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  • Hotels on Nevsky (St. Petersburg; tel. 812/703-3680; www.hon.ru): A local company has renovated sections of buildings around town, including some with views of St. Petersburg's greatest monuments. A range of room sizes and services is available, with the best deals those a bit beyond the tourist-beaten path.
  • Galina's Flat (Moscow; tel. 495/921-6038; galinas.flat@mtu-net.ru): As the name suggests, guests here are staying in Galina's apartment, renovated rooms in a historic quarter of the capital, with basic services and a friendly environment allowing a more intimate peek at Russian life.
  • Kristoff (St. Petersburg; tel. 812/571-6643): This tidy hotel offers a glimpse of Russian life that bigger hotels can't, since it occupies two floors of an apartment building. It's in a charming, lively neighborhood most tourists don't see, but isn't far from the main sights.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.