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“Gorgeous place”
Review of Nikita's Homestead

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Nikita's Homestead
Ranked #1 of 65 Specialty Lodging in Olkhon
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Gorgeous place”
Reviewed June 23, 2013

We loved Olkhon Island and Nikita's was a great place to see it from. The rooms are very cute and authentic. Ours was a good size with a toilet just next door. The communal set up for food was a nice place to meet others and swap stories or advice, with music in the evenings.

They offer trips around the island but we just struck out on our own and had a lovely couple of days.

They also have a banya, which is a must after a day of walking, especially in April with the Siberian wind. It will warm your cockles!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Helen-Carlo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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231 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Korean first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level 5 Contributor
60 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed June 20, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for 3 nights. The room we got was really big (because it was for 4 persons, not 2). The beds were small, but clean. We had a private toilet and shower. But no hot water or even water in the evening! So if you want to shower do it around 4 o'clock!

The food was ok, not much flavour to it. But enough bread to fill you up.

They offer a lot of tours. The tour to the north of the island is beautiful. The whole island is beautiful to see!

The staff (especially one of the receptioniste) can be really rude! She talkshow a lot to her friends and you can wait, or you are talking to her and she will just talk back to a rude Russain customer how stands behind you!!

Also it's really busy with people how study the water and work/live there. So nikita's isn't a quiet relaxing place, the nature is!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Patriesh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 6 Contributor
162 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed June 13, 2013

We stayed at the homestead for 3 nights. We walked up without a booking and were provided with a room. In the busy season, it may not be possible.
The room was comfortable. It was basic with just beds and a table. The wooden building was pleasant.
The toilet and shower were clean and tidy. Most of the time there was hot water, however, we heard other travelers state that they did not have hot water in their shower.
The meals provided were decent and of good quantity. Tea and coffee was available all day, along with drinking water. There are communal tables in the canteen, so you will meet other travelers.
The staff was friendly and almost everyone spoke English.
Staying at the homestead is an easy stay, as they provide all the necessities: food, accommodation, excursions, transportation, etc. All you need to do is show up and relax.

Room Tip: There are MANY rooms to choose from so it depends on your own preferences. However, some come withou...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank suttonase
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Level 6 Contributor
418 reviews
74 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 245 helpful votes
Reviewed May 16, 2013

Olkhon is a magical island. It's incredibly beautiful, very sparsely inhabited (if you put on your hiking shoes and set off for a 25 km walk, chances are you will not see another human being outside the popular spots) and definitely not equipped with anything resembling a modern tourist infrastructure. Nikita's Homestead is the closest you find to a backpackers' & international accommodation; and with the dearth of services in Khuzhir (the "capital" village) you appreciate the fact that it's got a decent restaurant (included in accommodation cost) and a French bistro bar for relaxing after a long day.

We stayed at "the neighbors" which means cottages cobbled together by the neighboring people; the room was ok, albeit a bit cold in the August chill. The electricity went out once but was brought back online quick. The cold outhouse was kept clean enough, but be aware that creature comforts such as running water and showers are not to be found. However you can rent a sauna ("banya") at Nikita's privately for a good session (highly recommended, worth the cost! – and you can grab your beers from one of the village shops) or just use it in the public washing hours. Also check if the mobile sauna van (not owned by Nikita's but they can help book it) is on the lakeside beach just north of Khuzhir.

All in all Nikita's a nice place to meet people, catch excursions (to get all the way to the north it's worth going on a group tour) and use as a base to explore the island. Everything is close by in Khuzhir so you can arrange to hire mountain bikes etc. And usually people at Nikita's can help with anything as long as you ask nicely.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank LassiK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alamo, California
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2013

In June 2011, four of us set out to vacation and explore a small part of Russia’s Siberian region, a tourist destination which is certainly not well traveled by Westerners, particularly those with little or no Russian language. We found that locating appropriate accommodation and a travel company to assist was not an easy task though, in the end, the effort was well worth it. We found it particularly difficult as we wanted to find a place on Lake Baikal that was unique—we were really searching for a gem. Information about lodging on the web, even at Trip Advisor, was so scant that we resorted to locating Russian sites and using a web translation site to cross-reference the Russian information to English and get any sort of understanding. We did have some limited Russian among us, and that was helpful but all the booking agents spoke English so not an absolute necessity. We were looking for a place that incorporated the incredible natural beauty of one of the most unspoiled landscapes left on the globe, a place that was rustic but not too rustic, and, of course, with a few creature comforts. We know a lot of well=traveled folks, though not a one of us knew a single person who’d actually ever stayed on the Lake, anywhere. We now write this review of our stay at Nikita’s Homestead and Baikal Dunes recreation center (lodge) quite late---we finally gave in to a collective guilt in not doing our bit to add some English based information for others venturing there or interested. So, here’s our humble posting about both; hope it helps.
1. Nikita’s Place and Ohlkon Island
Having stayed a number of days in the idyllic Peschanaya bay, we went on to what most western travelers seem to do, striking out for Ohlkon island. The reviews posted on Nikita’s (located in the Khuzhir district of the island) are fairly accurate—unique architecture, rooms, helpful staff, interesting food—we reserved a rustic two bedroom cabin, which included a shared bathroom, and it was certainly comfortable enough for the single night we were there. Having come just at the tail-end of a June rain, the dusty dirt roads and what passes for the main drag in Khuzhir village took on a Wyatt Earpish atmosphere; really reminded us of what the American West must have looked like 150 years ago. We noted wandering cats, cows entering the internet café (a couple of ‘blocks’ down the street from Nikitas), and packs of wild dogs among other quirky features of staying on the island. The high point of our visit was hiring a guide with 4WD (soviet era military jeep complete with CCCP logo) to tour Ohlkon--the hotel recommended Victor and it would be hard to imagine a better guide. For lunch he cooked us a very interesting and tasty pot of omul, a Lake Baikal native fish, on the campfire he built while we hiked one of the cliffs overlooking the lake.

Booking
We also had trouble calling Nikita’s directly but via LakeBaikalTravel.com, Pavel Bodrykh, found the rooms at a good price. As most travelers have said, Nikita’s is the best location on the island…it is rustic, but well-run and certainly an adventure.

Getting There
A hydrocraft picked us up at Baikal Dunes—this was a very fast and utilitarian boat, one of the few on the lake, and it was a more comfortable journey up the lake from Pechanaya to Ohlkon. We were glad they served us tea and had hot food (think cup-o-noodles) available as well. This was especially important as rain plagued us most of the 2 hour trip up the lake. By the time we landed on the shores of Khuzhir (the hydrocraft skips the normal ferry stop at the south of Ohlkon), the rain had washed out most of the road leading up the very steep hill in to the village and no vehicles of any kind could get down to the beach. The guys managed to hike up a ¼ kilometer hill, quite steep, in ankle deep mud with almost no grasses to cling to. We didn’t pick up a clue on any of the websites or from the booking agents that during a rain, you hike up the hill with bags or whatever, but there really is only the one way in and out. This is great for backpackers, less fun at the time for those of us who needed to pack in the suitcases we were to need on the Transsiberian express, St. Petersburg touring and business meetings that were to follow for us over the next 2 weeks.

2. Baikal Dunes Lodge on Peschanay Bay
Baikal Dunes (lodging, or recreation area as it is listed on websites) is by far the most unique among all we investigated for our trip in July of 2011. Set in an area near Peschanaya and Academicheskaya bays against the backdrop of the Pribaikalsky National Reserve, the area around the lodge has some of the most dramatic views of Lake Baikal. Steeply rising hills and an ancient Taiga forest (the lake and forest date 20 million years back) surround small beach inlets of blue-green clear waters. (see pics). Once we arrived, after crossing some of the Baikal ‘sea’ on a small fishing trawler, we were greeted at the pier by a Fantasy Island-like reception, with nearly all of the lodges’ staff, crisply uniformed, arrayed in formation on the beach to welcome us and the other adventuresome travelers—the boat only had one stop, Baikal Dunes. The lodge has rustic log cabins in varying sizes and while somewhat unrefined, they exude warmth and comfort in this amazingly pristine landscape where each day you can decide on beach lazing or mild to extreme hikes in the Reserve or up and down the coast of Baikal. Our guide through the forest along the coast to the south of the resort included the Lodge’s black-clad security escort, who, though his purpose was unclear, appeared to enjoy the hike, picking unusual flowers to show the guests. The Russian lodge experience is wholly unique—from singing around campfires at the beach to Karaoke in the bar. The lodge is popular as a vacation destination to Russians from Irkutsk. But, it would be unfair to say that this is a Russian exclusive tourist resort, as around the campfire we sang songs (with the aid of much vodka and other libations) with German and French tourists as well as the Russians. We were the only Americans but were immediately incorporated into everyone else’s festivities. It’s a full-board resort—you get what is served. There is an option to order additional items but this seemed to be discouraged. Fortunately the food is generally quite good so we had no worries there. A good thing, because there is no way in or out of the camp except by boat—which comes only every few days. This is a lodge that is exclusive to the guests lucky enough to find it and persevere through the planes, buses and boats needed to get there--no roads lead into the resort over the mountains. This, of course, is its charm. Or, as one friend noted, this really is the resort that time forgot. While it appears to have been built in the late 80s, its Siberian charm provided by its staff and warm hearted guests seems as if it could have been conjured a hundred years ago or more, truly timeless.
Booking Baikal Dunes Recreation Center: Leonid Buynov, BaikalNature.com, was key to helping us contact several hotels in the Irkutsk region and, in particular, this resort (as well in getting the best price). We failed a number of times in trying to contact the lodge itself. The lodging was prepaid; this is pretty common, but no problems at all with the resort, or the various transport providers, honoring the vouchers provided by Leonid.
Getting There: This was an experience—only one boat owner takes people on his fishing trawler out to the area. Leonid booked these tickets for us as well. It’s a 2 hour ride (after maybe an hour and a half on bus from Irkutsk, complete with a stop at a sacred site decorated by indigenous totems) on what resembles a ‘sea’ excursion. If sea-sickness is a concern, it is worth pre-medicating as this is no small lake. We were constantly reminded by the rough seas that it is the world’s largest in terms of volume and depth.

Room Tip: Get the 2 bedroom at Nikita's and a deluxe cabin at Peschanaya.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank michellel155
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cologne
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 12, 2013

My husband and I visited Olchon for the first time in 1998 and stayed with Nikita and Natascha in their simple guesthouse. At that time there was no electricity, running water, telephone or Internet on the island. We returned to visit them in February 2013 and stayed at "Nikitas Homestead,"´which now accommodates eighty guests and has the conveniences, which we did not have in the late nineties. Nikita and Natascha have remained loyal to their prínciple of running a family business without frills. If you want a modern four star sterile hotel, do not stay here. If you want to experience a slice of Siberia with a combination of Russian and Buryatian culture you are at the right address. Here you will meet and talk to fascinating people, who have chosen this accommodation, because they want something that no other place provides - authenticity. The cultural program Nikita and Natascha offer their guests, brings you nearer to the life on the island. The multi-language staff makes a great effort to satisfy the guests and plan an interesting program for each visitor. After your stay at “Nikita´s Homestead” you will leave with the feeling you have only scratched the surface of your surroundings, which will make you want to return again.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lois F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clearwater Beach, FL
Level 6 Contributor
265 reviews
188 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 310 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2013

Unique lodging in a wonderful location. Very basic accommodations with full board. Wonderful eclectic buildings, complete with a fully operational traditional banya - well worth a try after a cold day on the island. Nikita's plays well to the backpacker crowd. The evening we were there,they had an accordian player and two ladies in full dress who sang traditional Russian songs in the Bistro. The old style wooden buildings gave you a unique feel for Siberia. The meals were "what they fixed is what you got", but gave us an opportunity to sample hearty Siberian food. An experienced not to be missed. Now do not be misled by the rating, Nikita's is basic, rustic accommodations, but the overall experience makes it a must do. BTW - the bathroom, while not next to the rooms are heated.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Traveler5548
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nikita's Homestead

Property: Nikita's Homestead
Address: 8 Kirpitchnaya, Olkhon 666137, Russia
Location: Russia > Siberian District > Irkutsk Oblast > Olkhon
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 65 Specialty Lodging in Olkhon
Number of rooms: 12
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