Moscow: 5 Places to Stay

Ritz-Carlton

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Russia's aristocratic past and hungry-for-luxury present collide at the Ritz, the poshest new addition to Moscow's hotel lineup. Though the property is spanking new (it opened in late 2007), all the details here have been designed to evoke early-20th-century decadence: the grand lobby has a gleaming inlaid marble floor, dramatic black columns topped by golden pilasters, and grand chandeliers; many of the 334 guest rooms are decked out with silk-trimmed bedspreads, brocaded wall coverings, Murano glass lampshades, and freestanding globes encrusted with semiprecious stones. Guests who stay on the opulent 11th-floor Club Level get even more — including spreads of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres five times a day, unlimited champagne, access to discreet conference rooms, and a lounge overlooking Moscow's premier avenue (Tverskaya) and its apex at Red Square. The common areas include the Jeroboam restaurant, where Michelin-starred chef Heinz Winkler turns out healthy-yet-decadent "cuisine vitale," and a 21,000-square-foot ESPA — the biggest spa in Russia, with 14 treatment rooms and a glass-domed indoor pool. The hotel's one aesthetic nod to futurism can be found at the top-floor O2 bar, with its angular glass roof, Pop art light fixtures, and seats that look like futuristic Fabergé eggs.

Insider Tip: If you're a chess player, ask to borrow one of the hotel's chess sets. Carved from real ebony and ivory, the pieces make even a novice feel like a grandmaster.

Room to Book: If you can, go for broke and book the 2,550-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Suite ($4,500 per night) with its grand piano, library (the books are real), sauna, and tropical shower room.

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