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.
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.
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.
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!
^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.
^^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.
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…
…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)…
…and let’s talk about bathrooms…now remember this hotel is probably more business orientated…it was huge and quite lush…
…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!
Ohhh yes, the main attraction….each room comes with gas masks as modelled by G!
^^Only in Russia!
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.
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.
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.
^^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.
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.
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.
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.
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!