Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Size Matters When You're in Moscow

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Size Matters When You're in Moscow

Article excerpt

THE iconic Ukraine Hotel in Moscow, this year rebranded as a Radisson Collection property (the brand's most premium offering), could be the definition of "extra". This is not a discreet boutique down a backstreet that you'll struggle to locate; it's in one of the Russian capital's gargantuan, jawdropping Seven Sisters. They're the city's answer to New York's skyscrapers, built in the Forties and Fifties in fabulous, sprawling splendour. Prepare to be starstruck.

Looks Inside, the decadence continues. They really, really, really like gold here. The design is very Old Russia -- if you're looking for contemporary style, this ain't it. Instead, expect a sweeping marble entrance hall where the reception desk takes at least five minutes and three false starts to find, housing -- what else? -- a Rolls-Royce showroom and private members' club; chandeliers dripping with crystals hanging from every ceiling; and plush fabrics in shades ranging from royal purple to deep sage to pale gold (Did I mention that they like gold?).

Feel The hotel is -- and I can't stress this enough -- massive. There are 501 rooms (cut down from the venue's previous incarnation, which had more than 1,000) and this means that, while not impersonal as such, the service is different to what you'd find in a smaller joint. There are more than 2,000 staff, so expecting the barman to remember your drink order would be laughable. That said, everyone I encountered was personable, helpful and spoke excellent English.

The clientele is a varied melting pot of families, couples and business travellers, the last often there to use the hotel's extensive conference facilities: but there's more than enough room for everyone to rub along.

Extras There are 19 restaurants and bars (some of which are across the road from the hotel), ranging from authentic Russian to fine dining to well, anything you could imagine. …

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