The best area to stay is anything next to Nevsky prospect (between the Admiralty and Liteiniy prospect) - with great abundance of mini-hotels in Bolshaya Konyushennaya, Bolshaya Morskaya, Malaya Morskaya streets and Nevsky prospect itself. Some luxurious venues are at hand as well - like the Astoria, Grand hotel Europe, Kempinski, Renaissance.
What to avoid? Modern "sleeping regions" - because of their depressive outlook.
thanks... but what are modern sleeping regions?
You can hardly find yourselves in modern sleeping regions without the purpose. For comfortable and safe accommodation I would widen the zone delineated above. There are a lot of hotels and mini-hotels on the streets crossed Nevsky prospect between the Admiralty prospect...and Ploshad' Vosstaniya/Moscow railway station. I also would not avoid the part of Nevsky Prospect between Moskow Railway station and Alexandr Nevsky square where Aleksandro-Nevskaya Lavra is located.
Nearer St. Isaac's Cathedral will cost more, and I found it to be more "touristy" (which can be nice sometimes). You can make it to the Fontanka in 30 minutes without getting too tired, but walking past that gets tiresome. Farther down Nevsky will cost less, and I encountered more Russians walking around and being Russian (which is what I came for). You can also walk to either end of Nevsky without being too tired.
The area of Nevsky Prospekt which is crossed by Mayakovskaya ulitsa (to the north) and Marata ulitsa (to the south) is a nice central location with lots of quality hotels/minihotels to choose from. The Mayakovskaya metro station is also nearby when you want to venture farther.
All this advice is good.......
if you get a map, think of within the Fontanka (Canal). That is, between the Fontanka Canal and the River Neva. Probably, most of what will attract you will be in this area. Nevsky Prospekt goes through the middle of this to Palace Square, the Hermitage and the River Neva where I guess your boat will arrive.
Your train will leave FROM Moscow Railway Station. The Station is three blocks outside the Fontanka and metro stations everywhere.
www.besthotelseurope,com is a great website. I have used them.
So, central location and depends on your budget,
Acedog, strictly speaking, Fontanka is a river not a canal ;)
I am going to suggest that any area is safe, there really are no areas that are "bad" neighborhoods because there is a mix of all classes and income levels in each district, often in the same buildings unless a lot of cities were there are poor neighborhoods and wealthy. Actually there some wealthy areas of new detached homes and luxury apartments but hotels are not near the few there are.
If there is a reason to avoid certain areas it is because of less convenient transportation to the main attractions, although prices will be lower for cafes, shopping and rooms. One of the best areas for transportation is just past the Fontanka away from the Hermitage because there is a concentration of metro (subway stations) within a block or two of Moscow train station that make getting to other districts a snap, and where buses are flowing at 20-30 second intervals along Nevsky prospect until a little after midnight. All 5 metro lines pass under that area. I live in that area on Marata Ul. and no place in the city is so convenient to getting to other regions because of the unique concentration of bus, train and metro services in 1 block.
There are hotels all over the city center so for easy walking to attractions I would suggest staying generally in the center that would include a radius of about 2.5km in any direction from the Hermitage just for a landmark. A number of nice hotels have opened across the river in a quieter portion of the city, Basil Island with good shopping, restaurants and lots of attractions. Dozens of hotels of large scale all the way down to 4-10 room mini-hotels have lined Nevsky prospect and side streets from near the Hermitage all the way to Alexander Nevsky Monastery some 3.5 km away. All have easy access of other areas with ample public transportation. Lower Nevsky prospect used to get warnings from locals but most haven't seen how it has been transformed into a up scale shopping and living area, a new Sokos Hotel has been build 1/2 a block from Moscow Station on Nevsky. All areas of the city center have high rents or purchase prices for apartments, $3k-6/sq meter so there is incentive to fix up the services and building exteriors, courtyards etc.
Most likely you will not spend much time in the hotel so full service might be a waste of money.
Thanks sofar... good info...
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