Moscow is a place of dramatic contrasts and even more dramatic superlatives. Between its long and colorful history, an exuberant arts scene, and the world’s largest community of billionaires, it has evolved into an almost intimidating – albeit utterly enchanting – megacity. These days, the Russian capital is quickly becoming a popular holiday destination thanks to an impressive variety of hotels, restaurants, shopping haunts, and cultural gems. And at the center of it all is the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow, a luxurious property that has constantly been connected with the city in which it resides.
Need to Know
There’s nothing like a hotel with a fascinating backstory – and such is the case with this Kempinski property, which is located in one of Moscow’s most ancient neighborhoods. In the Middle Ages, Baltschug Street used to be a grass-covered meadow in which a Muscovite princess built a lush garden. Eventually, by order of Ivan the Terrible, a lively tavern was constructed in the same area, as well as a series of roads and canals. The amazing view of the Kremlin was the main reason for the neighborhood’s appeal and construction boom.
In 1898, well-known architect Alexander Ivanov was commissioned to build The Osipov House, featuring a stunning façade, corner towers, and spires. It quickly became one of the most recognizable structures in the city, living through several ownership changes and renovations, and finally reopening as a hotel in 1992. Today, the Kempinski is the first international five-star hotel in post-Soviet Russia, with the aforementioned historic façade being the only part of the original structure that remains.
Location, Location, Location
The Hotel Baltschug Kempinski is a refreshing oasis right in the heart of a big and bustling capital, directly opposite to some of the city’s most prominent addresses – Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral included. Sitting right on the edge of Moskva River, it’s a 10-minute stroll to Zaryadye Park, Tretyakov Gallery, and GUM department store. Further out await Bolshoi Theatre, Gorky Park, and Muzeon Park. Several designer shops and high-end restaurants are also within walking distance.
Much has been said about the hotel’s historical exterior, but it’s important to note that it has an equally exquisite interior. Walking into the lobby is like stepping into an Art Deco palace, complete with white Italian marble columns, custom Murano-glass chandeliers, and vintage mirrors and frames. However, the pièce de résistance has to be that gorgeous spiral staircase with its wrought-iron balustrades – you’ll want to photograph it from every angle.
The Suite Life
The hotel houses large and luxurious rooms, most of which undoubtedly boast the best views in Moscow. I had the pleasure of staying in the ‘Red Square Suite’, one of the newest and most elegant rooms at the property. It offers a picturesque panoramic view of the Moskva River, the Kremlin, Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and Spasskaya Tower.
This bright and spacious suite features a plush bedroom and a dedicated sitting room, and is furnished with a comfortable king-sized bed, brass lamps, plenty of seating, and hardwood furniture. Meanwhile, the all-marble bathroom is equipped with a magnificent clawfoot tub, Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Tuscan Soul’ toiletries, and a surprisingly spacious walk-in closet. Translation: overpacking is accommodated, encouraged even.
Chew on This
The daily breakfast buffet is served at The Baltschug Grill, which offers more mouthwatering dishes than you can actually count. The morning feast consists of freshly baked breads, traditional Russian blini and syrniki, caviar, various kinds of cold cuts, homemade jams, fresh fish, local dairy products, and more. Hot dishes like eggs and pancakes are cooked according to your preference, of course.
The cozy Lobby Lounge Bar is a perfect spot to indulge in homemade pastries, refreshing beverages, and the popular ‘Baltschug High Tea’ – read: afternoon tea staples accented with local favorites. History and gastronomic innovation, meanwhile, collide at the vibrant Café Kranzler. Offering wide range of dishes –from a degustation set and classic salads to beef stroganoff and the signature vareniki – this is an ideal place for a hearty lunch or dinner.
Traveling with children? The attentive and delightful staff are amazing at tending to families and kids. Thoughtful welcome presents, mini robes and slippers, baby-safe toiletries, and a kid-friendly room service menu all await the little ones, making them feel extra-special.
If you’ve overindulged during your holiday, be sure to drop by the Health Club Baltschug. It offers a full range of wellness facilities such as a stunning pool, saunas, and a fully equipped gym. Like Moscow residents, we’re partial to Beauty Centre Baltschug, where centuries-old herbal remedies and cutting-edge skincare innovations coexist.
The Bottom Line
Grandiose yet contemporary, the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow hits all the right notes when it comes to luxury travel. Between the beautifully styled rooms and their spectacular views, top-notch gastronomic options, and first-rate service wrapped up in a romantic ambience, a return visit is definitely on the agenda.
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