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There are a huge number of mid-range independent hotels throughout St. Petersburg, most of which are known as mini-hotels. These small, often family-run establishments, have seen a boom over the past decade as more travellers are seeking affordable accommodation options. Often the cheapest places to stay in the city, mini-hotels are usually a step up from hostels and provide guests with homely bedrooms and modern amenities.
As well as independent mini-hotels, independent hostels are another cheap accommodation option in St. Petersburg for visitors looking for modest establishments with comfortably appointed rooms within easy reach of the main sights.
Independent hotels aren’t just reserved for those after value for their money, though. A handful of four- and five-star independent hotels pamper guests with sumptuous interiors and upscale facilities, such as indoor pools and full-service spas. Usually right in the historic centre, their prime location places guests just steps from the likes of Palace Square and Nevsky Prospekt.
Palace Square is a fine example of St. Petersburg’s former Imperialism. Many stately buildings line the square, though the most impressive is the peppermint-green Winter Palace. This royal residence dates back to the time of Catherine the Great and now houses the famous State Hermitage Museum.
In the middle of Palace Square, the Alexander Column towers over the square’s buildings. Carved from a single piece of granite, the column was erected in under two hours using only a system of ropes and pulleys.
Made up of a number of islands, the Petrogradsky neighbourhood is just a short walk from the mainland, across the River Neva. One of the area’s main attractions is the huge Peter and Paul Fortress. This large citadel was the first structure to be built in the city. There are many buildings inside its perimeter walls, including a jail which can name Dostoevsky and Trotsky as some of its former inmates. Another popular attraction within the fortress is the Peter and Paul Cathedral. It’s St. Petersburg’s oldest church and also the burial site of the Romanovs.