Kyiv - Ukraine - where to stay?
I hear you are thinking of taking a short break to one of Eastern Europes finest capital cities. Flights are booked and I'm sure you found the best deal by searching with Skyscanner. The question which hopefully brought you to this page (and this always insightful blog) is most likely "Where to stay in Kyiv?"
Kyiv the capital and most populous city of Ukraine is located in north-central Ukraine along the Dnieper River. Its population is thought to be around 3million people although some estimate it to be much higher - if this is the case it's the seventh most populous city in Europe. Making it a reasonably large city to navigate for any prospective tourist like yourself. If you are looking for inspiration on the city or on things to do while there be sure to check out my YouTube Channel (The Wondering Englishman) and also this Blog Post (Kyiv or as some still wrongly say Kiev - is booming!) However, do stick around and take in this post, as we will now look at the options on places to stay while visiting Kyiv.
Regular readers of my Blog & viewers of my Channel will have observed I know Kyiv very well. I would be lying if I said you must stay in this part of Kyiv as it's the best part of Kyiv to stay in, and the only part of Kyiv worth seeing. Kyiv is a wonderfully big city - however, where you stay will really depend on your needs. For the benefit of this article, I'm going to assume you are visiting Kyiv for a long weekend or maybe a little longer and you're visiting this unique city for leisurely reasons as opposed to business reasons.
Administratively, the city is divided into districts (raions), which have their own units of central and local government with jurisdiction over a limited scope of affairs. Kyiv has a total of 10 Districts. The districts I would advise new visitors to the city to stay in, to guarantee the most use of the city is Pecherskyi District (Печерський район), Podilskyi District (Подільський район) and Shevchenkivskyi District (Шевченківський район; after Taras Shevchenko). Basically everything around the centre and on the West side of the RIver. Although please do not think I'm saying you shouldn't stay in the other districts as all are worthy of your time - it's just when time is limited these 3 districts are where you should focus on finding the right accommodation for you.
Over the years I've stayed in a selection of amazing places while in Kyiv - ranging from the best five-star hotels to serviced apartments, penthouses, and humble hostels for when I've simply arrived during Independence day and realized everything is fully booked! When visiting Ukraine I use 3 different websites to book the majority of my accommodation - they all offer something different hence the reason I use all three portals. Those portals for booking accommodation are where I book a lot of my accommodation through. They are Airbnb, Booking . com. and Dobovo. If you aren't a user of any of these website's I can't recommend them enough. All have been super useful to me on my travels around Ukraine.
I believe there will be 3 types of tourist travelling to Kyiv - Those with an infinite budget where the price is not relevant to them, The Price-conscious traveller who wants the best value for money and the traveller on a shoestring. Here are my recommendations for all 3 of you. And if it counts for anything I have personally stayed in everything I recommend and I am not sponsored by any of these places.
Luxury Traveller - Price doesn't matter
This is the number one rated hotel on Tripadvisor - however, this is not the reason I'm recommending this phenomenally beautiful hotel. I've had the good fortune to stay here again and again and have always been impressed by the comfort, location, and service. This is a boutique hotel so it must be noted that this hotel only has 50 rooms so during peak season this hotel does tend to be sold out and deals are generally few and far between as the demand always remains high. The comfort and design are where this hotel trumps competitors but due to its small size, it is lacking in other comforts you would expect for the price bracket. This hotel would be perfect if only it had a swimming pool and a larger bar area rather than the small bar it has tucked away past reception.
Located on the other side of the road to Kyiv's Botanical Gardens almost at the top of a reasonably steep hill one will find the very popular Hilton Kyiv. As you would expect from Paris Hilton's Grandfather's empire this is a large hotel with many rooms. As this is a 5-star hotel you will be left very satisfied with the breakfast - perfect way to energise ready for those long walks around this megacity. And yet the real reason I really love this hotel is its fantastic Swimming Pool. I would stay at this hotel sometimes just to use the spa facilities and its awesome pool. The pool makes up for it's less than central location.
Boasting one of the most central locations in Kyiv (at least from a Tourists perspective) this 5-star hotel drips in luxury and finesse. I love the massive ornate reception of this hotel. (a close second to this hotel for its reception would be the Premier Palace.) However, its the size, comfort and modern rooms that make me choose this place over other rivals not mentioned today. A good 5-star hotel should always have a decent bar and the Intercontinental Kyiv has exactly this. The hotel bar is the perfect place to begin an evening before venturing out into the wider city. I recommend sampling one or all of their many fine cocktails. Many an enjoyable late-night has been had drinking whisky in the rooftop bar. The bar is worthy of your time even if you never get to stay in this superb hotel.
Mid Range - Price matters but so does where you stay
Once again all these recommendations will be places I've stayed and with full disclosure, I'm not sponsored by any of these recommendations so its entirely my own independent advice.
Now I was debating if I should put this hotel under the Luxury section but I decided against that. Not because this place isn't super comfortable or extremely luxurious - it's just if you get lucky, at certain times of the year, this place can sometimes be very affordable. The Location for me is extremely special - located on the southernmost edge of Podil it oozes hip and what the trendy kids define as cool. Small details make this place special and worthy of your time especially if you are looking to impress that lucky person travelling with you. Only time will tell if this place gravitates out of the Mid Range prices and into the super-luxury section. Any economist will tell you that demand tends to push up prices and sadly I think prices for this place will only go higher in years to come.
Despite recent Lockdown problems where Airbnb left the majority of hosts high and dry when Covid-19 swept over the world, I still have a fondness for this company. There are hundreds of worthy Airbnb apartments to stay in while in Kyiv. Some of course are better than others. However, I wanted to list my two favourites that can be found on Airbnb in Kyiv that I've had the pleasure of staying in. The first is located 1-2 minutes from Maidan Square and has good old fashioned sleek comfort. Whereas the second is located Slightly to the south of the centre next to the best Vietnamese restaurant in Kyiv - NAM. If you are curious, do check them out below but remember there are hundreds of Airbnbs to choose from in Kyiv and many are worthy of your time and money.
Travel on a Shoestring - but still, live well
It won't last forever, but for the moment Kyiv is a very affordable destination. Personally, I always prefer to have my own place, however, when backpacking and trying to make your budget stretch, hostels and shared accommodation should always be considered. These places are also great ways to meet like-minded people and sometimes locals if you opt for the shared accommodation.
There are Hostels in Kyiv for less than $5 but if you spend a little more you will find something far nicer. I really rate Dobovo for finding affordable apartments. Booking.com for last-minute deals and of course Airbnb. If you leave booking to the last minute, as long as Kyiv isn't super busy, you can find some real bargains. The reason for this - Airbnb algorithm reduces the prices the closer you get to your travel date.
An export that seems to have come from Japan are the capsules. Capsules it would seem have transformed the old fashioned hostel. Partly inspired by the old sleeper trains and partly inspired by Sci-Fi space movies. Guests to these hotels/hostels now have their own Capsule/Pod. The more luxurious ones have some space between themselves and other guests. Whereas the cheap and cheerful ones are usually stacked on top of each other, like a bunk bed, but this time a capsule upon capsule. Pod Living really has come to Kyiv, as BC (Before Covid) there seemed to be a new one in the city popping up almost every month. Only time will tell if this is the way all hostels and budget hotels will go or if it's just a fad. In the meantime, you might as well embrace it for a mere $5-$10 a night depending on which one you use.
With a super central location and at the time of writing this article in 2021, AV-2 Capsule Hotel is the cheapest Capsule accommodation in Kyiv on average. Clean and worthy of your time if you are wanting to save the pennies and live like a Japanese Businessman or a Space Cadet in wonderful Kyiv. Single capsules and Double Capsules are on offer. So, this would work if you were a couple and your other half was open to zany new things. Although I did notice in the double capsules that there was a sign of two rabbits crossed out meaning wild noisy sex is not permitted by guests!
These Capsules I believe have been imported from China. How do I know that? Well, for some reason, Google keeps presenting me with adverts on buying one of these new capsules. The mega-giant Google must know, I think they are an excellent idea and should be in every airport in the world. Sadly airports would rather you sleep on cold tiled floors or unwelcoming benches where every chair has its own armrest thus making laying down nigh on impossible. However, more importantly, Montel Khreshchatyk made the investment in these slick space ages capsules. Located right in the heart of Kyiv by Arena City. This place seems to be double the price of AV-2 due to the high tech nature of the sleeping quarters and yet by European standards it still remains good value.
Less Futuristic but almost exactly the same and with an excellent vibe, the A-Hostel is just around the corner from the Gullivar Shopping centre. Everything you would expect from a hostel, but due to the pod-like sleeping quarters which are either Single or Doubles, you are guaranteed privacy, when you are craving some needed rest after taking in the sights and sounds of beautiful Kyiv. Worthy of your time if you are young and need to meet other travellers - this and the Good Dreams Hostel (however not officially on this list - as it's a little run down in recent years) are probably your best bets if you are looking to remain social with other travellers while on the road.
The beautiful thing about Kyiv is there is an array of districts to explore and places to stay, all offering value to the different types of tourists who will eventually visit the city. I'll keep updating my YouTube Channel and this Blog on Ukraine content - so, do stay tuned. From how to travel around Ukraine to what there is to do.
In my latest two videos on Ukraine (Playlist of over 20 videos), I see how safe the Kyiv Metro is while the nation undergoes the globalists Covid-19 Crisis and in the second video, I walk the entire Main Street in Kyiv - Khreschatyk Street.
I am not sponsored by the Ukrainian Government or any Travel Group, I simply have written this post as I enjoy travelling. Please do check out this blog for more independent travel ideas and my YouTube Channel. As always, videos can always be found on YouTube & LBRY. I use both as sadly YouTube is now censoring content whereas LBRY is for Free-Speech.
If any of this information has been useful to you and you fancy buying me a Coffee please do click the link below to buy me a Coffee via Ko-Fi.com.
Thank you - Alex van Terheyden AKA The Wondering Englishman