"There are only two reasons to
come here, "says one Western businessman, "to have a fun and get
"Don't be shocked by the
prices. In many places, the whole point is to spend as much money as possible
to show what a big shot you are."
It may come as a surprise to many to
learn that Moscow is one of the world's great cities. It certainly did to me. I
think that, like many people, I envisioned a city that was a cross between
Beirut and ... well, I don't
know what. Having never previously
visited a post-communist city, particularly one that had the reputation for
rampant crime and shoddy Stalinist architecture enjoyed by Moscow.
Moscow's night life is of epic
proportions, and people don't really start rocking until midnight and seldom
stop before sunup.
One thing to bear in mind: Many
nightclubs, casinos and bars cater mainly to the Russian mafia. So don't go
unless you're with someone who's known there; then everything will be fine.
The city's most elegant casino and a
favorite among serious players
The following hotels are mix of
Moscow's best, from inexpensive to luxury. All provide Western-style
accommodations and amenities.
Hotel Baltschug Kempinski
Few urban hotels anywhere can top
the view. Five-star European comfort and service. Rooms: $384-420.
Making The Most Of Moscow
-Arriving: If possible, arrange to
have someone meet you with a car when you land at Sheremetivo Airport. Upon
arrival you will be handed a customs form. Do not lose this: you'll be expected
to turn it in along with a new one when you depart.
-Visas: The Russians remain very
strict about visas. Be sure that all your dates coincide with those on your
-Getting Oriented: Moscow is one of
the most confusion cities in the world to navigate.
-Taxis: Moscow's taxi system is a
free-for-all, and out-of-towners will be taken shocking advantage of if they don't
know the score. Fares are agreed upon before you get in. The best bet is to
hire a car and driver for your stay.
-Money: Many places take rubles
instead of hard currency, but the $ is quickly becoming Russia's unofficial
currency. So it's good to carry some greenbacks.
Since the Soviet Union crumbled,
Moscow has seen an explosion of restaurants purveying international cuisine.
Most that cater to Western visitors, generally the more expensive ones, are
relatively safe and clean, though quality varies.
A traditional Georgian restaurant
that also offers a little blackjack and roulette.
All location of this American icon
are unbelievably popular.
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