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Russian Hotels for Ballers: Spying on The Ritz-Carlton Moscow

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  Site Where: Tverskaya Street 3, Moscow, Russian Federation, 1250009
April 24, 2008 at 10:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

Our Super Secret Hotel Maven network extends far and wide and thanks to another SSHM, we have a mini-guide to Russia's luxe hotels--perfect for ballers, high-rollers and Russian mobsters. It's a mini-guide because it's really only a few hotels in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Our last hotel in the series: Ritz-Carlton Moscow. Enjoy.

After a little sleepy time in Moscow, I woke up at the Ararat Park Hyatt and pulled the blinds open. Snow was falling on Red Square, and it looked pretty, and pretty cold as well.

Though I was fearful that my day which began quite pleasantly would be tarnished by the blistery cold weather, I decided to brave the streets. When else would I be in Moscow again after all?

The Park Hyatt's Complimentary Breakfast
I ventured downstairs first, though, to enjoy the complimentary breakfast afforded to me by the Park Hyatt. The breakfast room was quite sparse by the time that I had arrived as it was quite late in the morning on a weekday.

Just me and two spare business travelers, and the buffet of course. The buffet was a delightful spread of fresh fruits, breads, and cereals. And the juice--that fun Russian blood orange juice that I kept having. It was so pulpy and delicious. I was spoiled.

After breakfast, I went back up to the room to brush my teeth. Before heading back out, I looked around... I asked myself, "Why do I always make such a mess in hotel rooms?"

What's in the Neighborhood
I went out to the streets of Moscow, bound for the iconic sight of Red Square and Saint Basil's Cathedral. I felt confident initially until I reached a crosswalk... or lack thereof. I couldn't figure out how to cross the street! I walked several blocks up and several blocks back. Finally, I figured out that the masses were piling underneath the street through the subway entrance to cross the street.

Bam! On my way across the street. Even the unguided traveler can successfully navigate these rough city streets! Hoorah!

Calling on the Ritz
About twenty minutes later, though, I was quite bored of sightseeing and decided instead to make an unannounced call upon a hotel. At least it'd be warmer, and maybe someone at the front desk would let me see a room or two....

I decided to venture into Moscow's newest uber-fancy joint, the Ritz-Carlton. Not too far from my Park Hyatt, the Ritz-Carlton had a different air from the moment I entered its "Being John Malkovich lobby."

I call it this because the first thing I noticed when entering the lobby was that the ceiling was very low. It almost felt like it was falling on you, so one might also call it the "Chicken Little lobby" I guess.

Lobby Observations
There was a small gathering of musicians playing in the lobby, and an army of customer service professionals at the desk. The couchettes were littered with fancy frowning families. If there was any love for sale, it wasn't flamboyant.

What was flamboyant, though, was the interior decorator's love for brass, mirrors, and most anything that generates a reflection. Apparently people at the Ritz-Carlton like to see themselves. After all, guests of the Ritz-Carlton Moscow do not purchase their lovers in the lobby.

Leave that for the piddly Park Hyatt. Who has the time, darling? I'm sure they're having them ordered straight to the room on silver platters.

Room Reactions
The nice lady at the Ritz-Carlton was kind enough to show me a few rooms and suites. The typical room was so-so. It was full of stuff, sure, but in effect, it was really just full... of stuff. It felt crowded, and looked like the resting place of a very uptight Russian mobster who happens to be on a budget this time around.

Mafia Comforts
When we got to the Ritz-Carlton Suite, however, I saw where the big boss stays. There's tons of room to explore around the suite with rooms upon rooms upon rooms.

And for the truly paranoid mob man, there's a dining room/interrogation room complete with closed circuit televisions monitoring each of the other rooms, and bulletproof entranceways. Fancy fancy.

Rooftop Lounge/Sushi Restaurant/Spa
I was about to leave the RC with an impression of the hotel as being "fancy, but not for me," until I saw the crowning jewels of the hotel that put it all into context. The rooftop lounge/sushi restaurant and the spa.

Both are done up in this uber-modern space age style that is a stark but welcome contrast to the uppity vertical stripe wallpaper that is strewn throughout the rest of the hotel. Amazing!

It's really a shame I didn't have the time (or the paper) to partake of a spa treatment. Before I made any efforts to convince myself that I could put it on credit, I meandered out the doors (held open for me by a white gloved frowny face) and down the street, back home to the Ararat Park Hyatt.

The Park Hyatt Lifts You Back Up Where You Belong
When I was greeted back at the APH, my door was held open for me by a wool glove (much better care for the hand of the doorman- kudos to the APH), which is just fine by me. I don't need someone to be uncomfortable to feel like I'm being taken care of.

As I walked through the lobby, two lovely ladies were lounging on the sofa, shamelessly waiting for a whistle. Ah... home....

And when I returned to my room, I screamed in joy. My housekeeper had gone through my ridiculous mess that I'm world-famous for leaving about the room... and sorted out the dirty from the clean, hanging the more important items, putting the dirty ones into a bag for me, folding my unmentionables neatly into my suitcase.

Everyone belongs somewhere, and indeed I belong at the Park Hyatt.

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