Moscow isn’t all soldiers marching in goose step or austere Stalinist buildings. It’s also not all covert agents lurking in dark alleys – Moscow is, after all, the setting for many spy novels. One of the great capitals of the world, Moscow boasts many outstanding attractions, from St. Basil’s Cathedral to the Kremlin and Red Square.
When you visit Moscow, you’ll want to have a few sips of Russia’s most popular spirit, vodka, and sample some traditional foods such as borscht and blini. Not only can you dine like a tsar, you can sleep like one, too. Some of the best places to stay in Moscow feature opulent, elegant furnishings from the imperialist era of the 19th century.
Located across the street from the Moskva River, the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski offers good views of the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Since it’s in the city center, it’s within walking distance of major sights, including Red Square and the Tretyakov Gallery. The 1898 building that houses the hotel has been restored; the Kempinski has been located there since 1992. While the exterior is traditional, the inside is modern, with the contemporary décor extending to its 227 rooms and suites.
The days of the tsars are long past but you can still get a feel for their era at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow. Hotel décor represents the best of 19th century imperialist Russia through lush fabrics and fine furniture. Staff greets you at check-in with a traditional Russian welcome of bread and salt. Hotel The Ritz-Carlton Moscow is really close to the Kremlin and Red Square, so close, as one reviewer put it, if you snore you could wake Lenin in his tomb. The rooftop lounge has an amazing view and tasty drinks.
The AZIMUT Hotel Olympic Moscow may be a far from city center, but it’s only a five-minute walk to the Olimpivsky Stadium. It’s also within a mile of other attractions, including the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, a military museum and botanical garden. Plus, it’s a short walk to the metro station; the hotel offers free bus service to downtown. The hotel does not fit your traditional Russian design, rather it is curve-shaped, heavy on the glass windows.
You’ll be stepping into the late 19th and early 20th centuries when you stay at the National Hotel Moscow. Built in 1903, the building features traditional Russian architecture of the wealthy, with an ornate motif. Inside, the décor is pure 19th century with fine furniture and luxurious fabrics. It has a very elegant feel. The hotel offers 202 rooms, of which 55 “historical” suites furnished with Russian antiques. Considered an historic landmark, the hotel offers great views of the Kremlin and Red Square.
It’s pretty hard to miss seeing the Hotel Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya. That’s because it towers over all the buildings around it. One of the Stalinist skyscrapers, the hotel was the best luxury hotel in Moscow when it was built in 1954. Inside, the main light fixture was at one time the longest in the world. It’s been part of the Hilton chain since 2006. The décor throughout the hotel is nothing short of palatial, something that probably wasn’t the norm in Stalin’s days.
The exterior of the Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel certainly lives up to that name, and continues into the lobby with its glass dome and fountain. If you’ve come to Moscow to shop, this is the place to stay. The hotel is located on Tverskaya Street, with great shopping opportunities just outside the entrance. The neoclassical Yeliseev’s Food Hall is a 10-minute walk away, but Red Square and the Kremlin are 30 minutes away by foot. The rooms are somewhat bland, but contain the latest amenities.
The Hotel Metropol is an historic landmark in Moscow. Under construction from 1899 to 1907, noted artists of the day help decorated the reinforced concrete dome. It was the first Moscow hotel to have in-room telephones and hot water. The Metropol is the only hotel built before the 1917 Russian Revolution that stands today. For a few years after the revolution, it housed Soviet bureaucrats, but reclaimed its hotel status in the 1930s. It’s located on Theatre Square close to the Bolshoi.