This iconic Soviet-era hotel, which opened in 1956 to honor the friendship between Russia and China, is a little piece of the USSR in central Moscow. The hotel kept its Soviet atmosphere throughout the turbulent 1990s, when it became a popular meeting spot for mafia bosses, and even through renovations in the luxury-driven decade that followed. The rooms feature Stalin-era luxury—3.5-meter (11.5 foot) ceilings, huge windows, and lacquered parquet floors with Persian carpets. The hotel bar is all white, and ironically, the restaurant downstairs serves American food. Internet is slow and the service recalls the Soviets, surly guards and all. The location, however, is great, with the Kremlin, Tverskaya street, and other central sights a short walk away. And prices are cheaper than many other hotels in the area.