Four Seasons Hotel Moscow, Russia – Review
Being First Has Its Privileges
After a somewhat long but pleasant drive from Sheremetyevo airport in one of the hotel’s BMW 7 Series, during which my driver, Victor, pointed out some interesting sites, I arrived at the new Four Seasons, situated next to Red Square, in the heart of the city.
The brand-new building is a faithful copy, down to the dual façade, of the Hotel Moskva, built in the 1930s with Joseph Stalin’s approval. That hotel, designed by Alexey Shchusev, had over 1,000 rooms and served as a base for important visitors as well as to the Soviet Union’s leadership. Today the hotel, which occupies the same massive block as the Moskva did, has far fewer rooms, more retail space, and includes condos.
A liveried bellman greeted me in English by name and escorted me to the front desk, where two clerks appeared to be in a celebratory mood. After completing the brief formalities I found out the reason, I was the first guest to actually check in. It was Thursday, the day before the formal opening. A hand-written card from the hotel’s ebullient general manager, Max Musto, confirmed my “first guest” status later on.
The hotel’s 180 rooms have 40 different layouts, and even the smallest is generously sized at a spacious 40 square meters (431 square feet). My Premier Room, located on the hotel’s tenth floor, was over the main entrance and in the wing with arched windows, looking out over Manezhnaya Square. (The story goes that, when the building was first designed, the architect submitted a drawing of the façade to Stalin with each of the two wings having a different design, expecting him to choose one. Stalin is said to have put his signature exactly in the middle and, because everyone was afraid to tell Stalin he had not made a selection, it was decided to construct the building with one wing with larger windows and a more ornate façade and one wing with smaller windows and simpler details.)
My room was large enough to be considered a junior suite. It was divided by a partial wall housing a flat screen television that could be viewed from the bed as well as from the living room area.