So thrilled about the response to my first blog last week, thank you. I guess I've got quite a bit to live up to now but I'll give it a shot with telling you about my next favourite hotel from my travels so far.
The Ritz Carlton in Moscow is the definition of extreme luxury in a city which boasts being home to the 3rd largest amount of billionaires in the world (and not fake millionaires either as the press like to call me!).
So you can imagine that a hotel chain such as Ritz Carlton has a massive order to fill in its Moscow venue.
Moscow itself is renowned for its unrivalled magnificence throughout the world, and when in central Moscow you can really feel that aura of wealth and opulence - not to mention feeling the cold.
The Ritz Carlton is placed on Tverskaya street, one of Moscow's most famous streets as it leads directly up to the red square and the Kremlin. The Ritz is easily recognisable by the row of jet black Mercedes, Maybachs and other luxury cars, which always seem to be on display at the entrance. I literally gawped in envy when I saw them - this really is how the other half live - and I was just getting a taste of it.
As you pass through the entrance door, after being screened by heavy security, you'll be greeted by striking lush gold decor, regal furniture and decoration and huge sweeping staircases that you would expect to see in a fairytale royal palace.
As well as having one of the cast of Love Island as a guest (ahem), The Ritz is no stranger to high profile guests; from political leaders from around the world to movie stars such a Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Segal staying there from time to time.
The suite was in check with the theme from the rest of the hotel and imperial Russia. It had a slightly dated theme, which you would expect from a hotel with this kind of character, but that was forgiven due to the level of technology accompanying it.
Despite living in Moscow for many months, when I first visited the Ritz, I was actually just on holiday meeting a girl I had met whilst travelling in Asia and who was trying to convince me to come to Moscow for a visit.
Being unable to say no to a pretty face, like ever, I eventually caved in and got my visa. I extensively researched what hotel to choose as I always do and was more than intrigued (rightly so) by the Ritz's flashy image.
She had picked me up from the airport with her friend and escorted me to the hotel for check in, despite reception speaking flawless English I think my Russian companion was eager to assist me as she dealt with all the check in arrangements and I believe tried to take some credit for the upgrade of my room to a suite, although I'm pretty sure it was just a coincidence to be honest.
With it being my first trip to Moscow I was slightly apprehensive travelling alone as I had swiftly learnt that not many Russians speak English, but with a hotel car, as long as he knew where I was going, I was sure there wouldn't be too much confusion.
I know this blog is about hotels, but I'd be mad if I didn't mention the outstanding Turandot restaurant which we ate at. Its architectural beauty and overwhelming lavishness is something I have not experienced before. We had a quick dinner there and then moved onto a bar called 66, getting its name from being on the 66th floor of the skyscraper.
Now I'll be honest, I was pretty nervous about seeing this girl again as I hadn't seen her since my holiday in Asia a few months before, so I did partake in some airport drinking before I left, followed by some aeroplane drinking, followed also by some hotel drinking once I arrived. This unfortunately didn't bode too well for me as once I started drinking more I became somewhat of a liability. The details of my adventure are a little hazy to me even now but I do still remember flashbacks of leaving the bar alone, using the Moscow underground for the first time completely shit faced and eventually making it back to the hotel, one watch and one wallet light. Story of my life!
Waking up the next morning I was surprised to see my Russian friend actually in bed next to me, turns out she had managed to convince the hotel receptionist, who we had met earlier, to give her a spare key.
I could only assume that my companion would be somewhat pissed off by my actions the night before but somehow she seemed unscathed and not that bothered. Turns out I had given her a typical of drunk Jonny 'no idea what I'm doing' session the night before (which I had absolutely no recollection of), which somehow always seems to be better than my regular sober performance. So as it seemed we had worked out whatever issues we may have had from the night before.
Once we had nursed our hangovers a bit more, instead of hitting the breakfast we decided to opt for a room service breakfast. As per usual I ordered the eggs Benedict and she ordered the continental. The food, despite usually being sub normal standard with room service, was delivered so promptly it was almost as if they had cooked it in front of us, not quite the best I've ever had but it was still delicious.
After breakfast, as is fast becoming a tradition for me and my hangovers, I decided to book some spa treatments in. Prior to this I went for a swim in the state of the art underground swimming pool, it is a sight to be reckoned with. With its beautiful black and gold mosaic lapped pool, which is lit by fibre-optic Swarovski crystals and which gives it a constant twilight sparkle, it really creates the feeling of a tranquil safe haven away from the hustle and bustle of busy Tverskaya street just metres above.
I feel like the Ritz Carlton Moscow really is a massive milestone for my own personal journey, as I rarely visit new countries any more and it signifies the beginning of a new chapter of exploration. Russia is a fascinating country with such an interesting culture.
And of course very, very beautiful women. I won't lie, I've still got a weakness for cool Russian beauties. Erm, did someone say babushka?
See you next week, I'll be telling you about my trip to Croatia with the gorgeous Stephanie Pratt.