Dec182014

Ruble Rubble and St. Petersburg Russia hotel deals

My interest this week is the effect of the Russian Ruble currency devaluation against the US Dollar and its impact on chain brand hotel rates. Russia is a tourist destination I have long been interested in visiting. For nearly a decade Moscow led the world for high priced hotel rates, an average rate of $404 USD for 2012.

Ruble Rubble and St. Petersburg Russia hotel deals

Top properties in hotel chains like Carlson Rezidor, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Kempinski, Marriott and Starwood offer some luxury deals and many name brand high end hotels are currently pricing in the $100 per night range for 2015 travel.

Luxury hotels are highly accessible in Moscow and St. Petersburg and other Russia locations with current rates at many 5-star luxury hotels under $150 per night after 18% tax. Great savings can be found locking in hotel rates now with the current state of the ruble.

Two days I ago I examined hotel rates in Moscow when the ruble had fallen to 70 RUB = $1 USD. Currently the exchange rate is 61 Russian Rubles = $1 USD. This article looks at the two day impact of 15% gain by the ruble compared to hotel rates which are not moving as dynamically. Loyalty Traveler – Moscow luxury hotel rates are rock bottom for 2015 stays

Russian Ruble Rubble is in the oil

The severe downturn in the value of the ruble hit me with a look today at the exchange rates for US Dollars on September 15, 2014 when I was in Oslo, Norway. The Oslo connection shows that oil price declines resulted in a greater devaluation of Norway’s currency compared to Sweden in the past three months. The value of the Norwegian krone was 11% stronger than the Swedish krone three months ago and is now less than 4% stronger as the two currencies approach parity.

For the tourist this means Norway and Russia are cheaper travel destinations in 2015 while the currency exchange rate of the US Dollar is strong. Assuming prices in Norway have not increased much in three months, the U.S. tourist dollar has gained about 15% in value. In Russia, the dollar has gained over 60% in currency value in the past three months as the ruble exchange rate went from 38 rubles to 61 rubles per US Dollar today.

Here is a brief look at currency rates from September 2014 and today, December 18, 2014 indicating the impact on oil exporting nations like Norway and Russia. Then, how this currency issue relates to current hotel rates in Russia.

Exchange rates three months ago on 9/15/2014

$1 USD =

  • 38 Russian RUB
  • 0.77 EUR or $1.30 USD = 1.00 EUR
  • 0.62 GBP or $1.62 = 1.00 GBP
  • 7.11 SEK Swedish kroner
  • 6.39 NOK Norwegian kroner

Exchange rates today on 12/18/2014

$1 USD =

  • 61 Russian RUB (USD 60% stronger and on Tuesday rate was over 70 RUB = $1 when the USD was 84% stronger than 3 months ago.)
  • 0.81 EUR euros or $1.23 USD = 1.00 EUR (USD 5% stronger)
  • 0.64 British pounds GBP or $1.56 = 1.00 GBP  (USD 3.7% stronger)
  • 7.69 Swedish kroner SEK (USD 8% stronger)
  • 7.41 Norwegian kroner NOK  (USD 16% stronger)

The decline in oil prices have more heavily impacted Norway and Russia than UK and Euro countries.

St. Petersburg, Russia Summer 2015

In my Moscow hotel rate series, the dates used were a 3-day weekend from July 3-6, 2015. Weekday rates were higher at many of the high-end hotels.

First is a list of 4-star and 5-star St. Petersburg hotel rates found today.

Second is a list of hotel rates today when the ruble is 61 to the dollar compared to two days ago when the exchange rate was 70 = $1 USD.

Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg 18,400 RUB room only ($302 USD) or 22,129 with Breakfast ($363). Hotel ranks #3 for St. Petersburg hotels on TripAdvisor.com. Even with ruble rubble exchange rates, Four Seasons is still too rich for me.

Hotel rates shown below are room rates only. Add 18% tax.

St. Petersburg has some good hotel deals. The State Hermitage Museum Official Hotel sounds grand and the new hotel currently ranks #1 on TripAdvisor for St. Petersburg with 5 circles after 227 reviews. That is impressive. The chain deals are not as eye-popping as seen for Moscow with its wider range of 5 star hotels.

By far the highest hotel rate compared to hotel ranking on TripAdvisor is Radisson Royal Hotel sporting entry-level room rates around $300 after tax for a hotel ranked #65, far below a hotel like 5-star Corinthia Luxury Hotel at $104, less than half the rate of the Radisson Royal and a better hotel ranking at #35. Other better rated 5-star hotels are available for under $135 per night after tax.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. Ric – it sounds like you’ve been eyeing going to Russia but visa handling might be putting you off. My husband got a Russian visa a couple of times through VisaHQ company, including a 3 year multiple entry one most recently. I would recommend them as the process was easy (fill out an application online so all your info stays in the system for any subsequent visa requests), efficient and painless. They’ve got pretty good customer service.

  2. I’ve stayed there and The radisson royal is an excellent property regardless of how it fares on TA. While it may still be expensive for a 2 nights stay, it can be a good use of points with last night free from cc.

  3. Amazing how some countries have benefitted so much from strong oil prices. And now they are seeing the downside.

    And I think it also shows how free markets work great at having some folks looking for the bargains and spending hard currencies at places that are seeing softness in their own currencies. You don’t have to be some smart foreign exchange currency speculator to benefit from these changes.

    Now I’m waiting for your BRG Russian Ruble Roulette post on how to do take advantage of fluctuating currencies to give you an added chance of scoring a BRG(or lose out on one because the fluctuation went the wrong way). Of course, you have to find the appropriate sites using USD and the hotels have to update their prices on their brand site versus the third party sites at the right time for you to get your BRG. 🙂

  4. @avi – Good to hear you liked the Radisson Royal. I find that often the lower ranking of hotels on TripAdvisor are due to high rates more than the hotel experience.

    @Charles Clarke – I looked at some potential BRG claims, but no point in doing that without a visa in hand to enter Russia. Radisson hotels is where I saw a big discrepancy with Booking.com. I find international BRG claims much more difficult to get accepted. I’m sure there are plenty of potential claims through Russian hotel booking sites.

  5. @Yana – Thanks for the tip. I am interested in going to Russia. My wife is not, which knocks out our July trip flying to Copenhagen.

    I have no plans yet for the next four months and Russia is a possibility.

  6. For me, internatinal BRG guarantee claimes seem to be a losing battle. I submitted a clear one to Hyatt a week ago, Booking.com had the same room (refundable club level at Seoul Grand Hyatt) for 20% less. The Hyatt response might have been incompetant but I imagine it was intentionally dishonest. They said their website had a better price for the same room but then quoted the price for a pre-paid non-refundable room. Hyatt’s normally very good customer service then refused to answer email question about the BRG cliam – probably because they either knew or realized they were wrong. I dont know what it is about internatinal locations but the manegment contracts must make it very unappealing to grant BRG even when they are legitimate.

    Had similar experiences with IHG before. Would be interesting if someone could figure out why they treat international BRG claims differently.

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