I’m slowly learning that it’s an on-line game played by the hotels here in Russia. They run an advertisement on-line for their hotel. They show you photos of their hotel and photos of their rooms.

YOU take the Bait and you are hooked. THE HOTEL then switches the deal on you.

Three times I’ve been caught in the Bait and Switch. Two times I was able to get out of the trap. This time, here in MARIINSK (МАРИИНСК), I could not escape the trap.

Strike One .. Bait and Switch .. Krasnoyarsk.

Mike and I were told by our landlord that we were going to have to move out of our flat in Krasnoyarsk and that he would provide us another flat. We were not happy with this and I decided to go on-line and find our own accommodation. I did just that. I found a much better deal for us. It was less expensive. It was in an excellent area of Krasnoyarsk very close to the Railway Station. Had two bedrooms. It was 100% perfect. So I made a no-refund-allowed commitment on Priceline / Booking.com for a one week stay with a VISA card guarantee. When we went to look at the new flat, it was in a totally different part of Krasnoyarsk far from the Railway Station. It was a studio apartment with two twin beds NOT two separate bedrooms as shown in the on-line photos. With Patti calling Priceline / Booking.com several times, at a great effort time wise, I think that (but even now am not positive) we were allowed to get out of the no-refund-allowed portion of the on-line agreement. This worked only because we still had our existing flat and our landlord (when we told him we were moving) said we could stay at no additional cost.

Strike Two .. Bait and Switch .. Novosibirsk.

We could not get registered with the Russian Government in Novosibirsk living in the flat we were in. So, again on-line with Priceline / Booking.com, I found a hotel and provided my VISA card as a guarantee. Hotels are required under Russian law to register foreign visitors. This was the joke-to-end-all-jokes. We could not even find the hotel. Where it used to be 6 years ago was now a grocery store. Again Patti talked with Priceline / Booking.com who gave her a phone number for the hotel. We tried calling and calling .. no answer. No luck we never did find it even though we included two local residents (who know the city) in the search. I don’t know if I lost my deposit on this hotel.

Strike Three .. Bait and Switch .. MARIINSK ( МАРИИНСК ). 

We got off the train here in Mariinsk in the dark of a Siberian Winter night. Luggage and all. We were told the property was a 2 minute walk from the Railway Station. We saw photos of a room with two twin beds. Our quoted cost was 1,575 Russian Rubles (US $23.51). We were told free Wi-Fi was provided.

It is 2 – 3 Km not a 2 minute walk from the Railway Station. Our room was a tiny room with vertical bunk (upper and lower) beds. I could NOT NOT NOT get Wi-Fi.

I said .. They said. They insisted, “Your guaranteed price was for this room.”

I said we cannot possibly stay in this tiny room with vertical bunk beds.

“Sir for 2,260 Russian Rubles (US $33.73) you can have this room.”

It is a little cramped but we’ll make do.

It is clean.

Ladies and Gentlemen. Girls and Boys. Officers and Enlisted. Sports Fans everywhere.

What were we to do? We had no option but to take the deal.

I did get Wi-Fi when the manager came in Monday morning. It was a challenge and it is slow but here I am. Patti called Priceline / Booking.com to no avail. A promised return phone call never came.

We took the Bait. We were hooked. They totally switched the deal on us.

Mike said that a Russian businessman came in later and got the very same identical Bait and Switch Deal. He was upset but what to do? He was a one night visitor. So, I got equal treatment. It was not just aimed at a visitor from the United States.

A very nice breakfast is included in our room price.

They are very nice people. I am now fully and legally registered with the Russian Government so they know-their-business with foreign visitors.


It’s only money and I can afford it.

Bait (you take it) and Switch (the hotel switches the deal).

Still Smiling (well, with a grimace).

Cap and Patti.

For the below flat in Novosibirsk we paid 2,000 Russian Rubles (US $29.85) vs 2,260 Russian Rubles (US $33.73) here for our hotel room.

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