At the end of an almost two-week European vacation, my husband and I headed back to Moscow for a second time to spend two nights and three days at the Ararat Park Hyatt. While we loved our stay at The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya, the Park Hyatt blew The St. Regis out of the water and is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in.
In This Post Booking
I feel like many people probably don’t take advantage of all the benefits of The Platinum Card from American Express, including the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program — in my experience, when you need an early check-in or late check-out, Amex FHR is the way to go. I would be arriving in Moscow at 8:00am via the Red Arrow sleeper train from St. Petersburg so I decided to book the Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow though the Amex Travel Concierge. Even better, the rates on Amex FHR turned out to be slightly lower than what I’d come across on Hyatt’s website.
A standard Park King Room was available on Hyatt.com for 26,000 rubles (~$439 at the time) per night, but was slightly cheaper through Amex FHR at 24,000 rubles (~$405) a night and came with extra perks like noon check-in, a complimentary room upgrade (based on availability), a $100 food and beverage credit, guaranteed 4:00pm late check-out and free breakfast. Since this was a Hyatt Category 6 property, I could have also elected to use 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night to book this room at 1.7 cents per point, although technically it wouldn’t have been a great value. Alternatively, I could have booked my stay with a travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which would have let me earn 3x or 2x points on the travel purchase, respectively.Lobby and Check-In
The 206-room hotel is located on Neglinnaya Street, just a short walk from the Bolshoi Theater and Red Square. The Tsentralʹnyĭ Universalʹnyĭ Magazin (or TsUM) Moscow shopping mall is directly across the street. The hotel was built on the site of a legendary Armenian restaurant dating back to the Soviet period — there’s a modern recreation of this restaurant on the property today.
We pulled up to the hotel in our Uber Audi A8 — nobody said Moscow was a poor city — and were immediately met by two gentleman asking to assist us with our luggage. A few stairs and a revolving door later, we found ourselves in the grand lobby.
When we booked the room through Amex FHR, we had the concierge alert the hotel about our early arrival — while FHR enables you to check in at noon, 9:00am is a stretch. We walked several feet from the entrance to the front desk, where we were greeted with a “Welcome, Mr. Kotkin!” I was stunned that they even knew it was me, and as I tried to hand over my Amex Platinum Card, the agent said, “Not here. Let’s do this in the comfort of your room.” I could hardly believe it — our room was ready at 9:00am and we were being escorted to it.
In the lobby, we passed by several beautiful glass elevators we assumed we would use during our stay — we wouldn’t get to those until we changed rooms (more on that later).
Instead, we were taken to the VIP elevators, which were much more subtle, almost hidden in the lobby, and only stopped at certain floors including the 11th (where we were staying) and the very top. We were then shown to our room, which was definitely an upgrade over the Park King Room we’d originally booked.
The Park Deluxe King Room in the Sky
We entered Room 1110, which was aptly referred to as a Park Deluxe King Room in the Sky — in fact, this room isn’t even mentioned on the Hyatt or Amex FHR websites. While a Park Deluxe King at the time of booking was 33,000 rubles (~$558) per night, the Deluxe Room in the Sky was like that category on steroids and there was only one of its kind. Just look at those windows!
This was one of the most unique rooms I have ever stayed in, with greenhouse-like windows overlooking an outdoor patio and, in the distance, the Kremlin.
The entryway had a mirror to help brighten up the already naturally lit room.
The closet, located next to the entryway, had plenty of storage space and a place to hang our clothes.
The shades were electronically opened and closed and could be stopped at any point.
The large room also had a small seating area with a circular table and chairs.
At the table waiting for us was a bottle of red wine as well as some fruit and a welcome note from our Amex concierge, which I thought was a nice touch.
Next to the bed was a complimentary bottle of Evian water.
The bathroom was modern-looking and clean. There were many mirrors, making it difficult to take the right picture to do it justice.
The shower, which would absolutely pass TPG’s shower test, and the Toto toilet were next to each other.
Hanging next to the shower was a high-quality Frette bathrobe.
Next to the single sink was the bathtub — while not the largest, it was more than sufficient for a relaxing soak.
Complimentary bath salts were supplied, while shampoo, conditioner and shower gel were provided by Blaise Mautin.
Now for what didn’t work: When we arrived, this room was perfect. It was the morning, we were happy to have the most unique room in the hotel and we were impressed. Before we left to explore Moscow and take an 11:00am walking tour, we shut all the shades.
Upon returning to the room around 1:30pm, we decided to take a nap. The air conditioner had been set to about 60° Fahrenheit, but the room still felt slightly warm to us. When we woke from our nap around 3:30pm, the room was boiling hot. Our travel thermometer read a whopping 90° Fahrenheit — all this with the blinds closed and the air conditioning on its coldest setting.
We immediately got dressed and went downstairs. The head of hospitality met with us and could not have been more apologetic, explaining that the room was built without blackout blinds, allowing heat to get in. Since Moscow weather tends to vary from mild to cold, it’s not usually an issue. This particular day, however, was hot, and the AC simply could not keep up.
Her solution was to give us two rooms: a Park Suite King room on the sixth floor that we could nap and hang out in during the day and our otherwise lovely Park Deluxe King Room in the Sky to sleep in at night. Despite the fact that the Park Suite didn’t have the same fabulous views as the sweltering King Room in the Sky, we told her we would be happy to have just one room and moved to the Park Suite for the remainder of our stay.The Park Suite King Room
While we were told that this room was considered to be a downgrade from our first one, we thought it was anything but that. The cost of this room online was 49,000 rubles (~$830) per night and while it didn’t have the views or the VIP elevator, the Park Suite King was substantially larger than our previous room had been, with a separate living room and huge bathroom and closet.
Upon entering the suite, we walked past the door to the toilet, sink and mini-bar to get to the rest of the room.
As with most suites I’ve stayed in, there was a work desk with a phone.
The living room was separated from the rest of the space by a sliding door, which led to the king-size bed in the master bedroom.
A mirrored sliding door in the master bedroom revealed a makeup table and mirror as well as a closet and a second entrance to the room — apparently this was really two regular rooms that had been put together to form a larger suite.
There was plenty of light so you could sit and do your hair and makeup.
The fairly large closet provided plenty of space to hang our clothes.
Walking through the closet was one way to access the bathroom, otherwise it could be reached from the entry hall. Once again, the bathroom was large with mirrors everywhere.
There shower in this room would also pass TPG’s shower test.
Across from the shower was a Toto toilet with its own sink that could be closed off from the main bathroom area.
Here’s a look at the bathroom from the main entrance.
As with the other room, there was a reasonably sized soaking tub and a fancy bathrobe.
The mini-bar was well-stocked with alcohol and snacks.
An in-room coffee machine was also available.
The air conditioning and all the lights in the room were controlled by this control panel.
Food and Beverage
The Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow had several restaurants and bars throughout. Located in the lobby were Café Ararat and Enoki, a Japanese bar that served sushi and sashimi. Using our Amex FHR food and beverage credit, we enjoyed a delicious poke bowl for our first lunch.
We also checked out the Conservatory Lounge and Bar on the rooftop. Although we did not have a chance to eat there this time around, the views were amazing.
You could even catch a glimpse of the Kremlin.
Complimentary breakfast, a perk we received by booking through Amex FHR, was available on the second floor. For non-FHR members, the buffet costs 2,150 rubles (~$36). While the room itself was nothing special …
… the buffet was comprehensive and included access to a caviar bowl that was constantly refilled.
There were lots of cereals and toppings to choose from.
Champagne was available so you could make it a boozy brunch.
There was a wide selection of breakfast meats …
… as well as some delicious pies and pastries to choose from.
Having fresh fruit and juice were a nice way to start the day …
…as was my wonderful plate with a little bit of everything.
From the hot menu, we were also able to order dishes like Armenian eggs and eggs Florentine.
The Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow had a wonderful spa with massages, a Russian bath and various other ways to pamper yourself. Though we did not test out any of the treatments, we did stop by the pool.
And the hot tub.
The sauna was also really nice after a long day of sightseeing.
There was even a shower with a bucket of cold water to cool off with.
Afterward, you could have a nice shave in the locker room.
Lockers were available to store your belongings while you used the pool and spa facilities.
This is one of my favorite hotels of all time. The service was impeccable, the food was delicious, the rooms spotless and the staff everywhere to be found at all points in time. While our initial room had a design flaw that made it really heat up on a hot day, 99% of the year it’s probably a wonderful room. The suites at the hotel were spacious, and while not cheapest option in the city at over $400 per night, the value is definitely there.
Have you ever stayed at the Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow? Tell us about your experience, below.
All photos by the author.