It is an old story by now, so we will spare you the detailed recap of the post-Cold War years, and the changes that have taken place in Russia over the last two decades. Allow us simply to summarize, with an example that is particularly germane to the subject matter of Tablet Hotels:
It is now possible to spend the night in a Park Hyatt hotel room, with a Danish Bang & Olufsen flat-screen television, showering in a bathroom of Zimbabwe marble, sleeping on a bed with an Italian Pozzoli frame - less than a quarter mile from the Bolshoi Theatre, and a short walk from the Kremlin, Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb, and St. Basil’s Cathedral.
Perhaps something close to this was always within reach for certain Party officials, with the proper connections. And to be fair, it is probably much further out of reach for the ordinary Muscovite than the Park Hyatt Chicago is for the average Cubs fan. But for the international traveler, the Ararat is good news - a stylish, luxurious hotel to rival those in Tokyo or New York.
The Park Hyatt brand may already be the hippest, the most unpretentious in the high-end luxury hotel market. But in Moscow, a city whose newfound wealth has found expression in the most garish and gaudy of forms, the Park Hyatt is restrained, practically Zen, an oasis of class in a desert of nouveau riche extravagance.
The hotel’s interior is avant-garde, futuristic, with high-tech steel and glass elevators running up the sides of the atrium, in sharp contrast with the monolithic Stalinist structures of the city outside. The décor is, like Russia itself, part European, part Oriental, sleek and contemporary with a hint of ornamentation that is slightly Eastern, even Arabesque, perhaps recalling the Czarist look of St. Petersburg more than the traditional imposing image of monumental Moscow.
As for amenities and guest services, this is a Park Hyatt, and offers practically every luxury we have ever seen, from broadband internet in-room (and Wi-Fi access everywhere else) to full-service spa and fitness at Quantum, Moscow’s leading health club, within the hotel. There are two lounges and three restaurants, including the Armenian-flavored Café Ararat, an homage to the landmark 1960s hot spot of the same name (which stood on the same grounds as the present-day hotel).
The Conservatory Lounge, atop the hotel, enjoys spectacular views through the glass of the atrium, overlooking the Kremlin, the theatre, and the Duma Parliament building. In fact the panorama is broad enough to encompass seemingly all of Moscow, new and old, and is the perfect vantage point from which to gaze over the city and contemplate the strangeness of the events that led to this moment.
Neglinnaya Street NO. 4, Moscow
The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:
This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at View full credits
This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at View full credits