Staying at hotels
That’s the simplest available option, but there are limitations. One – believe it or not, you (foreigner) just can’t get a room by entering any hotel’s lobby, coming to reception and asking for the room. Officially only the largest hotels (see below the details of some) are allowed to accept foreigners without prior paperwork. If you want by any reason stay in other smaller hotel or even rented apartment (closer to your office, better prices, whatever) your company or the entity that you’re visiting on your business trip (or inviting family) should issue you a letter of invitation type of a document which should be registered in local passport desk and then brought to the hotel of your choice. So when booking a hotel it is always better to check if they do have a means of officially registering a foreigner as it is anyway required by the law that your presence is registered.
Ok, now about the hotels themselves. The largest and probably the best ones are River Park, Azimuth-Sibir, Novosibirsk, and Double Tree (Hilton). Sibir and Novosibirsk hotel are very convenient if you come to Novosibirsk by train, they’re very close to railway station. And well, Double Tree is just typical Western hotel. It is good quality all right, but coming to Russia you want to try something local right?
River Park hotel: +7 (800) 200-96-66, located at Dobrolyubova, 2. Their website is http://www.riverpark.ru and you can book directly there as it is their English version. And we really recommend this one hotel. The truth is that they’re the only large independent hotel left in the city, the rest are parts of the hotel chains and frankly they’re all the same. This one hotel obviously has to find its way to win somehow, and so far their idea is to provide better service. They have really nice and attentive staff, and we tell you their breakfast (provided for free, complimentary to the room) is absolutely gorgeous and best in town.
Sibir hotel: +7 (383) 223-02-03, 223-07-29, 223-12-15, 223-87-66, located at Lenina str. 21.
Novosibirsk hotel: +7 (383) 220-11-20, 221-65-17, 221-65-33, located at Vokzalnaya Magistral, 1.
Double Tree by Hilton: +7 (383) 222-72-94, 222-76-60, located at Kamenskaya, 7/1.
Renting an apartment
Another option for you if you want to live closer to your office, or staying for quite a long period so paying hotel fares wouldn’t be wise, is to rent an apartment.
First of all, people here lives mostly in apartment buildings, private houses are occupied by either poor people (terrible living conditions) or by rich people (great living conditions), but they don’t provide houses for rent, so you probably would find only flats available for rent.
Apartments here are measured in terms of all rooms, not bedrooms, so when you read ‘two-room apartment’ it means exactly two rooms: sitting room and bedroom, or sitting room could be converted into another bedroom (kitchen doesn’t count – all flats have it.)
Most important issue with renting a flat is that landlords mostly don’t care about the product they offer, so you’ll have to spend some time finding ‘decent’ apartment. Many flats are provided without furniture or with just very basic one, so you’ll need to look through some of them to find good one. One-room apartment in the centre of the city will cost starting from 15 000 Roubles (around 300 dollars) per month. Decent apartment in the centre of the city with good furniture might cost 500 dollars and higher.
Finding apartment for rent is not easy if you don’t speak Russian, so interpreter or Russian colleague will be of help. Apart from language problems, the rest is easy – websites and newspapers are full of apartment-for-rent advertisings.