In Moscow, we stayed at the Hotel National, A Luxury Collection Hotel. 1,Tverskaya Street - 15 Mokhovaya Street, Moscow 125009, Russia (Presnensky). Less than expected. The location is perfect, right in front of red square. Service is adequate but not the white glove you would expect from a "Luxury Collection" property. Breakfast is ridiculously expensive (US$50 per person) so unless it is included and you don't want to pay additional US$100 per couple each day just to have breakfast, you may have to have a very basic breakfast at the cafe which is also expensive (US$20 per person) and they charge when you want an extra cup of coffee.
The decoration is outdated, pictures hanging on the wall of mediocre quality. There are better options in Moscow.
Cafe Pushkin. Tverskoy bulvar, 26A, Moscow 103009, RussiaWonderful fantasy. This is my second visit (after 1.5 years) and it is still spectacular. The decoration, service, and food are fantastic. Our waiter suggested a round of special vodkas after dinner (of course to increase the price but well worth it!), and they were amazing. It is a bit of a "tourist trap" but it doesn't matter, the experience is incomparable.
In St. Petersburg, we stayed at the Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria. Bolshaya Morskaya, 39, St. Petersburg 190000, Russia (Admiralty Building). One of the best hotels in the world. Finally a hotel in which "perfection" has been achieved. Everything is extraordinary: location, service, food, and ambiance. More importantly, attention to detail. The rooms are very large and comfortable, and the service during breakfast (which is excellent, including caviar) is without comparison. If you can get a good deal, there is no other place to stay in St. Petersburg. We would go back just for the pleasure of staying there.
Wolkonsky. 8 Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg 197046, RussiaVery nice cafe in the hart of St. Petersburg. This is a clean and nice please with excellent service and high quality pastries, coffee, etc. A great choice for a quick breakfast, coffee, or light lunch. Great atmosphere and decoration. Highly recommended.
Mansarda Restaurant. 3-5 Pochtamtskaya street | Business Center Quattro Conti, 6th floor, St. Petersburg 190000, Russia. Excellent and trendy with fantastic views. This is a beautiful "chic" restaurant, with contemporary decoration, excellent service, and fantastic views of St. Petersburg because is on a 7th floor. It is for locals, so you won’t find it in many guides; for the same reason (they cater to customers that return often), the quality is fantastic. Highly recommended.
Cafe Singer. 28 Nevsky Prospect | 2nd Floor of bookstore, St. Petersburg, Russia. Great view, nice old fashioned café. It is on top of a bookstore and has good service and typical Russian fare, of high quality. Decorated with old fashion taste. The view of the Cathedral is beautiful. A bit expensive or a cafe but well worth it.