HISTORY OF THE HOTEL
Four Season Hotel Moscow is a modern replica of the legendary Hotel Moskva (Russian for “Hotel Moscow”), originally opened in 1935.
The decision to build Hotel Moskva was made by the government of the USSR at the end of the 1920s. The goal was to create a great symbol of socialist construction – in contrast to the existing pre-revolutionary hotels.
Designed by architect Alexei Shchusev, the 15-storey hotel on Okhotny Ryad features a central portico with a row of classical columns, framed by two asymmetrical wings. According to legend, each wing was actually an individual design proposal and the architect submitted the drawings to the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, expecting that he would choose one of the two versions. However, both drawings were on the same sheet of paper, and Stalin placed his signature in the middle of the page, so it was impossible to know which design he had selected. Since no one wanted to question the leader, it was decided to build both designs – one on the right, the other on the left – resulting in the asymmetrical façade. The hotel’s distinctive silhouette is immortalized in a line drawing on the label of Russia’s prestigious Stolichnaya vodka.
On December 20, 1935, Hotel Moskva opened its doors, featuring nearly 1,000 guest rooms. The first phase of the hotel cost 45 million roubles – three times as much as initially planned. Single rooms cost from 15 to 50 roubles per night, while luxury rooms cost from 70 to 100 roubles per night. The average salary in the country at that time was 200 to 300 roubles per month.
The original Hotel Moskva was renowned for providing high-profile luxury accommodations, even during the Soviet era. Famous guests ranged from politicians to movie stars.
The Second World War turned Hotel Moskva into a fortress for defending the northern part of the Kremlin. Command stations of the anti-aircraft artillery regiment were located on the rooftop, where before the war there had been a restaurant. To accommodate the Soviet military commanders who stayed there, the hotel’s gas and electricity supply was not suspended even for one day and the restaurant did not close, even though food was served on a coupon basis.
It was not until 1968 that construction continued on the second phase of the building. The Moscow hotel complex was expanded to include a 10-storey building facing Ploshchad Revolyutsii and a 6-storey building facing Teatralnaya Ploshchad. An additional phase of the hotel was commissioned in 1977 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the October Revolution.
The original Hotel Moskva closed in 2002 in anticipation of the total reconstruction of the complex and the creation of Four Seasons Hotel Moscow. The new building is a modern replica of the original, incorporating state-of-the-art technology and 21st-century comfort.