Opened in 1871, this was Viareggio's first hotel, playing host to those on the Grand Tour. Its odd name (Hotel Plaza and "of Russia") is due to the fact that, at the turn of two centuries ago, many Russians made extended stays here. The place had a major renovation in the 1990s, and though it still exudes Old World charm, it's been completely updated to suit 21st-century tastes. Public rooms filled with lovely brocaded furniture provide the perfect place to have an aperitivo.
Guest rooms have high ceilings, large windows with damask drapes, and hard-wood floors; bathrooms are surprisingly large. La Terrazza, the restaurant on the top floor, has views of the sea and a creative young chef whose innovative, tasty food makes a stay here even more worthwhile.