Living in Russian hotel
Some hotels may refuse to check you in because you are a foreigner or these may be only the most expensive rooms. Some hotels have different prices for foreigners and the Russians. This doesn’t happen too often now, but if you face such a problem you can hardly do anything even if you came with your Russian friends.
The quality of the rooms and their prices can be quite various but foreigners as a rule are offered the most expensive ones. In Soviet time receptionists had the habit of telling the customers that in their half inhabited hotels no rooms were available. It’s not like this now but in some old hotels there is a room or two for those who is persistent in his requests.
In a hotel typical for Soviet epoch on every floor there is a dezhurnaya who keeps keys to all the rooms in her small kingdom. If she is out for lunch you have no chance to get into your room until she appears. It’s hard to explain but some double rooms are cheaper than single ones. In small towns you may pay a half for a double room (but finally you might find yourself sharing the room with the stranger, that’s why you’d better ask beforehand about “potselenye”).
There is no problem with hot water in hotels but in summer time whole districts may stay without hot water for a month or more, only the most expensive hotels have their own water heating systems. In Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and other big cities with large Universities one can stay at the hostels although it’s not easy to get a room there, it depends on the manager’s mood.