One of the world’s most dynamic metropolises, Moscow has an energy like no other city, a chaotic spirit rumbling just beneath its polished surface. And since Russia is hosting the World Cup, 2018 is a big year for the city.
Whether you're hoping to be in the heart of the action, or you're longing for a quieter escape, choosing where to stay is an important decision. Moscow is often considered expensive, but the devaluation of the rouble over the last few years means accommodation is becoming more affordable than ever – even at some of the city’s most luxurious hotels.
From laid-back hostels to trendy boutiques, here are the best places to stay in Moscow, according to our expert.
1. Best for being in the thick of it: Tverskaya
The city’s main artery, Tverskaya is a busy thoroughfare lined with high-street shops and busy cafés.
Head west down one of its side streets to reach Patriarch’s Ponds, a smart district spilling with stylish boutiques, popular restaurants and lively bars attracting a fashionable Muscovite crowd. Along these streets, you'll also come across Bulgakov House, a museum dedicated to famed Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov.
Hip and happening: Chekhoff Hotel Moscow. The Chekhoff Hotel Moscow, Curio Collection By Hilton occupies a beautiful, 8-story building that dates back to the 19th century. It is located just 20 minutes’ walk from the Kremlin and
Glamorous rooftop cocktails: The Ritz-Carlton Moscow. Treat yourself to a stay at one of the city’s most exclusive hotels. Head up to the modish 12th-floor O2 Lounge and sip on creative cocktails as you soak in the gorgeous views of the Moscow skyline.
Bulgakov House © Nikolay Sachkov/Shutterstock
2. Best for culture and great shopping: Petrovka
Home to the world’s most famous ballet company, the Bolshoi Theatre is an unmissable sight in Moscow – make sure you book tickets for performances well in advance.
Branching north from the theatre is Petrovka, an elegant, boutique-dotted street home to TsUM, a smart shopping centre attracting well-heeled residents with a penchant for designer fashion labels.
Don’t miss the 14th-century High Monastery of St Peter, one of the city’s most beautifully preserved buildings topped with onion domes.
Superb location: Moscow Marriott Royal Aurora Hotel. In an enviable location on ulitsa Petrovka, the Marriott boasts bright, sophisticated interiors. The entrance opens up onto a large foyer with gleaming marble floors, while rooms are tastefully furnished. The fitness centre is particularly good, with a well-equipped gym, swimming pool and saunas.
A classic by the Kremlin: National Hotel. Bang opposite the Kremlin, the National affords gorgeous views of Moscow’s most sought-after attraction right from the breakfast room. Interiors are classically furnished, with glittering chandeliers, dark crimson rugs and antiques. You’re in the thick of the action here, across the road from Red Square and a short walk from the Bolshoi Theatre.
Bolshoi Theatre © dimbar76/Shutterstock
3. Best for a taster of old Moscow: Kitay-gorod
Pretty Kitay-gorod is one of Moscow’s most attractive areas, its quaint lanes peppered with Russian Orthodox churches topped by golden domes.
It's also one of Moscow’s best-preserved districts, packed with Neoclassical buildings and exuding a laid-back, unaffected vibe. The nightlife here is happening too, with restaurants and cafés morphing into alternative clubs at night.
Chilled vibes: GoodMood Hostel. This pleasant hostel with bare-brick walls and splashes of colour has a fun and welcoming atmosphere, and is a stone’s throw from the area’s many restaurants and bars. The cosy dorm rooms have privacy curtains and reading lamps, and bathrooms are attractive, with colourful tiles and stylish sinks.
Travel back in time: Metropol. Step back in time as you cross the threshold of this grand Art Nouveau hotel with sumptuous interiors decorated with priceless antiques, works of art and rich stucco decoration. Peer across to the Lubyanka Building, which once housed the headquarters of the KGB.
Nikolskaya Street in Kitay-gorod by night © Sergey Kelin/Shutterstock
4. Best for a quiet getaway: Chistye Prudy
Chistye Prudy translates as “Clean Ponds”, although there’s actually only one pond on the leafy boulevard.
It’s largely a residential area attracting an alternative crowd, with cafés tucked away here and there, and an English-language cinema popular among expats. When the sun’s out, locals come to enjoy a pleasant stroll and an ice cream. In winter, you can don your ice skates.
Style on a budget: Axel Hostel. Featuring a shared lounge, air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. The property has a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen and luggage storage for guests. The Kremlin is 1.7 miles from the accommodation, while Lenin Mausoleum is 2 miles from the property.
Cool and artsy: Moss Boutique Hotel. This hip boutique hotel offers cosy, tastefully designed interiors with quirky works of art by contemporary Russian and foreign artists embellishing the walls. In the rooms, natural wooden finishings add a feeling of warmth, while stylish bathrooms have glass-fronted rain showers.
Chistye Prudy © Katsiuba Volha/Shutterstock
5. Best for a lively atmosphere: Arbat
One of the city’s oldest pedestrianized streets, Stary Arbat (Old Arbat) is a pleasant spot for a stroll – though it's often busy in the summer months.
Souvenir shops, pubs and cafés line the street, and artists and performers amuse passers-by with a wide range of talents. Branch off the Arbat and get lost in one of the narrow side streets to really get to grips with the city.
Contemporary luxury: Lotte Hotel Moscow. At the intersection of Novy Arbat and Novinskiy Boulevard, this hotel offers opulent rooms equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, an inviting swimming pool and an excellent spa offering a plethora of treatments. It’s right next door to the upmarket Lotte Plaza shopping centre, housing designer stores and fancy restaurants.
Stary Arbat © Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock
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