The National Hotel in Moscow is a historical building that sits right across from the Red Square. Location-wise, it cannot be beaten, being a stone’s-throw from the square, the Kremlin, and the beautiful Gum shopping center It is also in the cultural and commercial center of the city, with long boulevards filled with stores and cafes leading to and around it.
The National was built in 1903 and has retained its old world charm. It takes you to another era of nobles and aristocrats as soon as you enter. The reception area is large, with velvet couches and elegantly tiled floors, the concierge sits in a separate, equally romantic room.
The rooms are decorated with Russian antiques and were charming, but a little dated for me. The bathrooms felt like they hadn’t been updated in years and for a five-star price, I would expect a shower that works properly. There are a number of rooms on each floor and corridors were long, often with stairs, making it difficult to get bags in and out if you were on the far end. This is the kind of thing you panic about when you have an early morning flight (which we did!).
The staff seemed apathetic at best. It felt as if we should be honored just to be there, and not make any demands. At check-in itself, we ran into trouble, as the trainee who attended to us wouldn’t even check us in until our room was ready when we arrived from the airport. We had to come back hours later to fill out our paperwork. Most hotels will at least check you in and take your bags, so that when your room is ready you can just go straight up. Further, the deposit usually taken by hotels at check-in wasn’t done properly as a result of which when we went out to dinner and left our kids with a babysitter, they couldn’t pay for the room service they had ordered. The doorman opened the door to let us in and out with much disdain.
The hotel has the Bar Alexandrovsky which offers spirits and snacks, as well as the newly opened Grand Cafe Dr. Zhivago, which is trendy and a hote favorite with the Moscow locals, my local friends tell me. We sadly, had to cancel a reservation there. On a summer day, grabbing a seat outside is best.
Hotel National is part of the Starwood collection so you can collect or use SPG points here.
Overall, I was disappointed by the National, by its upkeep as well as its service. If you’re willing to pay the price, the Ritz Carlton a few minutes away is gorgeous and the Four Seasons has just opened next door. If you’re looking for luxury in Moscow, they might be better bets.