Best for splashing the cash: Moscow

Russia is in the throes of the coldest winter in a long while, and that, by any standard, is cold. Across Moscow, locals scuttle from A to B avoiding the huge phallic icicles which jut into the street from the spouts of drainpipes. At the doors to the metro, babushkas in headcarves and battered furs hunch against the bitter wind, begging for pennies. And, all the while, just a few paces away, Russia's super-rich are proving their impunity to these testing conditions.

Day and night, chauffeur-driven Hummers deposit the capital's élite – dressed in little more than fine Italian suits and shiny mini-skirts – at the doors of the blingest hotspots in town. Breezing past bouncers who keep out the riff-raff with a strict "face-control" policy, once inside they routinely blow hundreds if not thousands of pounds on vintage champagne and tiny sushi canapés, without so much as a blink. And this trend for lavish spending is catching on, as the international-jetsetting crowd touch down in Russia's glitziest city.

If evidence were needed that times have changed here for the globe-trotting holiday-maker, just head to the Ritz-Carlton on one of the city's main strips. From 1970 to 2002, 3 Tverskaya was the site of the old Soviet landmark, the Intourist hotel – a vast grey carbuncle where travellers, drawn by the music, the ballet, the paintings, and the complex political history of this land, were met with temperamental heating units, bugged phones and notoriously po-faced staff. Today, following a $350m renovation, the same spot is home to an altogether more discerning crowd. Beyond the revolving doors, they recline in the lavish gold-plated foyer, reclining in thrones, swigging 1964 Château Petrus for the princely sum of $6,800 (£4,200) a bottle, or paying a more kingly $35,000 for a bottle of 1907 Heidsieck & Co Monopole Champagne. If you, too, want to kick back with the It-Crowd, a night's stay here will set you back from $1,000 to $16,000. But in return, you can expect more gadgets, remotes and general stuff in your private suite than you could possibly know what to do with. If – like Barack Obama, a recent guest – you fancy the Presidential Suite, you can expect bullet-proof windows and a steel-lined panic room overlooking the Kremlin, too.

But how to pass the time, when you're not enjoying room service in front of your LCD? By day, the super-tourist heads not to the Russian-doll stalls outside Lenin's tomb, but to the chandelier-bedecked halls of the Gum shopping mall, to pick out their souvenirs. The savvy art enthusiast sniffs in the face of the famed Russian Academy of Arts – and peruses instead the pricey wall-candy at Garage, the trendy gallery belonging to Dacha Zhukova, the wife of Roman Abramovich.

Finally, one can hardly do Moscow without the "authentic Russian experience". So, put any thought of a morning vodka at one of the supposed KGB haunts around Pushkin Square firmly out of your pretty head, and opt instead for the super-swish 02 Lounge overlooking St Basil's, where the seats are made of crushed metal and vodka is doled out from an ice-bar – with an adjoining Audi showroom – on the roof. Once suitably refreshed, bypass the Bolshoi, long considered the epicentre of Moscow night-life. For the modern thrill-seeker points his ride towards one of the bars which from early evening until the wee hours come alive with pop-techno beats and Lycra-clad, plasticated ladies of the night. After that, you'll be glad to retreat to your room, where, for a mere £125, a "bath butler" will pop special herbs into your sunken marble tub and leave you to lay back with a cognac and cigar. Isn't life grand?

Visit ritzcarlton.com or phone 007 495 225 8888

Bling breaks

# There are few places to match Las Vegas right now for glitz. Out go theme-park-style hotels and in comes the new City Center ( citycenter.com ), an $8bn development with smart hotels, spas, a high-end mall (Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, Bulgari, etc) and even a restaurant owned by Desperate Housewives' Eva Longoria-Parker. Ker-ching!

# With nightclub charges now more expensive than plane tickets, Ibiza is increasingly the party isle for the select few. If you haven't hired a private finca in the hinterland, book into the haute-luxe Hotel Hacienda ( hotelhacienda-ibiza.com ) or the modernist Villa Roca ( villarocaibiza.com ) and ask the concierge to sort the guest list at Pacha.

# Park the mega-yacht in St Tropez marina and pop over to Pampelonne beach for some serious posturing. Stop into Club 55 to hire your €100 sun lounger for lunch on the sand, then head to Voile Rouge for cocktails before spending the night clacking your Manolos at Byblos. ot-saint-tropez.com

# St Barts is the Caribbean's bling hub. Book the 1930s Garbo suite at the Eden Rock hotel, take your bikini for a spin along Baie de St Jean, dine at lauded L'Isola and sip rum at the B4 Lounge. uk.franceguide.com

# The glitziest of Indian Ocean jewels, the St Geran in Mauritius comes with a casino, an Alain Ducasse restaurant, Givenchy spa and pair of wedge sandals specially designed by Christian Louboutin. See oneandonlyresorts.com

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This airport parking organisation are looking...

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project