There is no clear story of where does the name Arbat come from but almost everyone has come to an agreement that it has an Oriental origin.
Here you will see some legendary Soviet buildings such as the Praga restaurant (the most expensive 'elite' restaurant in Soviet Moscow), the Moscow Book Store that used to be the largest bookstore in the USSR, and the Oktyabr Movie Theater built in 1967 and named after the Revolution. All three operate to this day and continue to hold their leading positions.
New Arbat Avenue has recently undergone reconstruction to become 'more pedestrian'. The sidewalks have become wider and there have appeared a lot of sitting areas. Note the 150-meter-long wooden bench (it's not like you can miss it)!
Naturally, there is no shortage of cafes and restaurants in the area. There are also many hotels around such as Marriott, Lotte or Radisson Royal Moscow, as well as more budget options. New Arbat is a good place to stay for your visit in Moscow. Apart from being the home to many interesting sites, it provides easy access to the rest of the city by means of Smolenskya and Arbatskya metro stations.