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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Serviced Apartments Gain Appeal

For MTServiced apartments, like this one offered by Beatrix for $280 per night, are becoming more popular with business travelers.
With hotel prices soaring and Moscow losing its affordable hotels to demolition and reconstruction as parts of big chains, business travelers are often forced to pay premium prices for a place to rest their heads.

Many companies are turning to a simple and more affordable solution to their employees' accommodation dilemmas -- serviced apartments.

Serviced apartments are available for rent from many of the reputable real estate agencies. They are often cheaper than regular hotel suites and offer a homelike atmosphere to the business traveler who may be weary of yet another standard hotel room in yet another city.

Such apartments can be rented from one night to several weeks, and agencies offer discounts to long-term lodgers.

For example, the St. Petersburg-based real estate agency Nevsky Prostor offers two- and three-room apartments for $80 to $120 per night, with a 10 percent to 20 percent discount, depending on the season, for a two-week stay.

By comparison, depending on the number of stars, the average price of a hotel room in St. Petersburg can run from $100 to $300 per night.

Denis Burlutsky, a short-term lease consultant for Moscow-based Beatrix Relocation Services, said renting an apartment for a short time, as opposed to staying at a hotel, makes a lot of sense because it can be a cheaper option for business travelers, especially in the face of a looming 30 percent increase in the city's hotel room prices and 100 percent occupancy at many hotels.

Burlutsky said his tenants -- 95 percent of whom are foreigners -- are not required to pay any additional fees if they book an apartment at short notice.

Beatrix rents upscale two-room apartments starting at $90 per day, including taxes and agency fees. Corporate clients sign an official contract, with Beatrix receiving payments for apartments by bank transfer.

By arrangement, and for a separate fee, real estate agencies can also supply their serviced-apartment clients with services such as dry cleaning, shopping, driving and interpreting.

Alla Shinkevich, a lease administrator at Nevsky Prostor, said that foreigners coming to St. Petersburg from Moscow for the first time tend to stay in hotels because security is important to them, but those who have been to the city before opt for serviced apartments.

"Many spend their first two nights in a hotel and later move to an apartment," she said.

The majority of real estate agencies that offer serviced apartments have comprehensive bilingual web sites that show pictures of their apartments and give information on the prices, locations and any additional services available.