From Russia with Love, Part 1

If Russia isn’t part of your travel bucket list, allow me to change your mind.

I had the pleasure of visiting Russia on business, as a member of a delegation from a leading integrated laser company in the Philippines. The purpose of our trip was mainly to observe the latest technology in medical lasers, which help cure cancer and cardio-vascular diseases, and aid in anti-aging skincare. While there, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the charming city of Moscow.

My love affair with this amazing city began on a cold morning in April 2016 when my companions and I arrived at Domodedovo Airport (DME), flying in from Abu Dhabi via Ethihad Airlines. DME is one of three main airports in Moscow, with the other two being Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) and Vnukovo International Airport (VKO).

With the apparent language barrier and an unexpected delay in immigrations, the trip wasn’t starting out as problem-free as I hoped it would. Fortunately, the hotel driver who was assigned to our party was still waiting outside the airport when we finally got to exit, hours after our arrival. This was a real silver lining, as each time he tried to reach me though my cellphone, we were unable to understand each other. I really thought I would miss my ride, and be left to fend for myself in 3-degree weather.

Had the driver left me behind, my options to get around were the Aeroexpress, which is the local train service, or a taxi. A cab ride to the city center would have cost me about 1500 Rubles, or approximately 25 USD.

On the way to the hotel, I was greeted by the familiar sight of a traffic jam, much like my morning commute in Manila. It took about an hour and a half for me to get from the airport to my hotel, the Radisson Slavyanskaya.

I highly recommend this hotel because of its awesome location. It is only a few steps away from the Kiyevsky Railway Terminal (Ки́евский вокза́л), the only metro station in Moscow that overlooks the Moscow River, as well as train, bus, and riverboat stations. It is less than a kilometer away from European Mall (Evropeyskiy), a great place to visit for shopping. From the hotel, you can even walk to various parks and to a station just across the river where you can take a nice cruise.

Here’s View from my hotel room:

Within the hotel, there is an excellent lounge and dining establishments. I was able to experience great service at the hotel’s business center, and even travelled around the city stress-free thanks to the hotel car. The rooms are big, with a magnificent view of the river, and you wake up to an amazing daily breakfast spread with a wide array of fruits, vegetables, and other dishes.

Here is where I took breakfast everyday! Great food!

Apart from the Radisson, there are several other hotels and hostels that you can choose to stay in. My advice is to choose a place that is close to the downtown area and near a metro station, so you can easily get around. Some of my top picks are:

If you prefer a budget-friendlier option, there are several that you can explore on Airbnb.

When in Russia, I recommend you spend at least three full days in Moscow to allot enough time for tours. If time and budget permits, however, I really suggest you spend at least 2 weeks in the city. There is no limit to what you can see and experience, from ballets and art to sports, architecture, shopping, and the exquisite nightlife.

In my next post, I will be sharing more about my first day in Moscow, and the fabulous architecture in the city that I know I shall never forget. Please come along!