Studying metal ion solvation, especially hydration, in the gas phase has developed into a field that is dominated by a tight interaction between experiment and theory. Since the studied species carry charge, mass spectrometry is an indispensable tool in all experiments. Whereas gas-phase coordination chemistry and reactions of bare metal ions are reasonably well understood, systems containing a larger number of solvent molecules are still difficult to understand. This review focuses on the rich chemistry of hydrated metal ions in the gas phase, covering coordination chemistry, charge separation in multiply charged systems, as well as intracluster and ion-molecule reactions. Key ideas of metal ion solvation in the gas phase are illustrated with rare-gas solvated metal ions. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spectrom. Rev.