My Moscow trip wasn’t only pretty sights and being touristy; work had to be done too. Luckily, our host picked one of the nicest hotel in town at a good location. They made sure we had a taste of local food as well, something I was equally curious and worried about; I’m quite a fussy eater, so it’s always a mystery if there’s something I like. I’ve grown over most of this and have become quite culinary adventurous even, but I still have my preferences. So follow me and let’s check out Moscow’s hospitality.
I stayed at the Baltschug Kempinski hotel, located in the heart of Moscow on the Moskva river, overlooking the Kremlin and the St. Basil Cathedral. The building has a rich history and the facade dates back to 1898. It was the first international 5 star hotel in Moscow, and indeed, the hotel breathes luxury and comfort in a more traditional, classical kind of way.
The ‘Baltschug’ (as the locals call it) has a spa, various bars and restaurants and very spacious rooms. The striking views are a real feature of the majority of the rooms, although my room looked out on an atrium that was used as a conference room.
Would I have not been here for work where I just need the room for sleep and a shower, I would have asked to change rooms. The rooms are very spacious though, it’s easily double the size of a standard New York or London hotel room, with all features you would expect, starting with a fluffy bed.
The bathroom was spacious too, I didn’t test the bath, it wasn’t as grand as the one in Shanghai, but I did fit under the shower, which is more important. The mini bar was well equipped, which means there are always pringles to fall back to, should the local food not be of my liking.
Russia, being the biggest country in the world, has a very diverse cuisine, so my worries weren’t necessary; there is something for everyone. The hotel had a nice buffet for both breakfast and lunch with tasty food aplenty.
Some of it was more international orientated, some of it was a more local flavour.
Obviously, we didn’t only eat at the hotel. We did a bit more sightseeing on our way to the restaurant on the first night, walking along colourful, wide boulevards.
Mushroom season had just started, so I think I had every variety going; mushrooms in a bun, mushrooms with melted cheese, pan-fried mushrooms with potatoes. Luckily I like them, and I felt like I got lost in a mushroom forest. A culinary Russian one at that, not a delirious Amsterdam one.
After having checked out the more authentic, local cuisine, we were ready to check out something different, so the next evening we went to the hip and happening O2 Lounge, the rooftop bar at the Ritz Carlton, overlooking the Red Square.
This is a very internationally orientated place, with a completely different atmosphere than the nights before; think white, slick, trendy, loungey. This called for a cocktail.
They had some sharing platters here too, so we just ordered a little bit of everything.
Sharing is caring after all.
Plenty of wine to choose from, once finished with cocktails.
A lot of places offer the opportunity to smoke shisha (water-pipe). Tobacco rules in many other countries including NL would not allow for this, but here it’s like ordering dessert. I didn’t try it as it’s not for me, but one of my colleagues seemed to enjoy it.
Like I said in my first post on Moscow: I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this gorgeous city; our nice hotel and the many lovely food experiences really contributed more to the experience.
I just heard two days ago that the first snow had started to fall this week in Moscow.
It won’t be long before the notorious winter chill sets in, whereas we were walking around without coats just 3 weeks ago. I can only imagine how magical Moscow looks covered in a white blanket of snow. I’ll be Russian to get back there. 🙂