In April 2015, I had the pleasure of staying for two nights at the Radisson Royal Hotel in Moscow, Russia. The hotel is located inside one of the “Seven Sisters” skyscrapers, built during the Stalinist era of the 1950s. Locals refer to the Radisson by its original name, Hotel Ukraina. Construction was completed in 1957. Rising to a height of 676 feet and holding 34 floors, it held the distinction of the world’s tallest hotel until 1976. The property was completely renovated from 2007 to 2010 and is arguably Moscow’s finest hotel accommodations. It certainly one of the premier properties in the Radisson portfolio, as evidenced by its “Royal” designation.
The hotel’s history and unmatched 5 star luxury push room rates to nearly $500 USD per night for standard rooms. The fluctuating value of the Ruble may allow you to snag a better deal. I was fortunate to stay for free using a Club Carlson reward certificate. Were it not for my points, the Radisson Royal Moscow Hotel would not have been a consideration for me. If you are looking for luxury in Moscow, this is certainly the place to stay.
The hotel is situated on the banks of the Moskva River. It is near to several city bus routes (2, 44, 91, 116) which stop along the adjacent Kutuzovsky Avenue. City buses in Moscow are wheelchair accessible with fold-out ramps at the center or rear doors. The Moscow City Sightseeing Bus is also wheelchair accessible and offers a stop directly at the hotel. A large shopping mall with restaurants, stores and entertainment is located within 1.5 km. Curb cuts are present at area intersections and the sidewalks are well maintained.
Reservation and Check-in
My reservation was for a standard, wheelchair accessible room with a roll-in shower. I made my reservation on the hotel website, and was able to select the accessible room type with just a few clicks.
As I mentioned earlier, my stay was paid for using Club Carlson rewards points/certificates. Check-in went smoothly, and my Club Carlson Gold member status with recognized with a welcome amenity sent to my room (pictured above).
At check-in, the hotel upgraded me to a slightly nicer room – the Superior type. The room exceeded my expectations in design, luxury and accessibility. Given what I had heard about accessibility in Moscow prior to my trip, I was pleasantly surprised.
The room’s design was elegant. It wasn’t over-the-top fancy, but the room’s furnishings were high class. The king size bed was marvelous – extremely comfortable, with fluffy pillows and an inviting duvet. The bed sat at a standard height, relatively even with the seat of my wheelchair. Space was available for my power wheelchair along all sides of the bed. Wall power outlets were within reach and located on the right side wall. If you plan to charge a electric wheelchair or scooter while in Russia, read my important article on voltage and power conversion.
Among the other features of the room: a flat screen TV atop a chest of drawers opposite the bed, a desk with chair, a coffee table and chair, and a large window.
The room’s roll-in shower was typical of what I find in many hotels in the United States. A chair is built-in to the shower, which allows for easy roll-in and roll-out ability. A wall inconveniently juts out next to the seat, and blocks wheelchairs from rolling up directly alongside the seat. This means that you’ll need to perform a sideways transfer from your wheelchair to the front of the shower seat. Grab bars were conveniently located on the walls behind and to the left of the chair (when in the seated position). The grab bar behind the seatback should have been recessed, or the chair placed at a greater distance from the wall. The handheld, corded shower head is located behind the shower chair, along with the controls. This choice of positioning is certainly awkward and may be a challenge for many. For my purposes, though, the shower was sufficient. Other room types or styles may have a better design.
The bathroom’s toilet was a standard toilet, but was spaced such that a wheelchair could roll next to it. A grab bar was available on the wall to the right of the toilet.
Radisson River Cruise
The hotel operates Moscow’s premier sightseeing cruise on the Moskva River. Cruises run several times per day, 365 days per year, and take approximately 2.5 hours to complete. The boat runs along the Moskva River, passing sights such as the Kremlin, Gorky Park and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The ships are wheelchair accessible, but not perfectly so. I discuss the river cruise and its level of accessibility in greater detail in this article. I enjoyed the cruise, and was able to purchase a very affordable dinner meal onboard. Alcohol was inexpensive, and I had a fun time with my friend who had met me in Moscow. Since I chose a nighttime departure, the cruise allowed me to see to see all of the sights I had seen in daylight under the dark skies of night. The cruises run year-round and are an experience you must have, even if you are not a guest at the hotel.
The stay was very enjoyable. For my own personal needs, the hotel’s accessible features fit the bill. Aside from some extra work in the shower, everything was grand in terms of access. This is a hotel that I could have spent days in. The priceless, 20th century Russian art which decorates the public spaces throughout the hotel is an important component of its luxurious charm. I look forward to a future stay there – just as soon as I have enough points saved up!