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Though the Red Stars Hotel is more than a mile from Nevsky Prospekt and the other major tourist sights, I still recommend it to those who don't mind a little walking.

The staff spoke very competent English, a relief at the end of each long day. They ordered taxis for us on two occasions, and were able to tell us how much our trip would cost in advance, to avoid taxi scams. Before our trip, the staff were also quick to assist us with the necessary paperwork for our visa applications. We corresponded several times on that issue, and every transaction was clear and polite.

The room rate was reasonable, especially considering how clean and modern the hotel turned out to be. I loved the red tiles and heated floor in the bathroom.

The first weekend in April must be the end of St. Petersburg's off-season, because the hotel seemed almost empty. Not that we minded. We enjoyed the delicious continental breakfast each morning, and ate in the restaurant for dinner on our last night. Our waiter's name was Vladimir (of course).

And now the icing on the cake...

You won't be lonely or bored waiting for taxis in the lobby. Hanging on a wall dedicated to guest graffiti (who needs a guest book?), is the sexiest, most bizarre clock I've ever seen.

We tried to find a reference to this clock on the internet and couldn't, so I guess I should put a few of our search terms here for future Red Stars Hotel visitors. From now on, "performance artist paints clock backwards in shower video" or "crazy pink bikini girl paints shower clock video" should bring people here to me. Enjoy. She does this for 12 straight hours. I give you 51 seconds.