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Golden Apple Hotel, Moscow 

Ulitsa Malaya Dmitrovka Dom 11
Russia 127006
Tel: 7 495 980 7000
view web site ›'s insider take:

Anton Chekhov once stayed in this 19th-century building, but the sophisticated European tourists, visiting executives, and celebrities (Christina Aguilera, Fergie) who pass through these days aren't here for the history. They come for this 92-room hotel's hip vibe, convenient location near Ulitsa Tverskaya (the main thoroughfare to the Kremlin), and a Philippe Starck–style design that's not unlike a high-tech, high-concept cruise ship, courtesy of Canadian architect Rafael Shafir. The hotel's namesake fruit is echoed throughout the hotel, notably in the huge lobby sculpture and the motif decorating the guest room carpets. Avoid standard rooms: A neighboring office block obstructs the view from most, those with small windows feel like prison cells, and the tiny bathrooms don't help (the "showers" are just curtained-off corners). The sympathetic front desk staff readily move guests when space allows, so booking a standard room could—with a bit of luck and a pained expression on your face—land you a VIP superior room with floor-to-ceiling windows and one hour of free Internet per day. But since the standard rooms are priced just under $1,000 and the VIP rooms are just over $1,000, we recommend booking the latter in the first place. Breakfast—a selection of berries, omelets, pastries, breads, carpaccio, and smoked fish—is very fresh and included with all rooms. The Apple Lounge, which is adjacent to the slick restaurant, looks like something out of New York City or London, with psychedelic blowup photographs of trees, fur-covered cube stools, and a long bar. The whirlpool tub, sauna, and cardio room are open 24 hours as is the Coffee House, a Starbucks-like chain located down the street where Wi-Fi is just $2—it's a good place to avoid the hotel's $35-per-day charge.

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