Arguably Europe’s best kept secret, Moscow is an edgy city that holds a key political, economic, and cultural position not only in Russia but across the world. The country’s capital, it sits scenically on the banks of the Moskva River with the Kremlin and Red Square at its heart – historically, geographically and spiritually. An ancient citadel where Russian Tsars and princes once resided, today the Kremlin is the President’s official residence. The Red Square is home to Lenin’s Mausoleum, the neo-Russian style State Historical Museum and the magnificent colourfully domed Saint Basil’s Cathedral. The Moscow Metro is undeniably the most stunning underground system in the world and turns every trip around the city into an unforgettable artistic experience.
Take in a ballet at the renowned Bolshoi Theatre, and stroll through the expansive Gorky Park. Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve, an 18th Century architectural complex and nature reserve, is a good place to fritter away some time. Moscow has risen to new gastronomic heights, with a meal at the famed White Rabbit, Twins Garden or long-standing Café Pushkin highly recommended. Shopping will play a key role, with all the best high-end brands represented. To break it all up, pause for afternoon tea, an important part of Russian culture and a most memorable ritual.
The BusinessClass.com guide to the best hotels in Moscow:
Four Seasons Hotel Moscow - 9/10
In a striking 1930s-inspired building, the luxury Four Seasons Hotel Moscow is just steps away from the Kremlin and Red Square in the city’s historic heart. The chic rooms come with all the expected modern conveniences and have been upgraded to add sitting areas and terraces. The suites feature large living rooms with fireplaces, dining rooms and even saunas. The decor continues the hotel’s blue, gold and burgundy theme, most offering floor-to-ceiling windows, sizeable and comfortable beds, spacious bathrooms with deep baths and Bvlgari toiletries. Destination dining sees the Quadrum Restaurant serving the tastiest Italian cuisine, with the Bystro offering both a delicious buffet and à la carte breakfast. Guests can enjoy Russian and International cuisine by Chef Ilya Karpaev at the beautiful Silk Lounge, or settle in for drinks at the Moskovsky Bar.
Hotel facilities include the impressive 2600 square metre spa with an indoor heated lap pool and 14 treatment rooms offering unique treatments using Natura Siberica products. These are made from Siberian herbs, berries, and healing mud. There is a comprehensive gym and the option of yoga classes and a personal trainer. Four Seasons is recognised for its impeccable service and the Moscow property is no exception, from the doormen to the concierge staff, housekeeping, and restaurant employees, all ensure a memorable stay.
The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow - 9/10
The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow is located just off Red Square. The hotel’s large, opulent rooms and suites are stylish with modern fixes such as electronically controlled curtains and lighting. The large windows guarantee exceptional city views. Light and sophisticated fabrics in subdued colours give a timeless but modern finish, while the moulded ceiling and wall details add to the historic elegance. The Ritz-Carlton is family-friendly and has extra spoils for kids, including an in-room sleeping tent for the playful adventurer. The landmark rooftop restaurant, the O2 Lounge by Genesis, is the place to round off your day. Savour delectable dishes from Chef Luis Pedrosa’s cookbook, including the finest seafood, sushi and caviar paired with handcrafted cocktails.
In the lobby, enjoy a flute of Champagne or indulge in a traditional Afternoon Tea ceremony. Novikov Restaurant & Bar pairs striking design with impressive culinary treat. The stained-glass window and open kitchen set the scene at this trendy bar that serves pan-Asian cuisine. The Sartoria Lamberti restaurant features fine Italian cuisine. A space for healing and relaxation, The Ritz-Carlton Spa brings you an array of treatments matched by a crystal-studded vitality pool, soaking tub, sauna and beauty salon. The hotel’s in-house experiences, from caviar and vodka tastings to culinary classes, are tempting reasons to stay in situ – especially in the cold winter months.
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Ararat Park Hyatt Hotel, Moscow – 9/10
Designed by New York architect Tony Chi in 2002, Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow’s interior boasts polished chrome, acres of glass, mirrors, and an open-plan atrium, with a showpiece central lift. Ideally located, the hotel offers luxury accommodation with 205 tastefully furnished rooms and 32 expansive suites, all arranged around the atrium. Each is decked out with custom-made furnishings and large comfortable beds, quality linen, work desks and generous bathrooms. Some suites offer whirlpool tubs and terraces, while others are spread out over two levels. All rooms enjoy fabulous views, with the top floor suites boasting the best of them, especially the Winter Garden Suite with its glass walls and rooftop terrace.
The Penthouse Suite boasts an in-house bar, whirlpool tub and the option of a private chef to prepare meals. Offering a bright space decorated with an abundance of living vegetation and flowers is the 10th-floor Conservatory Restaurant & Bar. Its avant-garde menu is complemented by various fragrant herbs brought from around the world and grown in a photogenic micro-greenhouse at the bar. Café Ararat, the hotel’s famed Armenian restaurant is located on the ground level. Here Chef Narek Avagyan provides an authentic culinary experience for anyone in search of traditional cuisine, including grilled meat and fish specialities, all best paired with Armenian cognacs.
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The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya - 9/10
The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya merges a rich cultural legacy with modern design. Set inside an elegant 19th-century building originally designed by architect Robert Gedike for Count Alexei Orlov-Davydov. It features a vast marble-floored foyer and lobby, elegant sofas and armchairs, sparkling chandeliers, and a pair of sweeping staircases. The rest of the hotel is similarly plush, with splashes of Art Nouveau and Art Deco textiles. The 210 rooms are divided between 166 Superior rooms and 44 suites. All are spacious and decorated in glitzy golds, silvers and purples. The slick marble bathrooms have separate showers and large tubs with a touch of mosaic.
Osteria A Tavola is the hotel’s upscale restaurant that serves delicious contemporary Italian cuisine. It is also the place for lavish breakfasts, which includes treats such as sparkling wine and caviar. At the back of the hotel is Ryby Net, a meat-themed restaurant known for high-quality steaks and ribs, while Farsh is a good spot for a casual burger. The elegant Orlov Lounge was named after the first owner of the building, Count Orlov-Davydov. Other dining options include an elegant rooftop, grand lobby bar, and refined cognac and cigar lounge. The spa has a large indoor pool and a fitness room. St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya offers full Butler Service to every guest irrespective of room type and chauffeur-driven Bentleys for rent, should you desire.
Hotel Metropol Moscow – 9/10
Also of prime position, Hotel Metropol Moscow is surrounded by impressive city attractions. Originally opened in 1905 and the result of a collaboration between talented artists and architects, the hotel is a beautiful testament to the city’s history and exudes tradition. There are 394 rooms and suites decorated in grand Russian style and ranging in size and scale from Standard Rooms to Executive and Presidential Suites. All feature early 20th century furniture, quality bed linen and amenities fit for a king – or queen. The Metropol Suite, Premier Suite and Ambassador Suite are tailored in an Art Deco style. Restaurant Metropol is a one-of-a-kind dining hall that has witnessed countless historical events over the years. The stained-glass dome, marble fountain and chamber stage make it the ideal spot for grand celebrations.
Similarly, Restaurant Evropeisky and the mahogany Shalyapin Bar continue a tradition that has impressed the likes of Lenin and Bernard Shaw. The menu of signature cocktails is designed by resident mixologists in the form of tarot cards. Try the ‘Master and Margarita’ cocktail inspired by the famous work of Mikhail Bulgakov, which mentions the Metropol Hotel. For an escape from it all, the Hotel Metropol offers a beauty centre, spa, gym, swimming pool and sauna.
Lotte Hotel Moscow – 8/10
The Lotte Hotel Moscow is located on Novinskiy Boulevard and offers 300 spacious rooms and suites, as well as the largest Royal Suite in Russia which occupies the entire tenth floor. The various room types, from Superior Twin to Deluxe and Atrium Suites, all enjoy city views and the desired modern amenities to complement their opulent finishes and style. The Executive Suite must be singled out for its wonderfully luxurious bathroom.
The hotel has two splendid restaurants. OVO, a contemporary Italian restaurant has been an instant gastronomic highlight for the Russian capital and is a fixture in Moscow’s upscale dining scene. The breakfast is a triumph and considered one of the best in the capital, with more than 100 different dishes and beverages to choose from. The splashes of colour in the décor delight. Those seeking peace will enjoy one of the three intimate dining rooms, aptly named after delicate flowers Capucine, Pivoine, and Violette. Pride of place at Lotte Hotel Moscow is its world-famous Mandara Spa, which combines ancient Balinese spa traditions with the latest achievements of the Elemis and Bellefontaine cosmetics lines, a fitness club with a sauna and swimming pool.
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National Hotel Moscow – 8/10
With an undeniable air of royalty, the National Hotel Moscow is a grand old dame with palatial rooms and gilded suites. Across the river from the Red Square, its location could not be better. Built by architect Alexander Ivanov, the hotel was opened in 1903 and has welcomed guests as varied as Lenin and Trotsky to Jack Nicholson and Barack Obama. Despite renovations in 2009, much of the hotel's original décor remains, including the showpiece white marble staircase, original Impressionist paintings by Yuri Sergeev and plenty of chandeliers. Each of the 202 guest rooms features period furniture inspired by the hotel’s history, spacious bathrooms, and state-of-the-art technology. The 55 suites are adorned with rare Russian antiques, including vases, lamps and paintings. The rooms feature high-end Italian furnishings and overlook either the hotel’s inner courtyard or bustling Tverskaya Street. If you want a real treat, the Kremlin Suites are enormous and come with Bohemian chandeliers.
The atrium lit Alexandrovsky Bar is a hotspot for the local elite and an excellent place to retreat and people watch. On the second floor is the acclaimed Beluga Restaurant that serves delicious Russian cuisine and features a one-of-a-kind caviar station. Led by famed restaurateur Alexander Rappoport, the fairy-tale themed restaurant offers magical views of Moscow's skyline. Although separately run, the lovely Dr Zhivago restaurant on the ground floor serves classic Russian dishes in a charming traditional dining hall setting with Soviet-era art.
Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow – 8/10
Across the river from the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral, the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow’s building dates back to 1898 and was designed by famous Moscow architect Alexander Ivanov. The original façade, decorative figures and airy lobby with soothing colours and graceful furnishing are inviting. With contemporary décor and sought after amenities, the hotel has 227 elegant rooms and 36 suites, including their signature Design Suites. Spread across eight floors, the rooms are generous in size. A popular option is the Grand Deluxe rooms and suites, decked out in soft beiges and royal blues, with light wood finishes and marble bathrooms.
More impressive are the circular Kremlin suites in the hotel’s tower, with commanding views over the Kremlin. There are also four suites designed by the likes of Princess Michael of Kent and David Linley. In-house dining options include Café Kranzler’s open terrace for refreshing cocktails with a view of St Basil's Cathedral. The Baltschug Grill for exquisite culinary delights and the elegant bar Lobby Lounge that serves up the daily Baltschug High Tea. On the ground floor are a gift and barber shop. A beauty centre provides an array of treatments and on basement level a fitness centre and a sizeable indoor pool with whirlpool baths and saunas.
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Savoy Hotel Moscow - 8/10
A legend of Russian hospitality, the elegant five-star Savoy Hotel has played a role in the culture of the capital for more than a century. One of the oldest in Moscow, the Victorian-style hotel’s history is evident in the opulent lobby, painted ceilings, chandeliers and wood-panelled walls. Dating back to 1913, restored to its original appearance in 1989 and completely refurbished in 2005, it offers a refined balance of tradition and modernity, blending the grandeur of the past with relaxed hospitality. Balconies with columns and semi-circular windows add further elegance to the building. The 67 classic rooms and suites feature suave Italian custom-made décor, thanks to the refurbishment being overseen by Italian architect Leonardo Tonioni. For a special occasion, book one the Savoy Grand Suite which has an additional room and whirlpool tub. For longer stays, the two and three-room apartments are ideal.
The legendary Restaurant Savoy is as renowned for its stunning rococo ceiling and marble fountain, as it is for the high-end menu of Russian and European cuisine it serves, many dishes prepared according to old Russian recipes in a real stone oven. The double level Hermitage Bar is fit for aristocracy with engulfing seats and a fireplace in the neighbouring lobby. The hotel’s Savoy Marine Club wellness centre has a decorated 25-metre indoor swimming pool, sizeable gym, and beauty salon.
Barvikha Hotel & Spa – 8/10
The Barvikha Hotel & Spa in the swanky Barvikha Luxury Village is about 11 kilometres from the Arkhangelskoye Palace and 3 kilometres from the Meyendorff Castle. The pedestrianised street is lined with high-end boutiques including Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Giorgio Armani, as well as jewellers and car showrooms. The area has numerous gourmet restaurants and a concert hall to slip out to. The Barvikha Hotel & Spa has 51 spacious guest rooms, each with a large private terrace. Beautifully decorated with a natural finish in lulling tones, the furniture has been exclusively designed for the hotel by Antonio Citterio, with final touches by Armani Cas.
Some have fireplaces and steam rooms. Room categories range from entry-level Terrace Suites to the increasingly spacious Lifestyle, Exclusive, Luxury and Fireplace Suites. The Presidential Suite is a stylish gem with a dining room, kitchen area, living room and bedroom with a five-metre-wide Royal bed – so there will be no vying for space at night. The lush courtyard restaurant is ideal for dining during the Summer months, with relaxing lounge music and a large wine collection adding to the ambience. The hotel is primarily wellness focussed and the vast spa area includes several hot and cold pools, saunas, Russian baths, steam rooms, a rain shower, a beauty salon and a fitness centre. Once ensconced and being pampered, there is little reason to leave.
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