Monday, 12 October 2009
Walked down past Red Square and over the river yesterday, and finally noticed that the hotel was missing! Meaning the enormous Hotel Russia which I remember from my last visit 30 years ago as a massive, ugly and somehow typically Soviet solution to providing temporary accommodation for various delegates, trade unionists and other miscellaneous visitors from across the Union and occasionally beyond; each endless corridor of identical doors patrolled by an unsmiling babushka in charge of a samovar, from whom I never managed to extract a single cup of tea.
One of my friends said that it was just demolished without any notice: the stories are that the KGB had various equipment there they didn't want found (other buildings in the immediate vicinity of the Kremlin have disappeared in similar fashion.) Well, it was definitely hideous, but then Moscow is not rich in hotels. And doesn't seem that interested in developing the tourist industry - as you will know if you have attempted the process of getting a tourist visa.
If you want to see what the Hotel Russia looked like and the demolition, go to EnglishRussia.