mt business travel: Frequent flyer - Michael Cuthbert's guide to Moscow

HOW TO GET THERE: BA runs two flights a day, at 9am and 12.30pm. It takes about four hours. Aeroflot also has a perfectly good service - the business class is actually better than BA's, and it offers a morning return flight.

by Michael Cuthbert, Moscow office managing partner, CliffordChance
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

AIRPORT TO TOWN: Immigration at Domodedovo Airport is very modern and speedy. There's only one train an hour to town, so most people get a driver. It'll cost you $50-$60 to get into the centre. The traffic is appalling - the Moscow streets are said to be seeing 500 new cars a day.

BEST HOTELS: The hotel sector is thriving, and there are some major openings coming up, including the Ritz-Carlton later this year. For now, the best is the Ararat Park Hyatt 1 (4 Neglinnaya St, +7 501 783 1234, www.moscow.park.hyatt.com) by the Bolshoi Theatre. It's very modern, has an excellent health centre and a great bar on the 10th floor. For imperial grandeur, try the Hotel National 2 (Ul Mokhovaya 1, 495 258 7000, www.national.ru) overlooking Red Square. The traditional options are the Marriott Aurora 3 (Petrovka St-Bld 11/20, 495 937 1000, www.marriott.com), which has the best steak in Moscow, and the Kempinski 4 (Ul Balchug 1, 501 230 5500, www.kempinski-moscow.com).

BEST BUSINESS RESTAURANTS: Food here is very cosmopolitan - light years away from the image of Russian borscht. You can expect to pay £80 a head for a meal with wine. One of the hottest restaurants is the Galereya 5 (Petrovka Ul 27, 095 937 4544), but you can also get very modern, very trendy and very good food at the Vogue Cafe 6 (7/9 Kuznetsky Most, 095 923 1701) and the Cantinetta Antinori 7 (20 Denezhny Per, 095 241 3325). Try Cafe Pushkin 8 (Tverskoy Bulvar 26a, 095 229 5590) for traditional Russian food.

BEST CAFES AND BARS: Cafe culture is developing and Moscow has first-rate nightclubs, such as First, as well as others I'm too old to know about. In fashionable Moscow, people don't tend to drink to excess, and the image of people throwing vodka down is long gone. They try to take care of themselves, drinking fruit juices or water.

A FEW HOURS TO KILL? The subway can be intimidating, as it uses the Russian alphabet exclusively, and the embryonic taxi system is quite expensive. The cheapest way to get around is to stop a car by sticking your hand out and negotiate a price. Visit the Kremlin and Red Square 9, the Red October chocolate factory 10 and the KGB museum 11. Go out to Moscow State University for views of the city. In winter, skiing is only 40-50km away - it's not massive, but there are slopes you can slide down.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE: Lots of business is conducted in English, but your counterparts will speak Russian when they can. Meetings are formal and efficient. The hierarchical nature of businesses can be a shock - decision-making takes a somewhat different path. Women are very smart, and you may see people in black jackets and black polonecks emerging from Bentleys. This is the dress of the Russian elite - the rest of us are still in suit and tie.

SECRETS OF THE JET SET: Moscow isn't terribly restrained or refined - it's boomtime and it shows. The Russians tend to pull down their old architecture at the drop of a hat, and there are lots of new developments that won't look too pretty in 10 years' time. Pickpockets are rife, so keep your valuables close. If you're flagging down a car, get in only if there's just one person inside, not three or four. A few years ago, people would get driven to the outskirts, roughed up and robbed. Lastly, bring tough shoes in winter, as it's dirty and icy. It's much easier in summer.

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