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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Home Sweet Hostel

They are an unlikely investment project, they lack the showy sparkle that Moscow usually turns on for its tourists, and they are a complete mystery to Moscow's residents, who may walk past one and not know it's there.

Hostels were a rare bird in the capital until last summer, when five opened, following in the footsteps of Godzillas Hostel, which became the first of its kind last year.

The options that existed before were mostly located away from the city center and lacked the atmosphere foreign tourists expect in a hostel.

Moscow's hostel scene has not been quick to develop, but today the city's new hostels, charged by the travel experience of their managers, have all the expected amenities and energy of their prototypes abroad: kitchen, laundry, Internet, bunk beds, visa support, and no curfew.

The most recent addition to the hostel scene is Napoleon Hostel near Kitai-Gorod metro station, which was opened in September by Mikhail Nuridzhanov and Richard Lines, a dislocated Londoner.

A few minutes' walk from Napoleon is TransSib Hostel, open since August. Owner Natalia Schitova said that for her, running a hosteling business is not for profit -- it's for pure thirst for adventure, motivated by personal interest in travel and meeting people.

Moscow Home-Hostel is the city's largest, offering double and triple rooms in addition to the dormitories. At the other end of the scale, the Yellow Blue Bus Hostel is renting a renovated three-room apartment. TransSib has a quiet and homey feel, while Napoleon has more of an office interior and a large common area with a bar.

The clients of Moscow's hostels have one thing in common -- they are almost exclusively foreigners. Hostels receive very few Russian travelers and remain virtually unknown to Muscovites.

"Most Russians associate these kinds of accommodation with a Pioneer camp," said Larisa Panok, who came from St. Petersburg to open Moscow Home-Hostel in September. "For foreign tourists this is a place to meet people, especially during months of solo traveling. Extensive solo traveling is not as common in Russia, since it's much more expensive than a good package tour deal."

Alexander, an administrator from the Yellow Blue Bus Hostel who withheld his surname, said the hostel almost never receives Russian clients. Advertising and bookings are done online through English-language hosteling web sites. It is not uncommon for YBB to be fully booked mid-week during low season -- something that is unheard of in regular hotels.

Maria Antonova / For MT
Kristina, one of the administrators at Napoleon, in the hostel's kitchen-cum-laundry.
All of the young managers have been in the shoes of backpackers; they know what their gap-year customers want and provide no-frills lodging and necessary amenities in the city center at a price that is hard to beat, about $25 per night. In Moscow, where finding a room under $100 is considered a bargain, such a low price is likely to ensure plenty of business, even while the hostels remain a secret to the locals.

Godzillas Hostel
6 Bolshoy Karetny Per., Apt. 5 (1st floor), 699-4223, M. Tsvetnoi Bulvar,
Dorm (eight- or four-bed rooms): 725 rubles per person
Single room (double bed): 1,740 rubles
Twin room (two single beds): 1,740 rubles
Total capacity: 24
Other features: female dorm, satellite TV and DVDs, two kitchens, Internet, laundry and ironing board, lockers, taxi pick-up, visa support, no smoking.

Moscow Home Hostel
1/12 2nd Neopalimovsky Per., 109-4228, M. Park Kultury or Smolenskaya,
Dorms (six-, eight-, 10- or 12-bed rooms): 800 rubles per bed
Private room (double bed): 2,000 rubles
Twin room: 2,400 rubles
Super double (with TV and bathroom): 2,700 rubles
Duplex suite: 4,500 rubles
Total capacity: 52
Other features: satellite TV and DVDs, kitchen, Internet, laundry and ironing board, lockers, visa support, registration, free breakfast, balcony.

Napoleon Hostel
2 Maly Zlatoustinsky Per., 4th floor, 624-5978, M. Kitai-Gorod,
Dorm (six- and eight-bed rooms): 700 rubles per person.
Total capacity: 43
Other features: satellite TV and DVDs, kitchen, Internet, laundry and ironing board, lockers, visa support, registration, kitchen, bar, Russia survival skills consultations.

Sweet Moscow Hostel
51 Ul. Arbat, Apt. 31, 241-1446, M. Smolenskaya
Dorms (six- or eight-bed rooms): $25 per bed (payment in rubles at the rate of 27 rubles to the dollar).
Total capacity: 20
Other features: female dorm, Internet, free tee and cookies, laundry and ironing board, kitchen, Internet.

TransSib Hostel
12 Barashevsky Per., 916-2030, M. Kitai-Gorod or Kurskaya,
(4 or 8-bed rooms): $25 a person
Single Room (double bed) $60/room
(Payment in rubles at the rate of 28 rubles to the dollar)
Total capacity: 16
Other features: female dorm, satellite TV and DVDs, kitchen, Internet, laundry and ironing board, lockers, visa support, registration, free breakfast, non-smoking.

Yellow Blue Bus Hostel
5 4th Tverskaya-Yamskaya Ul., Apt. 8, 250-1364, M. Mayakovskaya,
Dorm (four- or eight-bed rooms): $25 per person to be paid in rubles at the Central Bank rate.
Total capacity: 16
Other features: satellite TV and DVDs, kitchen, Internet, laundry and ironing board, visa support, taxi pick-up.