Moscow often tops rankings of the world's most expensive hotels, so if you feel like splashing out on some serious luxury there are plenty of places to chose from. From the classic grandeur of the Metropol to more contemporary hotels like Swisshotel Krasny Holmy, it is a great city to live the high life. At the lower end of the price range, you could be in for more of a retro-Soviet experience than you bargained for. Hotel prices can seem like they've been plucked out of mid air and fail to reflect standards of decor, cleanliness and service. But accomodation doesn't have to ruin your trip, and as long as you are flexible about location if you are on a tight budget, you should find something to suit you.
In terms of location, anything within the inner ring road is considered central Moscow, and accomodation located here will give you good access to most major sites. If you are only in Moscow for a short time and want to see the major sites, accomodation on Tverskaya street is a good option, close to Red Square and the Bolshoi Theatre.
Things to consider before booking
It is worth considering easy access to whichever airport or train station you are arriving at or departing from. Fast trains run to Sheremetyevo airport from Moscow's northern Belorussky station, and to Domodedovo airport from the Southern Paveletsky station, trains to Vnukovo airport, which largely serves domestic flights, run from Kievsky train station. most trains to St. Petersburg depart from Leningradsky station, near Komsomolskaya metro station.
If you are on a tight budget or fancy staying further out from central Moscow, as long as your accomodation is close to a metro station, you should be able to navigate your way around without too much trouble.
Most foreigners need a visa to visit Russia. This requires an invitation letter from an organisation or individual in the country which you then submit to your nearest embassy along with your passport and a completed application form. The good news is most hotels will send you an invitation letter when you book. When you've submitted your documents it should take one to five working days to process, with fees varying depending on how quickly you need it. Bear in mind that visa offices may follow Russian rather than local public holidays, so double check processing times when you apply. If you are not planning on staying in a hotel, you can buy an invitation letter relatively cheaply from http://www.napoleonhostel.com/visainvitation.php
Upon arrival foreigners staying in Moscow for more than three days need to register with local authorities. Hotels will take care of this for you when you check in. Most hostels will do the same thing. If you plan to stay with friends, some hostels, such as Napoleon, will register you there for a small fee.
Early summer and early autumn are the most pleasant times to visit Moscow. The city can get very cold in the winter. January temperatures average around minus 7 degrees celsius, but it can get as cold as minus 40. If you do want to see some of the Russian winter, the run up to New Year, Russians' biggest holiday, is a nice time to visit. In the last week of December temperatures are usually manageable and the city is heavily decorated, with outdoor ice skating rinks dotted around the city and theatres running full programmes. Most of the summer months can be pleasant, but it is perhaps best to avoid August, when temperatures can get extremely hot.