I was traveling in Russia recently, and took a side trip from the big cities to Veliky Novgorod, a couple hours south of St. Petersburg. There wasn’t a big backpacker presence there, and therefore only one hostel, that happened to be booked solid. Luckily, there was a pretty great points hotel option: the Park Inn by Radisson, a Club Carlson property. I was able to book it at a rate of 28,000 points for two nights since I have the Club Carlson credit card (sadly, that benefit is going away soon).

Anyway, I was really excited about this hotel because a) it was a hotel and I had been staying at hostels, and b) it was supposed to have a pretty awesome pool/hot tub/sauna. So, imagine my surprise when I went down to use it after a brisk day of walking all around town (about 17 miles that day in total). I was told that the fee would be 1500 rubles. Even with the current exchange rate from USD to the ruble, that was still a whopping $30. To use the pool/hot tub/sauna. Wowza.

I was informed that there was no fee to use the facilities from 8am – noon, but outside of that time the $30 fee was in place. Keep in mine, to book a room (at least the nights I was there) cost around $90 per night. And that $30 fee? Yeah, its per person, per day. Seriously. I was able to take advantage of the area during one morning, and I have to say, there was no way it was worth $30. The pool was freezing and the hot tub was luke-warm at best. Though, the saunas were a pleasant surprise… but not pleasant enough to justify paying so much.

Going back and looking more around their website, I had trouble finding a mention of any sort of fee to use the pool and facilities, but it is there, hidden in the rate details for the rooms. Those sneaky sneakies.

Overall, it was a pretty decent hotel stay, and I greatly appreciated the fast internet… but I still can’t believe how much they were trying to charge people to use the pool!

Have you ever stayed at a hotel that wanted to charge a ridiculous fee? Share in the comments!