Hotel Baltschug Kempinski, Moscow $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
A pioneer in the 1990s, the Baltschug (located in the Zamoskvorechya district), was among the first Western-managed hotels to open in Moscow, but lost its way when even flashier, more centrally located competitors like the Park Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton opened. Now it's on a comeback. Thanks to a top-to-bottom upgrade, finished in July 2008, the old Art Decostyle furniture and wine-colored furnishings were jettisoned and managing director Gianni van Daalen commissioned reproductions of Kazimir Malevich's paintings to hang throughout the hotel. The revamped rooms are done up in shades of beige, blue, or rose; some are classic in style, others are more contemporary; all 230 are spacious (350 to 1,100 square feet). They also include the usual menu of luxury amenities (Frette linens, pillow menu, bath butler, plasma TVs). What didn't change are the great views of the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral. Deluxe rooms are equipped with telescopes for a closer peek at the landmarks, and the corner Kremlin Suite and Princess Suite have especially fine panoramas. Some superior rooms (the hotel's least expensive accommodations) overlook the pipes and industrial buildings of the Mosenergo power plantwhich isn't quite as oppressive as it sounds. It also didn't hurt when GQ Bar, Moscow's trendiest restaurant, opened next door in 2007. But dining at the Restaurant Baltschug is almost a bargain by Moscow standardsa dinner prix fixe starts at $70. There's also a Japanese restaurant; Café Kranzler, which resembles an airport lounge but has a pretty river view from its summer terrace and even prettier pastries; a bar with a cigar sommelier and hundreds of vodkas on the menu; and breakfast (not included in the room rate) includes red caviar and Champagne. The health club has an indoor pool, solarium, juice bar, and massage facilities, and the newly renovated Baltschug Beauty Center offers a range of facials and body treatments with Sensai and La Biosthetique products.
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