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The first St. Regis in Russia, its arrival has come a little suddenly, which is easily explained by its previous life as a Kempinski hotel. Dating back to 1870, when it was built as the home of Count Orlov-Davydov, the hotel now has 210 rooms and suites with “belle époque interiors”, which includes the Royal Suite above. It’s… a lot. We’re not so sure about the grey/green and cognac leather combo, but mostly the sofa on the left hurts our eyes a little – not the only questionable sofa, it turns out.
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Добро пожаловать!* We may have got a little sidetracked by the insane suites of St Petersburg yesterday, but today our eyes are pointed back towards Moscow, where the Four Seasons finally opens in a recreation of the legendary Hotel Moskva which featured on the Stolichnaya vodka label and which was bulldozed 10 years ago. (In fact, it ‘opened’ two days ago with a big party, but is only available for bookings for normal folk from today.)
As we said before, the location is spectacular, on Ploshchad Revolyutsii, which filters into Red Square. It has five food and drink venues including Italian and Russian restaurants, a 24-hour fitness center, a glass-roofed lap pool and a whopping 32,292 square feet spa, which will open early next year.
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Lovely remote Airbnb in Joshua Tree
It’s taken a while, and a spell at rock bottom, but it’s happened. It’s over. I’m in recovery. I am no longer addicted to Airbnb.
When it launched, I loved the idea of Airbnb. Good hotels are wonderful, of course, but they’re also unaffordable for many people. On the other hand, few things are as dispiriting in travel as staying in a mediocre hotel with uninformed, unmotivated staff. Airbnb promised a local experience with locals who cared. What was not to love?
My first Airbnb hit was in Moscow. In a city where even a budget hotel costs around $300, I stayed in a world-famous Stalinist skyscraper for $130. Sure, there was no hot water but there was history – an infinite amount. (Plus the guy refunded me $80 for the lack of water.)
I went on to have better and better experiences. A stunning midcentury house in Palm Springs – an entire house – for less than a room at the Parker. A cabin on its own 15-acre desert plot in Joshua Tree. A gorgeous apartment in Warsaw.
But this summer I fell out of love.
Does this building look familiar? It should, and not just to hotel geeks or fans of Stalinist architecture. In fact, this – the Hotel Moskva, which opened in 1935, is the building on the label of Stolichnaya vodka.
And now it’s about to find a whole new kind of fame as the Four Seasons Moscow. The hotel has just started taking reservations for an opening date of October 30.
This isn’t the actual Hotel Moskva, sadly – the original building was demolished in 2004, when authorities decided that knocking it down and building a replica would be easier than restoring the original. Completed in 2012, the gargantuan new building houses offices, apartments and a shopping mall (currently open) as well as the hotel. The location is fantastic – right by Red Square, bang on Ploshchad Revolyutsii (basically it’s overlooking the State Historical Museum, which forms the entrance to Red Square). Get a room on a high floor, and you should be able to see the onion domes of the Kremlin, straight opposite you (yes, the Kremlin has churches). Possibly even St Basil's Cathedral, over the shoulder of the museum, if you're on the right side, and high enough.
Unless you're a billionaire, then probably not. But we're always on the lookout for some spectacular suites and today, we've got plenty of photos of the Lotte Hotel Moscow which at 490 square meters claims to have the largest suite in Moscow. That's over 5,000-sq.ft. in American measurements.
The Lotte Hotel, part of the Korea's Lotte Hotels and Resorts group, describes itself as a 5-star hotel in New Arbat, the financial and shopping center of Moscow. The exterior looks corporate-y but inside the 300-room hotel is a French restaurant, Les Menus from 3-star Michelin Chef Pierre Gagnaire along with a modern fusion Japanese restaurant called MEGU. There's also a Mandara Spa, an all-day lounge that does tea and late-night music and an outdoor terrace that's open from May to October. And clearly, guests love the spot as it's ranked #1 on TripAdvisor.
We won't even try to guess how many rubles the Royal Suite costs, we do know that the regular rooms (at 48 sq. meters) start at around $300USD a night. But given that it's a dicey time in Russia right now (to say the least), you may want to wait a little while to book.
[Photos: Lotte Hotel Moscow]
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One more hotel to add to our OPENING THIS MONTH list!
“What’s with the French?” you may ask. Well, Kempinski is bringing a bit of grand Paris to Moscow with the opening of the palace-like Hotel Nikol'skaya in the centre of Russia’s capital, the company’s second hotel in the city.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Bolshoi Theatre, Duma and the famous GUM department store, the hotel was formerly the residence of Count Orlov-Davydov until the early 1900s and also used to house the Koeller perfumery and many fine chocolate shops. After six years of restoration by Leo International Design Group (architects of several Shangri-Las and Le Meridiens in China and Thailand), the hotel has opened its grand doors with 211 rooms and suites, six—count ‘em—six restaurants and bars, a spa, fitness center and five meeting rooms.
We've mentioned how expensive hotel rooms can get, especially in Moscow. Where luxury hotels like the Ritz-Carlton can fetch upwards of $17,000 per night for a super flashy suite, it makes sense for an affordable hotel to come to the city center and give options to the masses. Enter, Sleepbox Hotel Moscow, the city's first capsule-style accommodation.
It's not the first Russian capsule hotel, but it is the first in the high-priced city. Sleepbox opened up it's first trial capsules in Moscow Airport ready for long layovers and weary travelers. Now, the boxes have come downtown to one of Moscow's most vibrant areas forming a hostel-like hotel of multiple pods.
Opened last month, the Sleepboxes offers small 'semi-self-contained' boxes that come in various sizes from single, twin, double and a family right in the heart of the Tverskoy District. Each 'room' comes with a TV, free WiFi and unlimited use of the hotel's iPads.
Starting rates of 2,600 Rubles ($86 USD) per night for a twin capsule with bunkbeds is affordable enough for those that are backpacking through the region or even hipster travelers that want a new experience on a dime. If you're traveling with a family and need to reserve some Rubles, the family capsule goes for 4,900 Rubles ($162 USD) per night.
The area is known for a wealth of history, so this place might be the best option for you and your Comrades if you would rather spend your money at the Bolshoi Theatre or other neighborhood culture. And if Sleepbox hopping is your thing, the airport is only 35 minutes from the main train station just a few blocks away.
[Photo: Sleepbox Moscow Facebook]
Time for a quick look back at some hotel figures, facts and trends from the past year...like, which big cities rocked it in 2012? A new study by HRG looks at the average hotel rates around the world. Here are five things we noticed:
Moscow is the most expensive city for hotel rooms for the, ahem, ninth year in a row. The average daily rate in 2012 was $427 a night, compared to $349 a night in New York City, $302 in San Francisco, and $279 in Washington D.C.
Speaking of our Nation's Capital, guess what? It had the largest rate of decline in the world. Uh oh! The average rate of stay fell 14% in 2012 -- which surprises the hell out of us considering it was an election year. Here we thought the political circus was attracting tourists and business events, but it appears it was pushing them away in reality.
Delano Hotels are not joking around with their expansion plans. After announcing Delano Marrakech which opens next month and the Delano Las Vegas which will open at the end of the year, the Delano has now gone public with their plans for Delano MOSCOW.
Morgans Hotel Group’s newest Delano will be part of The Capital Group’s OKO project within Moscow City, a new development that will offer premium spaces designed for luxury living, business and entertainment. An example of innovative urbanism presented by American architectural bureau SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill), OKO will also feature an 85-story skyscraper and a 49-story office tower that soar from a 7-story single transparent crystalline structure at the base of the complex.
Plans for Delano Moscow include 160 beautifully appointed guest rooms, extensive fine dining and nightlife outlets and top-of-the-line hotel facilities and guest amenities.
The hotel will open in 2015. But Delano ain't done yet.
It's almost like Christmas came very early for us at HotelChatter because a very generous tipster sent us these sneak peeks of the InterContinental Moscow which will officially open on December 5, although it has been accepting guests for the past month.
Our tipster did let us know he was "invited" to spend some nights in the hotel but we think his "review" is still pretty objective. He writes:
Hotel has very central location (main shopping street, 10 min from Red Square). Design is very modern with classic Russian elements. Standard rooms are not very spacious but comfortable with fantastic bed and mirror TV in bathroom. Restaurant food are quality prepared but not outstanding (may be they will improve it later). From my point a view (I live in Moscow) Intercontinental is the best place to stay in Russian capital now...maybe situation will change after Hyatt renovation completion in summer 2012.
Another day, another glamorous new hotel to fantasize about visiting. This time it's in Moscow where the city's iconic Pekin Hotel will be rebranded as the Fairmont Pekin Moscow after an extensive multi-year renovation.
The hotel was initially built in 1955 by Dimity Chechulin, one of the Soviet Union's most famous architects and it sits at the junction of the Garden Ring and Triumfalnaya Square.
Chechulin also designed the Moscow's White House, one of the Seven Sisters buildings and four Metro Stations. Therefore, the hotel's historic façade and internal spaces will be restored and repeated in other parts of the building. Also, the Chinese motifs found in the hotel will be highlighted to "to emphasize the period design of the property" but also perhaps to please the growing Chinese hotel guest population?
The "world's biggest hotel family" just got a little bigger. The Phoenix, Arizona-based mega franchise recently opened Best Western Vega Hotel & Convention Centre in Russia—the largest Best Western so far, out of 4,000 hotels worldwide in 95 countries.
Comprised of 970 rooms, the hotel was actually built for the 1980 summer olympics, but got remodeled in 2007. Certainly this will provide a welcome low-budget alternative to the extravagances of certain other Moscow hotels. But if we remember correctly, Holiday Inn was also planning to open their largest hotel in Moscow too. Oh, the indecision.