a tenament building and carved it up into hotel rooms. There is no elevator - be prepared to carry your bags up two flights of stairs. Once inside, you'll experience college flashbacks to your first dorm room. Assuming my room was typical, all the plumbing pipes were run along (outside) the walls instead of within them, and are quite noisy as a result. Soundproofing betweens the room and hall is non-existant.

When I arrived the first night, there was no phone in the room, but it magically appeared some time the next afternoon. The TV in the room offered 3 channels of static (thank God for video iPods). There's a sign in the bathrooms with a standard line about limiting towel washing to protect the environment, which translated into my towells being replaced maybe once during my five night stay. I'm not certain if my bed linens were replaced or not. The arrangement of a pad and duvet didn't lend itself to a tighly made bed. The two beds in my room were narrower than US twin beds, although thankfully longer (like a super twin). As a 6'3" guy who sleeps on his side, I managed, but barely.

Couple of other points:
- The hotel advertises free wireless Internet. I guess this only applies if you bring your own laptop. There is an open access laptop in the breakfast room but I was charged for its use (about 120 rubles for 1/2 hour usage).
- Breakfast is enough to get you going: coffee, tea, yogurt, cereal, juices, bread, sliced meats and cheeses. The small size of the room, limited seating and uninspired menu causes everyone to sit quietly, wolf down their food, and escape as soon as possible.
- The icing on the cake came on my last day, when I returned at 5:30pm after a full day of sightseeing to discover the door handle for my room was gone. I managed to open the door and quickly discovered the handle for the bathroom door was also missing. After 15 minutes there was a gentle knock on my door and a smiling handyman showed me some replacement door handles and quickly replaced both missing handles. I have no clue why the hotel decided to swap out those handles - the replacements looked identical to the old ones and the old ones operated just fine.

To get some perspective on things, I showed the room to a city native and they agreed that the room was overpriced. This hotel is only a step above a hostel and if I had not already prepaid for the hotel two months before (and didn't want to fight for a refund), I would have bailed out and looked for another room after the first night. It's a barely adequate place to sack out, nothing more.

  • Liked — Central location, easy walking distance to Hermitage, Peter and Paul Fortress, and other sites
  • Disliked — Bed size and overall lack of comfort
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank WorldStomper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed February 14, 2006

My husband and I stayed at the Rinaldi with my sister-in-law Jan 4 - 6th. When the taxi first approached the hotel, I thought we were in the wrong place. It looks like an apartment building. Only a small sign indicates that it's a hotel. We had mixed feelings about the B&B. Here are the pros & cons:

Pros:
Location, location, location!!! This location cannot be beat. It is walking distance to the hermitage, Nevsky Prospekt, ST Isaac's Cathedral, etc. There are tons of shops, restaurants, cafe's and even internet cafe's in the area. Based on location alone, I would definitely return.

The customer service was not great, with one exception. Her name is Elena. She was there on our 2nd day and helped us rent a car, gave us directions and was extremely friendly! She's the reason I'm giving this hotel 4 stars instead of three. The other front desk attendants were not as friendly and were more concerned with dressing inappropriately and chatting with their friends instead of really taking care of the customers. There was another attendant that was nice (can't remember her name!) She let me use the breakfast room to take a Russian lesson while I was there - even though we had already checked out.

Cons:
The rooms are TINY. My husband and I had a twin bed each (though it looked smaller!) My sister-in-law was in a room with a bigger bed, but it definitely wouldn't have fit two people. Our room also had a very bad cigarette smell. The B&B went non-smoking only recently and the smell hadn't gone away. When we approached the front desk there wasn't much they could do and their other rooms were booked. They gave us an air purifier, but that didn't help. They did give us a room deodorizing spray and that was the only thing that helped. We did have to spray often at night. We were sight-seeing most of the day, so it wasn't too bad.

Overall, we had a great experience. We LOVED ST. Petersburg, even though it was dark most of the day!

  • Stayed January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Semi-Backpacker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about By the Hermitage

Property: By the Hermitage
Address: Reki Moiki Emb., 42, St. Petersburg 191186, Russia
Location: Russia > Northwestern District > St. Petersburg > Nevskiy , Palace Square
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #24 of 930 B&Bs / Inns in St. Petersburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — By the Hermitage 2.5*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The name of the hotel speaks for itself. We are located near the greatest cultural and historical museum in Russia and in the whole world - the Hermitage museum. We offer 19 comfortable rooms of different categories: - 8 standard twin, - 6 standard double bed double, - 2 standard single rooms, - 3 economy rooms with shared bathroom The location on the intersection of Nevsky prospect and Moika Embankment gives an opportunity to admire the architectural beauties and to walk through the central sightseeings of Saint-Petersburg. Also in warm weather you can observe the rise of bridges - the most famous symbols of SPB - which are not very far from our hotel. Hotel "By The Hermitage" guarded round the clock and offers a wide range of services: parking, safe deposit boxes in each room, visa support, transfer and more, to provide a comfortable environment for leisure and business travelers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
By The Hermitage Hotel St. Petersburg

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