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Le Royal Méridien National Hotel, Moscow 

15/1 Ulitsa Mokhovaya
Russia 125009
Tel: 7 495 258 7000
view web site ›'s insider take:

For historical atmosphere, the National is hard to beat. In 1918, Lenin moved into a two-room suite here overlooking the Kremlin—naturally—and so can you if you're willing to fork over a very capitalist $3,000 per night. Other famous guests have ranged from Stalin to Pelé to Catherine Deneuve—their photographs hang side by side in a portrait gallery. The Art Nouveau building's historic status forestalls the possibility of major reconstruction to squeeze in more rooms (there are 216), but beware of standard singles: They're like glorified train compartments with tiny beds. All rooms are decorated with stately oak furniture and the suites upgrade to French and Russian antiques; unfortunately, many rooms are burdened by a somewhat off-putting mauve color scheme. Bathrooms, most of them spacious, have been spiffed up with modern tiles and bathtubs. The entire seventh floor and most of the fourth are nonsmoking, which is relatively rare—Moscow is still a smoking city. Owned by Moscow city government but managed by Starwood, the hotel has all the usual perks: a spa and fitness area (the indoor swimming pool and whirlpool bath were renovated in 2007) and a business center (as in most Moscow hotels, Internet is pricy—more than 60 cents a minute). But there are also a few extras: Breakfast (included in the room rate) is served overlooking the Kremlin, which is possible because Red Square is right outside the door.

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