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. Whether you're hoping to be in the heart of the action, or you're longing for a quieter escape, choosing where to stay in Moscow 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 Russia expert.
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.
Best for the hip and happening:Chekhoff Hotel Moscow
The Chekhoff Hotel Moscow, Curio Collection By Hilton occupies a beautiful, 8-storey building that dates back to the 19th century. It is located just 20 minutes’ walk from the Kremlin and Red Square and just a few minutes from the metro train station.
Best for 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.
It's worth considering what landmarks are nearby when deciding where to stay in Moscow. Here, you'll find the home of the world’s most famous ballet company: the Bolshoi Theatre. This 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. And don’t miss the 14th-century High Monastery of St Peter, one of the city’s most beautifully preserved buildings topped with onion domes.
Best for a 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.
Best for classic style 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.
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.
Best for 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. Bathrooms are attractive, with colourful tiles and stylish sinks.
Best for travelling 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.
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.
Best for 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.
Best for being 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.
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.
Best for 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.
Header image: St Basil's Cathedral © Shutterstock