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Moscow is a city of contrasts. An exploding cultural scene finds itself among carefully preserved historical sights, with the new and the traditional in constant competition. East and West meet in the city’s tapering Byzantine domes of Russian Orthodox churches that neighbour neoclassicist facades conceived by Italian architects. In many ways, Moscow is the perfect European destination – not too far and moderately exotic (but never overwhelmingly so), with plenty to explore. Yet to many it remains the last frontier of continental travel, and few really know about what the city has to offer beyond the walls of the Red Square.
In recent years the ostentatious displays of wealth for which Moscow became notorious in the early aughts have become slightly more subdued and given way to a relaxed mode of being. Of course, those seeking to fulfil their fur coat-and-caviar dreams can still do so without feeling out of place, but others will find excitement in the emerging art and fashion scenes as well as the nightlife that is now triumphantly dominated by stylish bars filled with sneaker-clad creative types, rather than the sleazy nightclubs of yesteryear.
Rarely recognised as such, Moscow is also an incredibly compelling food destination. Regional cuisines from all over Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia are represented in the capital, while a multitude of modern eateries and coffee shops have also found a home here. The trend for locally sourced, farm-to-table fare has not evaded Moscow either; the city has developed a culinary identity of its own, captivating even to the most seasoned of gourmands.
It’s not all rosy, however. The sprawling metropolis can present a multitude of challenges for travellers, including how to navigate the city and how to communicate with its inhabitants. Yet there’s only one thing you have to remember if you find yourself in a tough spot: just go with it. Moscow will take you places you never expected to find yourself in; you’ll be in a constant state of discovery and, if not that, you’ll definitely have a good story to tell. There’s no such thing as an uneventful time in this city.
Experience the grandiose magic of Russia’s version of art nouveau at one of the oldest hotels in the city. Hotel National has been a spectacle since it was first erected in 1903, designed by Russia’s famous architect Alexander Ivanov. Opt for rooms with a view of the Kremlin and Red Square for that extra bit of luxury.
- +7 495 258 7000
- Go to Website
MOSS Boutique Hotel
Opt for a relaxed atmosphere without sacrificing the views of the Red Square, by booking into MOSS. The boutique hotel was opened by the team behind Coffeemania, Moscow’s stylish coffee shop chain. The contemporary interiors of the hotel tie in well with its collection of local and international art, curated by Oksana Bondarenko of Tretyakov Gallery. The hotel offers a Coffeemania coffee shop, alongside 24-hour room service, a bar and gym.
- +7 495 114 5572
- Go to Website
Hartwell Hotel was among the first boutique hotels in the Russian capital. All 29 rooms are thoroughly modern – a refreshing contrast to the city’s large, well-established luxury hotels. It is also conveniently positioned five minutes’ walking distance to the closest metro station.
- +7 499 648 8181
- Go to Website
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