When we were looking for accommodation in Moscow, we decided to stick with a brand that we knew well and booked ourselves in the Intercontinental Moscow…so I thought I would do a little review of the hotel so you can see what to expect from your stay.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Location

The Intercontinental Moscow is probably best described as a business hotel and is located a good 10 minute walk away from Red Square.  To be fair, we preferred this as we were able to move around Moscow via an uber taxi with ease as we weren’t staying around the bottleneck area of Red Square where the traffic doesn’t move with any speed.  There are a few metro lines nearby so I don’t think you will be disappointed with the location and a number of local restaurants.

Pre-Arrival

I had made contact with the hotel about receiving an invitation letter so we could apply for our visa in London.  I made a booking (refundable in case we were rejected) and within hours I had my invitation letter for our visa.  It was super easy…just send an email with your booking number and the passport details of the people on the booking.  Check out my handy tips for travelling to Russia including a great website to help you fill out your Russian visa application form.

Check In

After what can only be described as a long journey from the airport…hello sitting in the back of a car for over 2.5 hours, we finally arrived and I was grumpy (5’11 in the back of a car isn’t fun!).  I had booked ourselves into a room with Club Lounge access as everyone goes on about how expensive Moscow is so I booked the lounge to cut our food costs while in the city…truly it’s not that expensive, maybe years ago but I thought it was cheaper than London!

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

^very swish lobby and smells gorgeous!

The check in was a breeze, all passports must be presented so they can register you as a guest.  That’s the easy bit!

Unfortunately the check in got a bit heated as my club lounge access was removed without my permission and we were upgraded to a suite (more about this later).  This wasn’t handled very well by the individual checking us in so in the end G asked to speak to the Duty Manager…surprise surprise that was who was checking us in.  I ended up leaving the check in desk as I was losing my cool as I felt like we were getting right royally ripped off and G handled the rest of the process.

In the end we were provided with the Club Lounge Access and the room upgrade.  I was over the hotel at this point and we hadn’t even got to the room!

Ambassador Upgrades & Club Lounge Access

Each Intercontinental hotel offers it’s loyal customers different upgrades; there is no consistency so it can make choosing the room that you want for your stay a minefield especially when staying at the Intercontinental Moscow.

I’m a Spire Ambassador (all through my credit card / loyal customer spending habits – no blogger bollocks here folks!) so I have certain expectations of what I will and won’t receive during our stay just like any other paying guest staying at this property.

I booked a King Club Room for two persons and was upgraded to the Moscow King Suite HOWEVER in this upgrade I lost my Club Lounge access which I had paid for and this frustrated the hell out of me…basically I would now need to pay for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Now if you’re a regular Intercontinental Guest you will understand that if you get upgraded to a Club Room you rarely ever get free access to the lounge (it’s very rare indeed!) however at the Intercontinental Moscow you do – so at the time of our booking, if you booked a night in the Superior Room; you were then upgraded to the King Club Room which included Lounge access.

Now that Club Lounge access is only for one person; you have to pay for the second guest as well.  Confused, yes so was I as the Ambassador program does state that a “single room rate for double occupancy”; my interpretation of this would be that it would include club lounge access for both people staying in the room – it doesn’t…why it is for only one person per room is beyond me as most Club Rooms gives access to 2 people.

The Intercontinental Moscow doesn’t have many categories in the hotel so it makes it difficult to provide upgrades so don’t go looking for a suite as you are unlikely to get one.  If you book a Club Room then you should have the choice of a room upgrade to the Moscow King Suite possibly or you can have free entry to the club lounge for the second person.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

^^The Ambassador gift included fresh fruit (actually good quality fruit as it can be quite manky at a few properties), unlimited water and a ceramic bear.

Room

We stayed in the lovely Moscow King Suite which was a lovely space for our 4 nights at the hotel…with a spacious lounge area including desk…

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

…a bedroom with power points right by the bed and the ability to turn off all the lights in the whole suite from your bed (trust me this was a high point…have you ever stumbled around a room trying to turn off every lamp that the night service team have turned on to provide the perfect amount of mood lighting…I normally stub my toe at this point on a large piece of furniture)…

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

…and let’s talk about bathrooms…now remember this hotel is probably more business orientated…it was huge and quite lush…

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

…honestly the best power shower I’ve had in a hotel for a long time and we both used that bath as the mean streets of Moscow really do hurt your legs…and it came with a little duckie!

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Ohhh yes, the main attraction….each room comes with gas masks as modelled by G!

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

^^Only in Russia!

Club Lounge

G and I (or my family) have stayed at a number of Intercontinental properties over the years (I will name them all for you – Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis, Willard in Washington DC, Mark Hopkins in San Fransisco, The Venetian Las Vegas, The Palazzo Las Vegas, Intercontinental Lisbon, Intercontinental Porto, Intercontinetal Anthenaeum Athens, Intercontinental Vienna, Intercontinental Malta, Intercontinental Park Lane London, Intercontinental Marseille Hotel Dieu, Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam, Intercontinental Warsaw, Intercontinental Berlin, Intercontinental Frankfurt, Intercontinental Dusseldorf, Intercontinental Hong Kong…and a few more than are no longer Intercontinental properties…so I know this brand well…the links are my hotel reviews)…and I can safely say with my hand on my heart that this is one of the best lounges we’ve seen at an Intercontinental hotel in a long time.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

The food was overall fantastic and that was including the gluten free items; the breakfast was a fabulous buffet and then you could order a number of other items from the menu if you felt there was still a gap that needed filling…I was a huge fan of milky rice porridge for breakfast.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

G had explained that I was gluten free and they were super helpful (a reason why we don’t stray often from the IHG brand as their gluten free knowledge is outstanding!)...I was told what I could and couldn’t eat.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

^^I could eat all this!

The club lounge offers a full breakfast, soups for lunch and a rather delicious dinner with drinks.  I would happily pay for club lounge access at this property again…if you’re pondering about it, my advice would be to do it especially if you have a food intolerance.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Polina and her team were fantastic; on our last day in Moscow, we received a phone call telling us that we needed to leave the hotel earlier than planned for the airport as the traffic was really bad…thankfully we made it just in time for our flight.

Facilities

If you are after a hotel with a pool then the Intercontinental Moscow isn’t going to be for you as they don’t have one unfortunately however they do have a sauna to use and G used this a few times and said it was great.

Concierge Services

We used the Concierge service a few times in reception and they were always helpful which is what you’re looking for as a guest on holiday.  As we had Club Lounge access, we gained a lot of information via Polina and her team.

Overall Experience

While the check in left a bit to be desired and the confusion over the upgrade situation for Spire Ambassadors or just Ambassadors in general at the Moscow property…the hotel is really lovely, the staff friendly and the food…well there were no complaints from me on the gluten free front!

Personally, I feel that the Intercontinental brand has dropped it’s standards at a few properties recently so it’s lovely to see an Intercontinental property bucking the trend.

You can stay at the Intercontinental Moscow starting from 45,000 points…booking directly through the IHG.com website guarantees you the best rate however if you find it cheaper elsewhere then IHG will give you the first night free…it’s worth spending 5 minutes having a quick look as I’ve stayed for free before!

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

xx

If you liked this post on Hotel Review: Intercontinental Moscow then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramFacebook and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

I had a few day trips planned in my head for our Monday in Moscow (the Golden Ring looked gorgeous and I still want to visit this region of Russia!) however the crazy Moscow traffic left me looking a bit closer to the city centre for a mini escape.  We decided to take a little trip to Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery which looked picture perfect from my pinterest research and close to the centre of Moscow (honestly how good is Pinterest for finding travel gems these days!).

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

We left a tad later than initially planned from the hotel, mainly as we were trying to work out the best option of getting across town…in the end we ordered an uber taxi which dropped us off right by the entrance after a short 20 minute drive…I think it was safe to say G was way over onion domes at this point while I was still totally in the onion dome zone…thankfully I’m not intolerant to onion domes unlike onions in general!

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

After paying the entrance fee (there is a small office by the entrance), we popped inside and went for a little wander around…Novodevichy Convent is a rather peaceful escape from the busy central area of Moscow…you can hear the birds singing and there is just an utter calm that surrounds the site…a rather special UNESCO World Heritage Site which has had various roles during it’s lifetime.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

G and I popped inside to see a few religious icons and read up about Mother Superior…a rather interesting lady who had her calling very late in life.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Unfortunately Smolensky Cathedral inside the walls was closed in April for restoration work so we checked out another little church within the walls…

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

…which was very sweet…

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

…but small…

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

…good things do come in little packages (well at times!).

It wasn’t the prettiest church we had visited during our time in Moscow but it was lovely to see something a tad different.  I’ve seen photos of the interiors of Smolensky Cathedral and it looks bloody amazing so I’m gutted that we missed out having a snoop inside.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

We wandered around the convent which originally started as a fort…

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

…admiring…

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

…we couldn’t help but to relax and just sat on of the seats admiring all those golden domes…while other tourists were getting frogmarched through the convent by their tour guides…this made me smile quite a lot.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

After leaving the convent, we decided to find the Novodevichy cemetery which is very close the convent….

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

…I would highly recommend a visit as there are a number of famous Russians buried in this cemetery including Yeltsin (there was a lady visiting his memorial with special police and bodyguards…it was all rather exciting!), Yuri Nikulin and Anton Chekhov to just name a few…

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

…we weren’t to fussed about finding the famous faces however the over the top headstones were much more my jam…honestly they were just freaking AMAZING!

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

^^She has flowers coming out of her bottom…how grand is that!

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Dancing between the headstones were bluebells and of course not many weeds as everything is wonderfully maintained within the Novodevichy cemetery grounds.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

I may have taken more photos at the cemetery then at the convent!  As I said in my previous Moscow post; you have to embrace all the quirks and weirdness of Moscow to really enjoy your time in the city…and this is one of those spots.

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

Travel Tips for Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery

  • While most tourists attractions in Moscow don’t open much before 10am…the convent is open from 7am…how true this is I’m not sure; we visited after 10am and it was definitely open then.
  • We paid 200 roubles per person for entry plus another 100 roubles so that I could use my camera within the grounds…definitely pay to use your camera as it’s a very photogenic spot in Moscow.
  • To get to the cemetery; turn right out of the convent entrance / exit and then turn right again onto the main road…basically just follow the convent wall and you will see the large entrance to the cemetery.
  • There is a map of the site so you will be able to search for the famous faces however it’s in Cyrillic…if you want to visit all the famous faces then I would suggest finding a map online before leaving your hotel for the cemetery so you can find what you are looking for.
  • Entry is free for the Novodevichy cemetery
  • I would suggest taking walking shoes with you; as there is a lot of walking involved on visiting both sites.
  • Our über taxi cost just over 500 roubles for a 20 minute journey from the Intercontinental Moscow…I did choose the middle of the range uber so it would be cheaper again if you picked the cheapest option on the app.  If you plan to use Uber then I would suggest linking it up to your SPG account as you can earn points for free hotel rooms this way…handy little points tip for you folks!
  • The nearest Metro station is Sportivnaya and then it’s a good 10 minute walk from the station.
  • The best spot to get a photo is to walk down to the pond in front of the Convent and you will get the walls and domes all in your photo…unfortunately we were visiting in the middle of the day so it was a bit bright.
  • Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery isn’t for everyone however it’s something a bit different to see and do…we spent around 2.5 hours visiting and then enjoyed a leisurely walk along the river afterwards.
  • You can read all my Moscow Travel Tips here…all very practical tips including how to apply for a visa, what to expect on arrival into Moscow and a few more nifty tips and suggestions!

Russia Travel Inspiration - Moscow's Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery; a fabulous spot in Moscow to escape the busy city centre and to experience a beautiful calm. A perfect little half day well spent discovering onion dome cathedrals and a rather fascinating cemetery. Pop on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes to see more photos and to read my travel tips for Moscow.

xx

If you liked this post on Moscow’s Hidden Gem: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramFacebook and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

All these travel tips for Moscow or Russia in general, I used myself…I am so thankful for Mrs D from Gluten Free Mrs D for providing me with a huge email of really important information for our trip; the information gave me an insight into what I was to expect from our visit to Moscow.  I don’t like fluffy top 10 lists to be honest, so I’ve decided to share really practical tips with you all for your next trip to Russia…blog posts should be helpful and I do hope all this information helps!

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Obtaining a Visa for Russia

Now this is the hard bit to be honest…they say don’t book any flights or hotels before you apply for your visa however we did but we made sure they were refundable incase it all went tits up…you actually need a letter of invitation from your hotel to get the visa (a right old catch 22 situation!).  The visa form for Russia is online and it’s not that difficult to do all the hard work yourself – I found this blog post online that took me through each step with ease so we didn’t pay for an agency.  Just a friendly word of warning, you will need to provide your foreign travel movements for the past 10 years…yes 10 years with dates!

You now have to be finger printed when you drop off your visa application; we visited the London application centre and I will be very honest and say it was bloody straight forward and easy – we were in and out within 30 minutes and scoffing burgers for lunch, not dinner like I was expecting.

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Flying First Class to Moscow

British Airways has flights on certain days to Moscow with a First Class Cabin; fly out on Friday morning and come back on Tuesday afternoon for a city break weekend which was perfect for us and it meant we were able to use our 241 companion voucher.  The flights cost us 68,000 avios (off peak rate) and £110 for the taxes…yes we only paid £110 for 2 first class flights; if you don’t have many avios and want to try out the BA first class cabin then this is definitely a cheap option to do so rather than paying £2,900 each for a seat!  I’ve written a post on how to fly long haul in First Class for only £500 in the past, if you want to check out how to play the avois game.

Landing Cards

This was my second visit to Russia (I visited St Petersburg in 2003) and it has changed so much.  You are no longer required to fill in a landing card asking all those awkward questions on how much cash you’re carrying and where you will be staying; just make sure you have a visa in your passport before you arrive!

Mrs D advised to take some snacks incase we had a long wait at the airport to get through passport control and I would highly recommend this also – it took us maybe 30 minutes to get through the queue however we were the first off the plane so that helped and they had almost processed the Emirates flight in front of us by the time we arrived.

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Book a Transfer to Moscow City Centre from the Airport

Mrs D advised us (I love Mrs D…can you tell…I’m so grateful for all her very practical and knowledgable tips!) to pre-book a transfer and thank goodness she did as the traffic is truly a nightmare getting into Moscow (you need snacks!)…think London traffic when there is a tube strike, that is Moscow traffic EVERY DAY!  Pre-booking the taxi just takes your mind off the worry of getting ripped off by a rouge taxi driver on arrival and you will obviously have a set price.  We used Lingo Taxis and they were really good and on the way back to the Airport we just used an Uber Taxi for a set price of 2,500 roubles (I think we got a good deal with this one to be fair).

Our journey into Moscow took 2.5 hours…yes you read that right and back out to the airport it took us close to 3 hours (we almost missed our flight…we were seriously shitting bricks as we arrived an hour before take off!).  Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport.

There is another option; which is catching the AeroExpress train from the airport to the city centre.  We were going to do this on the way back to the airport however the traffic was at a standstill in the city centre and a 2km drive was taking 2 hours (the metro with 4 pieces of luggage is not advisable!)…the train station that you will arrive / depart from in the city centre is the Paveletsky Rail Terminal – on arrival I would suggest asking your hotel to book your a taxi pick up to save the hassle of finding a driver.

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Choose your Hotel Wisely – we stayed at the Intercontinental Moscow

I’m a fan of the Intercontinental brand and I have to say that the Intercontinental Moscow was really lovely especially the Club Lounge (the ladies in the lounge were fantastic and probably the best food at an IC club lounge property!).  While you have the Four Seasons Moscow, Hotel National (SPG), Ritz Carlton Moscow and a few other large hotels overlooking the Kremlin and Red Square area which offer fabulous views; we actually preferred the 10 minute walk into Red Square as it meant we were able to get out and about easier in uber taxis and we weren’t constantly stuck in traffic jams…not the case if you are staying right in the middle of all the action as the traffic is chaotic in this area.

Did We Feel Safe in Moscow?

I actually felt safer in Moscow then I do walking around London; firstly we saw no trouble i.e. pickpockets, the locals were super friendly and trying out their English on us, there were body scanner machines at all the hotels, Metro stations and shopping centres due to heighten security so we felt really safe.  There was a heavy police presence however not a military presence like I remember from my visit to St Petersburg.

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

You Don’t Need to Carry Your Passport

Contrary to what you read, you don’t need to carry your passport with you in Russia anymore!  I did ask the concierge at the hotel and his advice was not to worry, they are more concerned about overstayers coming into Russia so if you show the police a hotel room key (swipe card) then that is generally enough as it shows that you are on holiday etc…if you do want to carry something with you then I suggest a copy of your passport identity page.

Prebook your Tickets to the Kremlin

Definitely prebook your tickets to the Kremlin if you can; I would suggest the Armoury and cathedral square which are stunning at the very least if you are pushed for time!  Now if you do pre-book your tickets then make sure you get the 10am slot which is the first timed slot into the Armoury.

You will need to take your print out of the online ticket with you to the ticket office to change over to the official paper tickets and to do this you will need to show your passport…we didn’t have any identification on us so we had a battle of wills (it was New Zealand vs Russia) and I won in the end as I refused to leave until she gave me my tickets…I showed my credit card as it had my name on it but do take your passport or a drivers licence to pick up the tickets as you might not be as lucky as us (they want to see the original!).

The ticket office is in the Kremlin Garden to the right of the main entrance gate to the Kremlin…it’s a stand alone building which is poorly signed along with the entrance to the Armoury so give yourself time to find both.

Make sure that you get to the Armoury entrance no later than 9.30am as you will be scanned and your bags searched and this took over 30 minutes so we didn’t get into the Kremlin until almost 10.30am as we were at the end of the line and the locals like to push in.

You will need identification and a cash deposit to get an audio tour guide; we weren’t aware of this so we ended up just wandering around but there is quite a bit of information in English now which is fantastic.

If you can’t afford to travel to Moscow then you can do a virtual tour online which I think is pretty awesome in fact…here’s the link…it’s towards the bottom for all those armchair travellers out there.

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Make Sure you See Red Square at Night

This was another tip from Mrs D, to venture to Red Square on your first night in Moscow and honestly it was such a fantastic experience.  To stand in Red Square wearing red was on my bucket list however seeing the area all beautifully lit up for nighttime; it was just so magical and for me that was when I ticked Red Square off my bucket list and I went to bed so excited about seeing the rest of Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

^^Just a quick photo from my camera phone

Is Anything in English?

I was really surprised to find that yes there is! There are a number of signs in Cyrillic and English pointing you in the direction of various tourist attractions to help out the folks that can’t read maps to save themselves albeit this is not the case on the Metro where everything is in Cyrillic…it’s a case of matching the letter up while admiring the beautiful stations.

Catching the Metro in Moscow

I was surprised that I managed to get us across Moscow without ending up in Siberia with relative ease using the Metro.  The map of the Moscow Metro is very similar to the London Underground tube map; we bought tickets for the little lady at the counter (I think for approximately 60 roubles each…less than a £1!) and ventured across Moscow…the stations are masterpieces themselves and makes London look like a rather dull and poor cousin!

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Walking the Mean Streets of Moscow!

Seriously I am not sure what they put in their sidewalks however your legs, feet and hips are going to kill you…a number of baths didn’t lessen the pain.  Make sure you take really really comfortable shoes…I took my Supergas and Russell & Bromley Chelsea Boots and neither had given me blisters until Moscow…I was waddling around Moscow like a penguin!  I would suggest a really good pair of walking shoes like Merrells which I had left in my car at the airport…doh!

If you think you will be jumping in taxis to get to various tourist attractions rather than walking then good luck as you will spend most of your time sitting in traffic…take walking shoes as you can’t get around central Moscow without them.

The streets can be six to eight lanes wide so you can’t cross them; there is always a subway to walk under these huge streets safely (and there are ramps on every set of steps we found)...I arrived in Moscow with cellulite but left with none due to all the walking and steps!

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Is the Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus Worth It?

No…it’s quicker to walk eveywhere on the red route than taking the bus…the green route was a bigger loop however there wasn’t too much to see on this loop on your first trip to Moscow.  Seeing Moscow from the top of a double decker bus was fantastic as the detailing on the buildings is just exquisite and the commentary was pretty funny…there was always a funny story which almost always ended with someone getting hurt, killed or cursed…I could only laugh!

I booked this for G as he is still recovering from a knee operation however we only used it once due to the traffic.

The Maps of Moscow are Deceiving

Now this was a tip that the concierge passed onto us…the city centre area around Red Square and the tourist attractions in this area are all true scale wise on the map and very walkable; however when you leave this central area most things are way off scale so where it may have taken you ten minutes to walk one distance in the city centre…when you are a little further out of this area that same distance can take you twenty minutes even though it is showing as the same distance on the map.  This doesn’t help when the streets are ripping your feet to shreds.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read Online about Russia!

Now I’m not just talking about the news but it’s a good place to start; we had no issues at all as foreigners in Russia so don’t believe everything that these news channels spin.

Second thing; researching opening times for various tourist attractions is a nightmare and you really need a good concierge to help you get an itinerary sorted – Lenin is only open a few days a week for a few hours each day (and when we visited Moscow he wasn’t taking visitors due to the May Day Parade preparations plus the days had changed after having his suit changed earlier this year!)...while a museum may say it’s open on a Monday, it probably won’t be!  There are opening times for many of the tourist attractions in Moscow however you have to be aware that these will depend on the season and they will probably only show the summer opening times…another thing I fell foul to on our trip…the information in Russian was updated however the English translations weren’t hence I wasted some valuable snooping time.

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

What is it Like to Travel to Moscow in April?

I’m a big fan of travelling out of season to popular travel destinations (remember me visiting Santorini in Winter!)...well April is considered out of season and there is a lot of maintenance / restoration work that is taking place at this time so you will find certain areas won’t be open.

Weather wise it can be quite literally four season in one day…we had snow, blinding sunshine, rain and winds and then total calm all within a space of 2 hours.  We ended up travelling with a lot of clothes as the weather reports were such a mixed bag on our visit to the city however the temperatures never made it to double figures (but we were prepared for this).  The following weekend it was 21 degrees in Moscow in April!

Is it easy to find Gluten Free Food in Moscow?

I will be honest and say that I ate at the hotel a lot as I knew that we could guarantee that everything was gluten free.  Unfortunately I suffer from IBS so if I eat gluten, it goes straight through me so I didn’t want to take any risks while I was in Moscow.  I did find a Georgian restaurant, Superavi Cafe (it has a few locations in Moscow) that has gluten free options and well informed staff.

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Why is Moscow such a Marmite Travel Destination?

Moscow is such a marmite travel destination; you either love it or really really hate it!  I am definitely in the Team Moscow camp as I really loved the city; it was fascinating, clean and just so so pretty.  I do think tourists visit Moscow thinking that it will be very European however it is and it’s not at the same time…if that makes sense.  You have to understand the history of Russia to appreciate the country and the people within it; and I think tourists get a huge culture shock and this is why they don’t enjoy Moscow…and I know travellers don’t like to admit to culture shock.

To really love the city; you have to be ready to accept all it’s quirks and weirdness…when we got dropped off at a derelict building and had to go underground through tunnels to a shooting range we thought we were going to die…we didn’t (obviously!) but oh my goodness we had a few laughs on that night and we still do.  You have to embrace everything about Moscow to enjoy the city…we even started to enjoy the crazy drivers.

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Moscow isn’t for everyone but it’s definitely a firm favourite of mine now…go with an open mind!

If you fancy checking my other Moscow posts then take a gander here – Moscow’s Hidden Gem:  Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery, my honest review of the Intercontinental Moscow.

If there are any other travel tips for Moscow you are after…please drop me a comment below and I will try and help or point you in the right direction.

Russia Travel Inspiration - My very practical travel tips for Moscow including everything related to visas, airport transfers, pre-booking tickets, traffic conditions, gluten free food and how to get the best view of the architecture. The city is weird and wonderful; with stunning onion dome cathedrals it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

xx

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