Those coming to Belarusian capital are welcome to stay in local hostels. Their concepts may vary but these are not simply places to spend a night at: here, guests can feel the authentic city atmosphere, have fun and enjoy special moments. Realt.by made an excellent review of three Minsk hostels: Happy, Viva and Trinity, Chinatown, Riverside (which are located at the same place and share the same management) to help foreign guests find affordable and comfortable accommodation in Minsk.
Address: 37A Mozyrskaya Street
“We offer accommodation for up to 50 persons,” Yelena, the hostel’s administrator, explains. “A youth hockey team of 40 have recently stayed with us. Groups of the kind come to us quite often since we offer reasonably priced home-like rooms, parking spaces, and even a meeting hall. We also have agreements with a canteen and can order food for our guests at any time of the day. At the set time, a fresh breakfast or lunch is brought to us in separate containers for each.”
“Apart from Belarusians, we’ve had guests from Jordan, England, and Canada. We provide a residence permit for our guests and, for their convenience, we personally submit all the data on their accommodation and temporary residence to the migration service. We also help foreigners obtain a visa by sending a confirmation of the booked rooms in our hostel,” the lady notes, adding, “In January, we are welcoming sports groups; each is likely to consist of at least 30 persons.”
The hostel has 7 rooms and accommodation prices vary from $7 to $10 – depending on the number of beds are in a room. There is also a separate room for three; it is offered at the price of $25 per night. “The latter are most often booked by families with a child,” explains Yelena. “Actually, we are always ready to meet our guests’ expectations as different situations can occur. If a person stays six months or more with us, we ready to consider the loyalty programme. We are often visited by builders and temporary workers: they appreciate a possibility not to think about clean linens. Moreover, our clean and cozy kitchen offers tea and sunflower oil. Rooms cost $5 per night for these workers who love our services and come to us again.”
Address: 4 Zhukovsky Street
“As other hostels, most of our guests come in summer – from May to October. I think this is because Belarus is really beautiful and warm in summer. Fewer people stay with us in autumn and winter,” explains Viva’s administrator Ksenia. “This summer, our hostel welcomed many fans of the World Football Championship held in Russia. In line with the fan-ID rules, tourists coming to Russia from abroad could visit Belarus without a visa: many took advantage of the opportunity.”
“The convenient location of our hostel, not far from the railway and bus stations, ensures a steady flow of guests who come from all over the world. For example, a couple of months ago, a Canadian stayed with us. As we learned later, the man visited almost all countries on foot: in 1993, he left his house only with a backpack and returned home only 20 years later,” the lady continues.
Room prices vary from $8 (for 10 persons) to $9-11 (for five) and $12-13 (for four), and the hostel can accommodate up to 23 at once. Apart from a bed, Viva’s guests are offered free tea, coffee, Wi-Fi and a towel.
Most often, tourists stay for up to five days but there have been some who lived in Viva for several months. The hosts offer a variety of loyalty programmes for regular customers.
“Our hostel is not large and it’s a major advantage, I believe,” adds Ksenia. “I’m a traveler and can assert from personal experience that the lack of morning queues to the bathroom is an undeniable privilege. In addition, the maximum capacity of 23 people provides guests with more opportunities to meet and socialize with everyone. They especially love to gather in the hall by the TV.”
Trinity, Chinatown, Riverside hostels
Address: 12 Starovilenskaya Street
“As I see, a hostel is not merely a place to spend a night at it is also experience,” Triniti’s Director Ksenia Kurus says. “A person comes to plunge into the atmosphere of the country, to communicate with its people and other tourists. Our hostel boasts a special location and its customer focus attracts guests from near and far abroad. We, in turn, try to meet all their expectations and do even more. For example, we’ve developed our own map of Minsk – indicating the city’s most interesting and party places. We also organize excursions throughout Belarus and Minsk. There are, for example, theatrical excursions to Nesvizh where guests are offered a delicious lunch of traditional cuisine. Our other interesting project envisages visits the coolest bars and pubs of the capital: our guests are served delicious shots and drinks. Each Thursday, we offer a free dinner to our guests which enables them to communicate closer and exchange contacts.”
“We have 3 locations: Trinity, Chinatown, and Riverside,” adds Ksenia. “Each of them differs in design and room category. The cheapest option is an eight-bedroom: in the off-season, a night costs $7 here. A room for three with a balcony is the most expensive offer: it costs $25 in the off-season and around $40 on holidays. In the off-season, guests can stay in the hostel for up to a month but actually, we aim mostly at 2-4 days. There is now WC in our rooms.”
“In 7 years of operation, our hostel has been visited by guests from 152 countries,” the lady says. “Travelling is fashionable now and Belarus often becomes a destination for tourists. Among our guests are those coming from Brazil, America, Germany, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, and India. Came a guy who runs a hostel on the island of Mauritius. We communicate in English but can also speak Spanish and Italian. I’m sometimes genuinely surprised that guys from China speak Russian even better than English.”
“Each front door of our locations is decorated with stickers: these are logos of the most famous world hostels which we would like to meet. I believe our hostels will once join the list of the world’s top 10 hostels.”