in late july, cheery russian president, vladimir putin signed a new visa agreement doing away with the laborious and disheartening us visa process (a.k.a one needs a formal invitation) thereby opening the proverbial flood gates to u.s fanny packs and tampa bay visors.
for those of you that stray from overly-american accessories and are truly interested in lapping up the culture of this rigidly interesting nation, i suggest beginning with the ritz carlton – moscow. (yes, i recognize that the ritz is really not russian by nature, but i assure they have seemed to adapt the culture just fine.)
very much old world soviet meets new world democracy (if i may), the hotel boasts the highest level amenities with an unwavering 18th-century flair – wood carved doors, plush pillows, floating fireplaces, spa space chairs – you know, the usual. with an opulence factor that knows no bounds, and let’s face it in a comical twist of fate (or politics) the russians have come to define the term opulence (have you seen their fur coats, right?), the hotel is packed with a library containing over 800 vintage works, a spa that makes you believe in time travel, and rooms that perch themselves perfectly at the moscow skyline.
don’t forget about their exclusive wine-room which touts the oldest and most exclusive collection of petrus wine or their restaurant aptly named carviarterra (only in russia can you use caviar in the tile of your restaurant…how delightfully pretentious.) from there you can tap into the hotel concierge’s moscow prowess to assemble the perfect tour – the kremlin, the bolshoi ballet, the conservatory…all the while knowing you’ll be coming home to anna karenina and your made for a menage-a-trois-tub.
hey it is vacation…just be careful not to drop it in the tub…tolstoy will be less than thrilled.