The new BA longhaul flatbed service to Moscow was launched via a PR blitz that took a group of travel writers to Moscow, where we fleetingly rubbed shoulders with Gillian Anderson, also brought out to provide a glamorous endorsement of the new product.
For all that Russia has opened up in the last 20 years, sometimes it is hard to avoid that creeping sensation one imagines was commonplace in the bad old days. We had that feeling during a guided tour of the Kremlin and the magnificent churches and buildings inside this walled city-within-a-city. Looking back, we saw we were being shadowed. When we jokingly asked our guide if the KGB (OK, FSB) were keeping an eye on us, all we got back was a rueful shrug. That will be a yes, then. Scratch the surface and little has changed.
It was therefore quite wonderful to know that the hotel where we were staying, the Ritz-Carlton, offered such a warm haven from the slightly shivery outside. For those who remember Moscow of old, it actually stands on the site of the old Inturist hotel, perhaps the most popular place for foreign visitors to stay during the Cold War. The notably ugly building was demolished in 2002, paving the way for the new, classically-styled Ritz-Carlton, which opened in 2007.
The hotel offers all the luxuries and amenities one expects and needs for comfort and business, including free Wi-Fi throughout. Those booking superior accommodation have access to the Ritz-Carlton Club, which provides food and drink all day, together with full business facilities and concierge service. The public areas and the rooms are decorated in imperial style, very grand and plush, in stark contrast to the O2 Lounge on the top floor, a glass-lined ultra-modernist bar and restaurant that is something of a favourite among Moscow’s party set.
The Ritz-Carlton is close to all the main sites one could wish to visit – it overlooks Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Christ the Saviour Cathedral and the Kremlin, it is just down the road form the Bolshoi (reopened last October after a magnificent restoration) and close to government offices.
The Ritz-Carlton Moscow
Tverskaya Street 3
Moscow, 125009 Russia
Phone: +7 495 225 8888