Moscow counts five hotels that have been in operation for more than 100 years: the Metropol, the National, the Savoy, the Baltschug Kempinski and the Budape...st. Foreign dignitaries and high-profile politicians usually stay at the first two: the Hotel National or the Metropol.
While tumultuous historical events played out across the 20th century, the Hotel Metropol occasionally served as the setting for a number of more curious occurrences.
Chaliapin's peasant song
On October 17, 1905, Tsar Nicholas II, Russia’s final emperor, signed the Manifesto on the Improvement of the State Order, which granted new and democratic freedoms to the Russian people. On the following day, liberal Muscovites gathered to celebrate the occasion at the Metropol restaurant. The party was marked by the presence of Feodor Chaliapin, the renowned opera singer.
Bernard Shaw and the most charming widow
In 1931, the Metropol welcomed the playwright Bernard Shaw. The author openly expressed his affection for Soviet Russia, which was closed to foreign visitors at the time. He wanted to explore "the ideal state" first hand. During breakfast at the hotel, Shaw declared that he had to pay his respects at Lenin's coffin right away. Having done that, he went on to visit Nadezhda Krupskaya, Lenin's widow, later referring to her as "the most charming widow in the world."
How Mao lured Stalin out of the Kremlin
In 1950, the Hotel Metropol opened its doors to Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese revolution. On the occasion of the signing of a Soviet-Chinese treaty, Mao offered to throw a banquet at the hotel restaurant. The Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was not used to visiting embassies or restaurants and would have preferred the banquet to take place at the Kremlin. However, Mao insisted on holding the reception at a hotel, so Stalin eventually agreed to dine 400 meters outside the Kremlin walls.
At the Metropol, the Soviet leader gave a speech and played a game of chess with Mao. Historians are still in the dark as to who won the game in question. Natural preservation would have kept that fact under wraps!!!