Tim Warrington checks into the Metropol Moscow.
Any concerns about the austere exterior of the Metropol and its airport-like security on entering were quickly banished by the ornate chandeliers, efficient team at reception and effortless check-in. An army of liveried porters whisked my luggage away at lightning speed.
Location, location, location: A five-minute walk to the Kremlin, Red Square, Saint Basil's Cathedral with its cupcake domes, and GUM department store — and smack-bang in the centre of town. The hotel is vast and its street frontage and adjacent shops are garnished with designer labels from Bentley to Dolce & Gabanna.
Room: A standard room on the fifth floor with king-size bed and panoramic views of the Bolshoi Theatre. Parquet floors and neutral decor are complemented by high ceilings, delicate ceiling roses and matching cornicing. I slept well despite the enormous chandelier dangling above me. An assortment of pillows had me chucking out zees in no time and the double-glazing kept the urban soundtrack to a dull hum.
Room with a view? Palatial architecture, exotic rooftops and golden domes as far as the eye can see.
Bathroom: Dated but tidy, and significantly improved by the presence of Floris toiletries.
A bath/shower combo, with omnipresent retractable washing line … although I have a sneaking suspicion the caviar and champagne set probably don't hand-wash their smalls.
Wi-Fi? Complimentary in-room and all public areas.
Food and drink: Chaliapin bar is famous for its cocktails but provides light snacks, too. Savva offers an elaborate gastronomic menu of "new Russian" food by Andrey Schmakov. I didn't order room service. When the palatial dining room beckons with stained glass, gold and marble, why would you?
When caviar, smoked salmon and champagne are on the breakfast buffet menu it would be bad manners not to partake, particularly when serenaded by a lady playing a golden harp. The fitness food selection was a nice touch with all manner of healthy options, but with bubbles in one hand and smoked salmon in the other … well, I'm not an octopus.
Value for money: Can you put a price on history? Presidents, princes and politicians have stayed here.
It was a favourite haunt of the KGB and Michael Jackson once played piano in the main Metropol Hall. The hotel was built the same year as one revolution and only
12 years before another that toppled 300 years of Romanov rule.
Facilities: Apparently there is a sauna and spa. I got completely lost and ended up back in the cocktail bar.
Would I return? Da.
Why? The sense of space, the corridors are so wide you could drive a Lada or two down them with ease. And the chandeliers, location, food, more chandeliers, service ... did I mention the chandeliers? More caviar is just a phone call away.