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Moscow has accommodation to suit every pocket, from budget hostels to hotels worthy of a Tsar - or an oligarch. Many of the best places to stay in Moscow are close to Red Square and the historic centre.
Moscow hasn't just embraced capitalism, it's capitalised itself into the world's richest city in the space of a couple of decades. Moscow has the most billionaires, it's most popular nightclub is called 'The Most', and it also boasts of having the most expensive cup of coffee.
Even before the fall of the Soviet era, Moscow was home to many very beautiful, many opulent buildings. The red brick of the Kremlin and black cobbles of Red Square are steeped in history, and many treasures built by the Tsars stand as a reminder of the pre-concrete block era of architecture. But since then many of the less beautiful buildings - factories and warehouses - have been converted into more beautiful ones, now housing art galleries and museums, and even clubs and restaurants.
One of the best ways to experience Moscow is on a tour with a local. And there are plenty of themed tours - like cooking and eating. Setting up one of more of these tours in advance is also a good way to get local insight into some of the best places to stay in Moscow. Alternatively check out our guide on how to spend 36 hours in Moscow.
As far as the headline sights go, most people start in Red Square, visiting St. Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's Mausoleum and the State History Museum. It's also possible to visit The Kremlin complex. Inside there are several beautiful churches, an impressive armoury and an even more impressive collection of diamonds.
Moscow has a number of notable art galleries, the most famous being the Tretyakov Gallery and the Puchkin Museum. The Tretyakov is mostly works by Russians artists, which the Pushkin is more western, and has one of the world's most significant collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.
If you want to pick up a few traditional souvenirs head out to the Izmaylovo Market on the weekend.
If you're only here for a short time the best places to stay in Moscow will be close to the centre of town. The Metro system is good, but sprawling.
One of the oldest buildings in Moscow is the Novodevichy Convent, originally constructed in the 16th Century it's a fortified convent. On the convent's grounds is the even more famous Novodevichy Cemetery. Moscow has many other interesting churches, but one of the most architecturally notable is the Church of the Ascension, built to commemorate the birth of Ivan the Terrible.
Old Arbat Street is also worth a stroll, and if you can afford it, a visit to the Bolshoi.
While in Moscow it's worth trying a banya - Russian bathhouse - where the menu involves a hot steam followed by a sound whipping with birch branches.
New Arbat Street is one of the best places to stay in Moscow if you're here to see and be seen. This is where you'll find some of Moscow's most expensive restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Tverskaya Street is another fashionable hangout, especially around the Yeliseev Grocery Store, which is like Russian Harrod's.
Moscow has some amazing shopping, but one of the most interesting retail destinations has to be GUM, right next to Red Square. Once full of mediocre, Soviet-era goods, this mall has been converted - inside - into a haven of the high end. But the architecture remains relatively unchanged…
For the luxury traveller
- The Hotel Baltschug Kempinski's location, just across the river from the Kremlin and St. Basil's, makes it one of the best places to stay in Moscow. The fact that it's extremely luxurious also helps. Service is slick and you'll also find a top notch spa and iconic views across the river.
- The Ritz Carlton is a good bet for luxury seekers. Here opulence is the name of the game: gilded interiors, sumptuous suites and a great spa.
For those on a budget
- The Golden Apple is a hip hotel just 20 mins walk from the Kremlin and for Moscow standards it is excellent value for money, with rooms starting at around £100 per night including breakfast, if you book far enough in advance.
- You can't beat the location of the Metropol - it's situated opposite the Bolshoi and is handy for the Kremiln, Red Square, & St Basils.
- Barvikha Hotel & Spa is located in Moscow's smartest suburb and is a seriously cool hotel. Minimalist chic is the order of the day. Come here for a serious spa break, where they give you a full health evaluation and devise individual therapy programmes!
Best Hotels in Moscow
Golden Apple 92 rooms from $122Moscow
A glaringly colourful hotel in a very central location. Contemporary rooms awash with primary colour have all the mod cons. Good restaurant and lively bar. Excellent value for its location.Sights nearby - 20 mins walk from the Kremlin and Red SquareLively - Hip and happening.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - CN Traveller, Fodors, Tablet
Hotel National 202 rooms from $160Moscow
A fantastic Five Star hotel in a central location. Historical architecture and traditional opulence create an air of royalty. Palatial rooms and suites in pastels with lots of gilt. Excellent restaurants, bars, and spa. A time capsule for the luxury traveller.City StyleRomantic Break5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Sights nearby - A stone's throw from Red SquareRecommended by - CN Traveller
Mamaison All Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka 84 rooms from $168Moscow
A Five Star hotel with the wow factor. Enormously chic boutique suites with vast space, all the mod cons, eclectic furnishings, some with jacuzzis and kitchenettes. Fantastic restaurant, bar, and extensive spa. A great choice for the luxury traveller to experience Moscow glitterati style.Spa breaks5* Luxury - Very high service standards.City StyleRomantic BreakRecommended by - Tablet
Hotel Metropol 388 rooms from $184Moscow
Old fashioned grandeur and Five Star elegance in this historic hotel. Vast rooms and suites have typical tsarist decoration and ornate furnishings. Restaurants, bars, and an excellent spa. A great hotel to experience the romance of a lost era in a central location.Romantic Break5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Sights nearby - Situated opposite the Bolshoi theatre! Alexander Garden, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square and the Kremlin are all close by.Swimming Pool - Indoor PoolRecommended by - CN Traveller
Radisson Royal Hotel 497 rooms from $218Moscow
Magnificent five star hotel set in of Stalin's 'Seven Sisters' that punctuate the Moscow skyline. Opulence personified with palatial rooms, a lavish spa and an incredible panoramic skybar. The perfect sanctuary to escape to after a day's exploring Moscow, and a superb location right on the river.Bar - The Mercedes Bar on the 31st floor boasts some of the best views of the city.Local exploring - Easy access to all of Moscow's highlightsViews - Book a room in one of the upper floors and you'll be guaranteed a stunning river or city view.Sights nearby - Two miles from The Kremlin and Red Square, easily accessible via the Moscow Metro.
Savoy Hotel 67 rooms from $244Moscow
Historic hotel patronised first by Russian Literati and then the Communist elite. Totally renovated by revered Italian architect Leonardo Tognoni. It now boasts glorious gilt and gold, marble floors, swags and tails plus breathtaking original Rococo ceilings. A superb five star institution.Restaurant - Exemplary cuisine in the Rococo style dining room, with ornate ceilings, Venetian mirrors and marble fountainsSuites - From classic rooms to sumptuous suites, beautifully furnished and equipped with every modern convenienceSights nearby - In heart of Moscow, close to the Bolshoi Theatre, Red Square, St Basil's Cathedral and Historical MuseumBar - Live piano, cocktails, champagne and caviar in the Hermitage Bar by a firesideRecommended by - CN Traveller
Hotel Baltschug Kempinski 227 rooms from $257Moscow
Ideally located just across the river from the Kremlin and St Basils Cathedral, this luxury hotel offers stylish decor, top notch spa with indoor pool and iconic views - a perfect property for both leisure and business travellers.Sights nearby - Just across the river from both the Kremlin, St Basils & Red Square. All are easily reachable on foot.Designer Shopping - A short stroll from the famous GUM shopping centreViews - Fantastic views to St Basil's and the Kremlin.Swimming Pool - Indoor Pool
Ritz-Carlton Moscow 334 rooms from $337Moscow
Just off Red Square & next to the Kremlin, the dramatic & iconic Five Star Ritz-Carlton is pure luxury and opulence: gilded interior with chandeliers and columns with gold pilasters. Sumptuous suites, sumptuous cuisine. Magnificent views of the city from the rooftop 02 Lounge. Divinely decadent.Restaurant - The Cafe Russe team produce Russian specialites in fabulous surroundings; Japanese cuisine in the Novikov RestaurantBar - Enjoy afternoon tea in the famous Ritz-Carlton bar and Lobby Lounge or sample the caviar and vodkaSuites - For the ultimate splurge go for Club Level on the 11th floor, where the champagne flowsSpa - The ESP Spa is of course spectacular, and the largest spa in RussiaRecommended by - CN Traveller
St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya 211 rooms from $377Moscow
Opulence at every turn in this stunning Moscow hotel. Harking back to a Romanov style grandeur, the rooms are adorned with lavish furnishings and extravagant decorations. Right in the centre of Moscow, it's perfect for exploring Russia's capital. Outstanding five star quality.Sights nearby - Ten minutes walk from Red Square.OpulentSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor5* Luxury - Very high service standards.
Barvikha Hotel & Spa 65 rooms from $383Moscow (Barvikha)
Understated, minimalist, ultra cool hotel in the smartest Moscow suburb, five minutes drive to the city centre. The spa & personalised nutrition are the main reasons for staying. All rooms are contemporary suites with huge beds and all the mod cons. A destination for those who want a serious detox.Designer - Designed by Antonio Citterio, the complex comprises hotel, boutiques, high-end restaurants & the best concert hall in Russia.Spa breaks - Guests complete tests and health evaluation, enabling therapists to design personalized treatments for one to seven days.Shops - Unique boutiques selling world-famous fashion and jewelry brands on site.Foodies - Detoxes based on nutritional menus that use fresh organic produce.Recommended by - CN Traveller
Four Seasons Moscow 180 rooms from $651Moscow
Stalin-approved architectural design mixed with lavish contemporary finishes at this elite five star hotel. Exuberant interiors and floor to ceiling windows for the best views in the city. An admirable location, this hotel stands a few minutes from the Red Square. Five venues for dining on site.Families - An assortment of toys, board games, DVD's, game consoles and many other facilities are provided for the little ones.Local exploring - Situated right in the historical centre, within walking distance of all the important sights.Sights nearby - The Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Alexandrovsky Garden are all close by.Swimming Pool - An indoor pool for all seasons