Ostrovok is the platform I use to book hotels, not only in Russia but also in other countries. It is the largest booking central to make reservations or accommodation in Russia. It often has lower prices than those offered in Booking or other online platforms. The booking process is very easy and intuitive and in many accommodations you can make a reservation without a credit card.
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What is Ostrovok?
Ostrovok is a hotel reservation platform, like Booking.com, based in Moscow, which was launched in October 2010 by two Russian entrepreneurs trained in Silicon Valley.
In a few years it has become the first online booking platform in Russia with 1.6 million monthly visitors and a hotel offering of more than 150,000 properties in over 200 countries. It is arguably the Russian version of Booking.com.
It is the preferred platform by Russians to make their hotel reservations not only in their country, but also on their trips to other countries. If you are looking for hotels in any city in the world, you can see how the offer is also very wide. The vast majority of the world’s hotels have joined this platform since it involves attracting a large number of Russian customers.
The site is currently beginning its international expansion in the world and has translated its reservation central to English. Therefore, any citizen of the world can already make reservations.
How does Ostrovok work?
What caught my attention from this platform, when I first tried it a couple of years ago, was its sleek interface. Making a reservation on this platform is extremely simple: you enter in their website, fill out the search form with the city where you will stay (or hotel) and the period of stay.
You can filter the search results in various ways: distance from downtown, stars, popularity, services, property type, booking conditions, etc. You also have a map that lets you view the results by location.
Depending on the hotel, you can make reservations in basically 3 ways:
- Pay on arrival: You can pay on arrival at the hotel. This is possible in two different ways:
- Making a reservation without a credit card, you only have to provide your name, e-mail and telephone. You can cancel your reservation at anytime.
- Make the reservation by giving out the details of your credit card. The payment depends on each hotel but usually it can be done till the day of arrival.
- Pay now: make a payment at the time of booking. In this case the rooms tend to be less expensive. You have to look up the cancellations policy because sometimes it is possible to cancel and claim back the money until a certain date.
I always try to make reservations that allow payment upon arrival, with the possibility of cancellation until the day of arrival.
What is striking about this platform is that often offers better prices than Booking.com and other reservation centers.
As I write this article I have done a price comparison between Ostrovok and Booking, with a hotel in Moscow, the Golden Ring Hotel (5 star). Thus, a stay of 5 days (from 10 to 15 July 2016) in a double room in this hotel costs 442 euros (680 Australian dollars) in Booking.com, whereas in Ostrovok the price is 319 euros (490 Australian dollars), a fairly significant difference. If you do a price comparison with other hotels between Ostrovok and Booking you will see as there is almost always a cheaper price in Ostrovok.
Finally, I will say that this platform, unlike others, has a loyalty program that offers points (called “dreams”) for each booking made. 1 dream is 1 ruble and can be spent on future reservations. For a stay of five days you can get up to 1,500 dreams which would become around 20 dollars for your next stay. Not bad.
- If you’re traveling to Russia (or any other country in the world), I highly advise you to look for hotel offers and prices on Ostrovok. You will likely end up using this platform instead of Booking.com
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