While checking-in to The Hotel Metropol in Moscow, I could not help but think of the protagonist, The Count, in Amor Towles's best-selling novel, A Gentleman in Moscow. I had locked-up my home door behind me some 26 hours earlier—and I was more than a little fried from the very long journey (on three cramped airplanes, through four bustling airports). Nevertheless, I was invigorated by the historic hotel's warm Art Nouveau interior—and fell in love with the original period brass chandeliers which hovered over the storied lobby. In my mind's eye, I could picture The Count, seated in the corner of that very lobby (partially hidden by a potted palm), silently observing the object of his desire, the film star Anna Urbanova, as she crossed the lobby, unaware of his very presence.
Although the novel's fictional Count was imprisoned in this elegant hotel, I made very good use of the front door—repeatedly plunging myself into the frigid (14º F) weather to walk, to explore and to sightsee. Over the next several days, I will share some of my favorite sights with you—whether or not they relate to the novel, The Count or to the Art Nouveau period.
Interestingly, the author Amor Towles (and his wife, Maggie) were both customers in my Greenwich Village store which added even more romance and nostalgia to my trip to Moscow—and my wonderful week in the elegant hotel which he described so intriguingly.
More from Moscow tomorrow.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248