Wednesday 4 December 2013

Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya, Kalanchevskaya Street, Moscow, Russia

The view across Komsomolskaya Square from one of the upper floors of the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya 

One of seven neo-classical skyscrapers erected in the Russian capital in the Stalinist post-war period, the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya is an imposing Baroque-Gothic style building near the inner ring road. Although the hotel's sheer scale means it might belong in an Orwellian nightmare, the towering cream spires can give the building the air of a fairytale castle.  With an extraordinarily high and ornately-carved wooden ceiling held up by marble pillars, the grandiose lobby is illuminated by ostentatious chandeliers and light fittings. The incongruous wicker armchairs appear lost in their palatial surroundings.  The gilded conference rooms also seem to be hangovers from a bygone era. 

Although the Hilton's ageing lifts are slow and cranky, the bedrooms are contemporary, comfortable and can be quiet, if you don't get a room overlooking the noisy generator and you don't open a window overlooking traffic-clogged Komsomolskaya Square. If you are on one of the higher floors, the views across the city are pretty special. Tastefully decorated in shades of brown and fawn, the rooms are also well-equipped with irons, safes and flat-screen televisions. Although you have to pay to use Wi-Fi in the room, it is free in the lobby. 

Unfortunately, breakfast can be rammed to the point where you can't get a table - the serving staff suggest you take something from the buffet and sit in the foyer. The food is good, however, with cold fresh fish, such as salmon and herrings, among the highlights. There is also some hot food, such as scrambled eggs, as well as fruit and plenty of pastries. It can be tough to get coffee - as the staff may struggle to keep up with the demand. Still, this unsually-magnificent Hilton is a memorable place to stay. 8/10