Lotte's imposing size is instantly noticable

The world’s attention may currently be on Sochi ahead of next year’s Winter Olympic Games, but Russia’s capital Moscow is never far from the limelight. Anna Smith checks in and checks out the opulent Lotte Hotel, which has hosted everyone from presidents to princesses.

First impressions

Lotte Hotel LobbyLotte has a spacious and opulant lobby
Lotte Hotel
At first glance, Lotte Hotel is enormous. After a second look, it is still enormous. Looming over the busy streets, the 300-room hotel is part of a complex so large it even includes its own eight-floor shopping centre. Walking into reception it’s impossible to feel claustrophobic: chandelier-adorned ceilings soar above, and even when the hotel's full, the highly attentive staff members appear to outnumber the customers. Décor is in warm, honey tones with a suitable amount of gold and glitz: the Russian love of bling is evident here alongside the devoted Korean service – due to the hotel’s parent group being Korean owned. Check in is quick and friendly, and the lifts are plentiful (although the sparkling crystal handrails may be a little much for some).

Ideal for…

European and Asian businesspeople make up a large portion of the client list but suites here are also favoured by wealthy locals. We enjoyed sitting in the bar and watching the fashion parade – even if the men tend to stick to the black-leather-jacket rule – as an array of designer dresses file through the foyer on a Saturday evening. Put it this way: the Royale suite – the largest in Moscow – has a party room and bulletproof glass.

The room

Lotte Hotel Deluxe RoomRelax in peaceful rooms with ultra comfy beds
Lotte Hotel

All the rooms have very comfortable king-size beds and all the usual facilities you'd expect of a 5-star hotel: tea, minibar, LCD TV and DVD player, bathrobe and slippers. Disposable toothbrushes (with toothpaste) and razors are also a welcome addition in the marble bathroom. The Korean connection means it's very hi-tech, with a clever digital control panel and even a toilet function that includes “front/back wash” and a drier; something that regularly amuses European guests. Our city view Junior Suite is tastefully decorated in muted golds and browns and very spacious, peaceful and private.

Best room?

This isn't quite close enough to Red Square to offer a legendary city vista, so opt for the 'garden ring' rooms that boast views over the peaceful quadrant in the interior of the hotel.

Eating and drinking

Breakfast is where Hotel Lotte particularly excels, in the grand setting of its French restaurant Les Menus, whose design blends French classical style with ornate Russian touches. The buffet options are numerous and beautifully displayed: choose from towers of tasty pastries, grab a glass of champagne and order the day's hot special.

Come the evening, Les Menus offers French cuisine with a modern twist. We were lucky enough to catch their Michelin three-star chef Pierre Gagnaire, who was in town and creating quite a buzz with local foodies. We tried his delicate but bold tasting menu (costing an eye-watering £203 per person), including pork with Burgundy, snail, aubergine caviar and cumin; and fillet of French pigeon with juniper berries. Desserts and cheeses – French, of course – were a highlight.

Lotte Hotel also has a stylish Japanese restaurant, Megu of New York, that's popular with locals and guests alike.


The Mandara spa is large, welcoming and peaceful with beautifully designed circular treatment rooms giving a cosseting yet cavernous feel. It’s the first spa in Moscow to bring several new treatments to the city, including Oxygen Therapy Massage (where guests receive a 20-minute pure oxygen blast whilst being massaged) and Vitality River Bed, a hydrotherapy treatment using jets; so even a princess will feel truly pampered. The fitness club is huge and well equipped; and the pool is beautifully lit. Make sure you set aside a good few hours to explore and indulge in this spa.

Lotte Hotel Mandara SpaTry one of the many treatments offered at the spa
Lotte Hotel

Lotte also has a whopping six banquet halls, so there are usually several events happening, ranging from weddings to conferences.

Room for improvement

In some of the public areas, the amount of space makes it a little impersonal with a conference-centre feel. And if you like being left to your own devices, you might find the breakfast staff too attentive, clamouring to help and gesturing to dishes for you to try. Also, like most things in Moscow, Hotel Lotte isn't cheap and with the exchange rate against the British Pound, prices are higher than comparable hotels in other European cities.

Out and about

St. Basil Cathedral See St Basil's Cathedral on Red Square
Thinkstock / iStockphoto
While the immediate area, Arbat, is more about shopping and business, it's a pleasant walk to key sights; especially if you go via pedestrianised, café-lined Old Arbat street where stalls and boutiques sell souvenirs and art.

Otherwise, it's a quick cab ride to key sights Red Square, St Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin, where you can trace Russia's love affair with opulence in the impressive Armoury. The famous Bolshoi Theatre isn't far – we were lucky enough to grab tickets for a performance of Swan Lake, where the audience were as entertaining as the dancers. And when in Moscow, you should use the Metro at least once for the spectacular internal architecture alone.


8 bld.2, Novinskiy Boulevard,
Moscow 121099,
Tel. (495) 745 1000.

Prices start from £345 for a superior twin room per night (based on two sharing).

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