Where to stay in Moscow

(CNN) — Moscow has a deserved reputation as an expensive city to visit; however, people who travel here do have a range of options.
Here are 10 good choices of places to stay, whether you can afford one of its luxury hotels or you need to rest your head somewhere inexpensive:


1. Swissôtel

The sweeping panoramas seen from the Swissôtel’s 27 cylindrical stories outclass those of the low-lying luxury hotels near the Kremlin. Floor-to-ceiling windows in every room add drama to the scene.

The design strikes a balance between comfortable and ostentatious, with grand marble bathrooms softened by earthy upholstery and simple hardwood floors.

The highlight of any stay is a cocktail at the flying saucer-like City Space Bar.

2. Ritz-Carlton Moscow

Forget vodka. At the O2 Lounge crowning the Ritz-Carlton, you can order shots of oxygen to go with your sushi, while looking down on Red Square and the Kremlin.

Rooms come with polished cherrywood furniture, feather bedding and heated marble bathroom floors. The Ritz-Carlton Suite has a grand piano, library and sauna, as well as gorgeous views of St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Gothic iron staircases and black pillars lead to the Lobby Lounge, where the who’s who of Russian society eat caviar: beluga, salmon, golden.

3. Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya

Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya

Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya

Courtesy Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya

It may be located in one of Moscow’s so-called Seven Sisters skyscrapers, built in the 1950s in a Stalinist neoclassical style, but the Leningradskaya is more posh than proletariat.

The heritage lobby has 12-meter-high (39 feet) bronze ceilings draped with enormous chandeliers. Bronze statues, marble pillars and gilded cornices complete the dramatic entrance.

From here, guest rooms are accessed via a sweeping staircase overhung with another chandelier — this staircase was, until recently, the longest of its kind in the world.

The Gothic-style Janus Restaurant is a festival of marble and dark oak, and offers Russian specialties such as okroshka soup with kefir, sparkling water and vegetables.

4. Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow

The Kempinski isn’t only host to royalty, it was in part designed by royalty.

Princess Michael of Kent and David Linley are the talents behind the Princess and Linley suites respectively. The former is decorated with lace and chintz and the latter is done up in a masculine combination of Italian marble and sustainable hardwood furniture.

The breakfast spread in Restaurant Baltschug Grill is one of the most lavish in town — scrambled eggs with caviar, for starters — while the spa offers yoga sessions overlooking the Kremlin, massages incorporating rose quartz and Philippine seashells, plus royal grooming treatments by Truefitt & Hill.


5. The Golden Apple

The Golden Apple’s slick combination of historic and avant-garde makes it one of the best of Moscow’s boutique hotels. It’s housed in a 19th-century mansion painted Easter egg blue just off glamorous Tverskaya Street, a 10-minute walk from Red Square.

Every floor is painted a shade of the rainbow (naturally, there are seven in all). Each of the guestrooms has a different design based on its color.

The best room is the Chekhov Deluxe: a sculpture of a seagull nods to the playwright’s best-known work, while the excellent view and heated bathroom floor might inspire you to linger over some Russian classics.

6. Arbat House

Arbat House is an inviting place in the city center. Located on a quiet side street surrounded by embassies and mansions, it’s several minutes’ walk from the pedestrian-only Old Arbat and about a 20-minute walk to Red Square.

The staff is polite and friendly. It has 136 rooms that are comfortable and modern in a variety of sizes: singles and doubles up to suites. A major plus is the expansive complimentary buffet breakfast served in its BB cafe.

7. Aquamarine Hotel

Aquamarine Hotel

Aquamarine Hotel

Courtesy Aquamarine Hotel

This modern hotel was opened in 2010 and occupies a spot on the south bank of the Moskva River, but it’s still walking distance to Red Square on the north bank.

It’s in the Zamoskvorechye district, which has parks and plenty of its own historical sites.

Along with comfortable rooms and suites, Aquamarine also has a gym, Finnish sauna and massage rooms. Its Topaz restaurant serves breakfast and then follows with European-Asian fusion cuisine for lunch and dinner.

Aquamarine Hotel, Ozerkovskaya Naberezhnaya, 26, Moscow, Russia, 115184; +7 495 580 2828


8. Azimut

Surly Soviet monoliths on the outskirts of town were once the budget traveler’s sole lodging recourse, but the new Moscow branch of this Russian hotel chain is a gracious, relaxing haven just one stop outside the central metro line.

Azimut is housed in a 19th-century textile factory, and maintains many features of the original design: exposed brick, vaulted ceilings and cast-iron columns. Rooms come with mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi.

9. Best Western Vega Hotel & Convention Center

This hotel was built for the 1980 Olympic Games and has the early ’80s look of it, too, on the exterior. It also features about 1,000 rooms, some of which offer wallet relief in pricey Moscow.

If you want to spend more, you can get an executive room with sauna, jacuzzi and rain shower. The hotel has a gym and bicycles to rent if you prefer to pedal around Moscow.

It’s located on the edge of Izmailovo Park, which has several buildings dating back to the 17th century and is the home of the popular Vernissage souvenir market. It’s about 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) from Red Square.

10. Sputnik hostel

First of all, there’s just the cool factor of staying in a place with name of the first satellite. And then there’s the cool factor of saving money in an expensive city.

You can get anything from a double room to one where you share space with up to eight people for maximum savings and a chance to make travel buddies. There’s also a large kitchen and living room, three shared showers and bathrooms, a lounge area with a projector and a space for storing luggage. It also has free Wi-Fi.

Sputnik hostel, Ulitsa Bol’shaya Dmitrovka, 20, Moscow, Russia 125009; +7 999 850 44 16

CNN’s Forrest Brown contributed to this article with new material, and Natasha Dragun contributed with previously published material.

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