it's not so long ago that traveling around russia was a bit of a challenge. there's the language barrier, transportation issues, but most of all the hassle of finding a decent place to stay. you either had to spend a small fortune or lay your head to rest in dodgy quarters where you wouldn't even want to store your luggage. but luckily there has been a huge turnaround, and the local hospitality scene has seen a surge of affordable lodgings by savvy next-generation entrepreneurs who know how to cater to international travelers. it's in russia's cultural capital of st. petersburg where recently an affordable and cool hostel has opened. called chao, mama and located inside a historic mansion, it once was a kommunalka, a typical communal apartment from the communist era.
a thorough renovation has turned it into a welcoming hospitality venue which currently boasts various dormitory rooms and one stylish apartment with private balcony. the new interior is quirky mix of styles from the 20th century, while modern design replicas and faux antique props have also been blended in. chao, mama also features a spacious living room where guests can hang and mingle, a separate dining room, a full-fledged modern kitchen and obviously showers and toilets. coming september the property will be expanded with a number of other private apartments and even a luxurious suite. location: voznyesenskiy prospekt 30 [admiralteyskiy].