Rent a Dacha
By Irina Sheludkova
Itís Thursday, the sun is shining, the weekend is coming, everybody you know is leaving town, and you have no plans. To keep up with the Jonesís what you need is a dacha!
The dacha (šíŗųŗ) is an integral part of Russian life. Summer is not summer in Russia if you do not go out to the dacha. The dacha is everywhere in Russian literature and painting Ė Turgenevís A Month in the Country, Serovís picture of a Girl with Peaches. Renting a dacha wonít make you a Russian, but it will make you less of a foreigner.
There is just one problem. Real estate market specialists all voice an opinion that if you would like to rent a dacha for the summer season, the optimum time to do so is in February or March at the latest. In May prices go up, the number of options are reduced and it is most likely that you will spend at least two weeks searching for a house and will have to pay much more money than you would have two months before.
But, if the rise in prices werenít bad enough, when it comes to actually finding a cottage for a weekend things can get complicated. The market is not yet mature. Cottage owners prefer to lease their properties for long time and not worry about money and security issues that a short-term rent might bring up. Country houses available for lease for one month, the summer season or a whole year comprise the main part of the databases in real estate agencies.
It is definitely much safer to rent a house through professionals, unless you have a personal recommendation about a property. Once you find a satisfactory option a rental agreement will be produced. Prices vary, depending upon the houseís proximity to Moscow, the size and what is included.
You could, of course, make a search on your own, and spend time looking at the many announcements in newspapers and internet sites. Cottage owners usually hire a local middleman who can offer two or three houses, unlike real estate agencies that have a systematised database. If you rent through a middleman an agreement is usually never made; the tenant hands over the money and receives a note of confirmation in return.
If you canít find the dacha of your dreams, the Moscow region has plenty of possibilities to spend a weekend in a cottage or a luxurious room in a rest centre (they are often called sanatoriums, and are similar to country-house hotels). Many new tourist complexes have been built only recently, but there are many places left over from Soviet times that have been renovated; all of them offer the option of a quiet or active outdoors weekend away from the city. Passport Magazine has carefully selected a list of these places.
Akvareli Resort Hotel
90 km from MKAD, near Vereya town (Minskoye or Kievskoye shosse, not far from Naro-Fominsk town)
16 cottages with 1 to 5 apartments in each, some with kitchen; the resort cannot take more than 80 guests at once. The Protva river is only 50 metres away.
Facilities include restaurant, bars, golf-centre, bowling, tennis courts, horse riding, indoor swimming pool with a summer beach, sauna, Russian and Turkish banya. 12 garden-houses equipped for barbeque. Small pond with carp that you can catch and bring to the kitchen for cooking. Indoor and outdoor playgrounds for children, including organised entertainment.
Pets allowed. 24 hours service. Staff speaks French and English.
From 4,550 roubles per night for weekends. Price includes buffet breakfast, indoor swimming pool with summer beach, towels, unlimited juice and mineral water, training equipment Ė till 7 pm, video library, gym, parking and more.
(095) 200-6091; 926-1514, www.aquaprek.ru
Heliopark Country Resort
Dmitrovskoye shosse, 80 km away from MKAD
In a forest near Dubna river. 5 buildings in country style, various categories of rooms. Restaurant, lobby-bar with Internet cafe, bar with billiards and karaoke, lounge bar, childrensí club, facilities for conferences. The recreational complex offers therapeutic sauna, hydromassage, circular douche, therapeutic and relaxing massage, pearl baths, solarium and beauty salons. The sports complex has a swimming pool with a place for children. Possibility to rent the swimming pool all for yourself after 20:00. Aqua bar, massage, gym, etc. Sauna complex has rooms with Finnish sauna, hammam, etc. Russian banya in a separate wooden house. Zoo, childrenís club and open playground. Many barbeque pavilions, beach, horse riding.
From about 2,200 roubles per night on weekends. Price includes buffet table breakfast and lunch, consultations from medical specialists, entertainment programmes for children and their parents, parking.
(095) 937-5545/44, www.heliopark.ru
Heliopark Thalasso Club Hotel
Novo-Rizhskoye shosse, 45 km away from MKAD, near Zvenigorod
Occupies a territory of 8 hectares in a forest area. Large park with alleys and a pond.
Thalasso-centre and Wellness-centre are situated in a central building. Recreational facilities here are the main attraction. Sea water, sea air and seafood. All kinds of relaxing and therapeutic massage, Alfa-capsules, pearl baths, solarium, caves with sea air. Diagnosis lab. More than 20 beauty therapy programmes. Various packages include complex programmes or a selected treatment of choice. The Wellness-center has a Turkish banya, Finnish sauna, swimming pool and more. Many options for family activities and rest. Room service 24 hours a day. Horseriding, barbeque pavilions, childrensí playground, disco.
From 2,200 roubles per night on weekends. Price includes buffet table breakfast and lunch, consultations from medical specialists, entertainment programmes for children and their parents, parking.
Emmaus Club Hotel
126 km away from MKAD, near Tver town
2 types of accommodation: in a 4-storey building with 72 rooms of various categories all with a view of the Volga river, the Orshin-Voznesensky womenís monastery and forest. 2-storey cottages are built in Russian style, situated in a pine forest. Fishing trips on the Volga. Thai massage, beauty salon, sports equipment rental.
From 2,650 roubles per night in the main building, from 5400 roubles per night in the cottages. Price includes breakfast and lunch buffet (except in the cottages), gym and parking.
Pyatnitskoye shosse, 45 km away from MKAD.
Moscow region, Solnechnogorsky district, Trusovo village
Occupies 11.5 hectares on the shores of Istrinskoye reservoir, and can host up to 192 people. Cottages, buildings with rooms and townhouses, close to the water and a forest. Facilities include a restaurant, tea and cigar rooms, computer hall, fitness-centre with a swimming pool, gym, banya and massage salons.
From 7,100 roubles per room (2 people) on weekends, price includes buffet table breakfast and fitness services.
(095) 775-5550, www.istraholiday.ru
Pyatnitskoye shosse, 45 km away from MKAD
Moscow region, Solnechnogorsky district, Lopotovo village
This is a smaller cottage complex of 2 hectares in a forest area on the shores of Istrinskoye reservoir. Can serve up to 64 people. Restaurant, gym, childrensí room. 2 types of accommodation in the cottages, all equipped with kitchen and refrigerators. Beach.
From 10,400 roubles per cottage (up to 3 people) on weekends.
(095) 775-5550, www.istraholiday.ru
Kaluzhskoye shosse, 39 km away from MKAD
The Voronovo estate has been in existence since the end of the 16th century. Surrounded by fields, forests, ponds and rivers Old Voronovsky park occupies a territory of more than 30 hectares. Its landscaped park, cascade of ponds and classical buildings represent some of the best of 18th century architectural art in Russia.
The therapeutic department is situated in a pavilion which has space for 450 people and provides extensive services for therapy and preventive treatments. Another pavilion is a part of the historical Sheremetyevo estate which has been recently renovated and is separated from the main territory by a river and pond, and accessible by a long bridge.
From 2,400 roubles per day, please check for prices at reception. Price includes 4 meals a day and treatment, parking.
Yaroslavskoye shosse, 60 km away from MKAD
Moscow region, Sergiyevo- Posadsky district, Abramtsevo village, 4 Ul. Muzeynaya.
This resort is situated near to the Abramtsevo museum, where such famous Russian artists and actors as Repin, Vastnetsov brothers, Polenov, Vrubel, Chaliapin and Stanislavsky used to spend their time. The building is in Art Nouveau style. The restaurant boasts one of the most extensive wine menus in Russia. Interiors are decorated with copies of pictures by the Russian artists who used to visit this area. Swimming pool, bowling and casino. 32 rooms of various categories.
From 4,800 roubles per day, price includes breakfast and use of the swimming pool.
(095) 262-6566, 725-3195, www.abramcevo-hotel.ru
Moscow Region, Leningradskoye shosse, Solnechnogorsky district, 20 km away from MKAD.
An old noble estate surrounded by 84 hectares of mature park. In the 1950ís the estate was redesigned by well-known architects and artists of that time, and it served as a reception house for foreign government leaders visiting the Soviet Union.
The rooms are renovated according to the original plans. Recreational facilities in a separate wooden guest house with rooms: sauna, banya, solarium, swimming pool, Jacuzzi. Sports facilities include gym, tennis court, Russian billiards and pool, bicycles, boats, beach, pond fishing, horse and camel riding.
From 4,400 roubles per night for two.
Sail Away In Comfort
Algol Yacht Club
Dmitrovskoye shosse, 100 km away from MKAD, near Dubna
Situated near the Ivankovskoye water reservoir, the Moskvy canal and Dubna river which flows into the Volga.
Facilities include restaurant (European and Russian cuisines), 24 hour bar, barbeque, indoor swimming pool with waterfall and Jacuzzi, sauna, solarium, gym, childrensí room, billiards, paintball, fishing, jet ski, sailing-ship, landing dock.
Rooms are situated in two buildings, one of them is on the water and has rooms only.
Various categories of rooms, from 3,000 roubles (weekends) for a standard room per day, 2 people can share a room at this price which includes breakfast and all facilities in the sports complex from 9:00 to 16:00, 500 roubles per hour otherwise.
(095) 542-2726; 8 903 228-5420, www.algol-club.ru
Vodnik Yacht Club
Dmitrovskoye shosse, 7 km away from MKAD.
Situated on the shore of the Klyazminskoye reservoir. Hotel with 36 rooms by the harbour. Facilities for water sports and leisure: sailing yachts, motorboats, jet-bikes, heated open-air swimming pool. Pier and boatsheds. Volvo and Mercruiser service centres offer a full range of services for vessels. Bowling with 4 lanes, mini-golf, billiards, sauna. Restaurant interiors in a pirate-style. Secured parking lot. Club membership. Please call their management to let them know you are coming. The clubís pier can take up to 200 vessels.
4 categories of rooms, up to 4,200 roubles on a weekend, price includes breakfast. 2 motor ships for rental (120 passengers and for up to 70), from 2 to 9 hours, from 25,000 roubles for 2 hours on weekends.
(095) 576-3387, www.club-vodnik.ru
Get a Feeling of Authentic Russia
Dmitrovskoye shosse, 75 km away from MKAD, near Zagorsk and Dmitrov.
This complex belongs to the Federation of Sport Tourism of Russia. Situated in a clean natural environment 2 km away from the nearest village, surrounded by mixed woods and a river shore with springs. Houses were built in the architectural styles of a Russian village from the 13th to the 18th century. Houses and furniture are all made from wood and all have fireplaces and ovens. There is a stand-alone house with Russian banya and a covered swimming pool. Water-mill, wells with spring water. Food is prepared by a family couple from Pamir, who can treat you to plov, as well as traditional Russian meals.
3,000 roubles per night for 3 people,
5,000 roubles per night for 7 people.
(095) 478-6302, 8 910 458-2065, (Igor Vostokov)
Kolkunovo Cottage Complex
Dmitrovskoye shosse, 140 km away from MKAD, near Kimry town.
The complex is built in the style of a Russian village, in 100 hectares of secured territory. Hunting, fishing, horseriding, carriage driving, motor boats. Playground for children. Pond with an island. Open air sports facilities and rental equipment, paintball. Russian banyas on the water shore. Boat pier and helicopter pad. The complex has its own farm which supplies both restaurants with fresh ingredients; 24 hour shop and cafe, firework shows.
Cottage (4 people and more) from 4,500 roubles per day on weekends. Price includes parking and 2,5 hours in a Russian banya.
300 kms away from MKAD by Yaroslavskoye shosse.
On the shores of the Volga river, in a forest with pines and birches, near an old town called Myshkin.
One-storey wooden houses with open terraces, built from natural materials only. Two options for accommodation: bedroom with suite or just bedroom.
Russian and European cuisine is served in 2 wooden and stone restaurant halls, with a view over theVolga river. Excursions to the towns of the Golden Ring nearby.
Ferry boat to Myshkin, a town which is an open air museum by itself, with souvenir shops and craft shops.
(095) 497-6033, www.myshkin-inn.ru
Dmitrovskoye shosse, 145 km away from MKAD.
Situated on a peninsula 30 metres away from the Volga river, near a pine forest and a birch grove. 10 hectares of secured territory. 22 rooms in houses built in original style, view to the river, lake or forest from each room. Bar, Russian banya, billiards, karaoke, swimming pool, gym, sauna with swimming pool, trap-shooting complex. Restaurant and conferencehall in a stand-alone 3-storey building. Water sports facilities, and the option to place motorboats and yachts in the hotelís inlet which is protected from bad weather by a pine forest. A good place to hike along the shores of eight rivers. Hunting and fishing with professional instructors; hiking and excursions. Lake fishing, picnic areas and barbeque equipment, parking.
4,500 per night for 2 people, breakfast included.
Tirs Hotel is a part of the Eurovolga company, which operates many recreational spots in nature areas. Full tourist package for foreigners, including visa support and translators-guides.
(095) 926 -8787/8, www.eurovolga.ru
This lake is situated between Moscow and St Petersburg, on the Valdayskaya Heights. Numerous neighbouring lakes, swamps, forests, hills and rocks make this area one of the most beautiful nature sites in Russia.
Khizhina Guest House
Tverskaya oblast, Ostashkovo town, Baranovo village, 2 Tsentralnaya Ul., 30 kms away from Ostashkovo
5 hectares in a beautiful quiet place near the lake shore. Accommodation is available in a few 1 and 2-storey cottages. Facilities include restaurant with Russian and European cuisines, bar, Russian banya, sauna with swimming pool, 160m private sand beach with a panoramic lake view. Open air picnics and fireplace inside. Excursions to Nilo-Stolbenskaya Pustyn (400-year-old monastery on Stolbny island), to the head of the Volga river. Motorboat and yacht trips around Seliger lake and islands.
From 3,000 roubles per night per person, price includes 3 meals in a restaurant.
Budget travellers also have a chance to have a rest in a natural environment, and they donít need a camping tent. This motel has lodge houses with all facilities and kitchen, and equipment for grilling outside. Shops in the village nearby.
About 3,000 roubles per cottage, use of a boat is included in the rental price.
Call (095) 772-2775 and check www.seliger.ru for more options in that area.
If you donít want to call around all of these places, you can speak with Repeat Travel who specialise in weekend tours in the Moscow region. The staff speak English. (095) 787-4977, www.2days.ru/russia.html