Russian Federation Travel Guide
While we were hoping for a late 2012 opening when we had a first look at some of its photos, things rarely go our way like that in a world of hotel delays, but reservations for Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace in St. Petersburg have now finally started for arrivals from August 1 this year. And as a bonus, the group has confirmed the long in the works Four Seasons Moscow, due later in 2013 right next to the capital’s Red Square, as well.
Dating back to the early 19th century, Four Seasons Lion Palace started its life as an apartment building for the city’s elite, and was famous enough in its day to be captured by Alexander Pushkin in 1833 in his poem The Bronze Horseman.
We've mentioned how expensive hotel rooms can get, especially in Moscow. Where luxury hotels like the Ritz-Carlton can fetch upwards of $17,000 per night for a super flashy suite, it makes sense for an affordable hotel to come to the city center and give options to the masses. Enter, Sleepbox Hotel Moscow, the city's first capsule-style accommodation.
It's not the first Russian capsule hotel, but it is the first in the high-priced city. Sleepbox opened up it's first trial capsules in Moscow Airport ready for long layovers and weary travelers. Now, the boxes have come downtown to one of Moscow's most vibrant areas forming a hostel-like hotel of multiple pods.
Opened last month, the Sleepboxes offers small 'semi-self-contained' boxes that come in various sizes from single, twin, double and a family right in the heart of the Tverskoy District. Each 'room' comes with a TV, free WiFi and unlimited use of the hotel's iPads.
Starting rates of 2,600 Rubles ($86 USD) per night for a twin capsule with bunkbeds is affordable enough for those that are backpacking through the region or even hipster travelers that want a new experience on a dime. If you're traveling with a family and need to reserve some Rubles, the family capsule goes for 4,900 Rubles ($162 USD) per night.
The area is known for a wealth of history, so this place might be the best option for you and your Comrades if you would rather spend your money at the Bolshoi Theatre or other neighborhood culture. And if Sleepbox hopping is your thing, the airport is only 35 minutes from the main train station just a few blocks away.
[Photo: Sleepbox Moscow Facebook]
When it comes to the Olympic Games, historically hotels raise rates because of a little something called supply and demand. We witnessed this in London this past summer. For the next Olympics, we might see reasonable rates coming from Sochi hotels during the 2014 Winter Games.
To make event accessible to more people, Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian Prime Minister, has capped the prices of rooms for the host city for next year's Olympics and Paralympics. With just about one year to go and about double the amount of rooms yet to be built, this is welcome news for those who want to join in the wonderment that is the Games.
In the past, hotels have charged as much as 157,000 RUB ($5,139 USD) for a one night stay, the new reduced prices are roughly 30-40% less than room rates during the port city's peak periods. A deluxe suite in a 5-star hotel will be no more than 13,896 RUB ($455 USD per night) and in 4-star properties the price will come in less than 13,148 RUB ($430) per night.
Delano Hotels are not joking around with their expansion plans. After announcing Delano Marrakech which opens next month and the Delano Las Vegas which will open at the end of the year, the Delano has now gone public with their plans for Delano MOSCOW.
Morgans Hotel Group’s newest Delano will be part of The Capital Group’s OKO project within Moscow City, a new development that will offer premium spaces designed for luxury living, business and entertainment. An example of innovative urbanism presented by American architectural bureau SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill), OKO will also feature an 85-story skyscraper and a 49-story office tower that soar from a 7-story single transparent crystalline structure at the base of the complex.
Plans for Delano Moscow include 160 beautifully appointed guest rooms, extensive fine dining and nightlife outlets and top-of-the-line hotel facilities and guest amenities.
The hotel will open in 2015. But Delano ain't done yet.
Though we managed a quick report on the opening of W St. Petersburg in 2011, we haven't since heard too much, hotel-wise, from the land of the tsars. But buzz is starting to build around the Four Seasons St. Petersburg, which is housed inside a 19th century Russian palace.
The hotel's website is up and running, complete with photos of the rooms, but it's a bit of a tease, as an actual opening date has been pushed back to "late-2012," and reservations remain closed.
It's almost like Christmas came very early for us at HotelChatter because a very generous tipster sent us these sneak peeks of the InterContinental Moscow which will officially open on December 5, although it has been accepting guests for the past month.
Our tipster did let us know he was "invited" to spend some nights in the hotel but we think his "review" is still pretty objective. He writes:
Hotel has very central location (main shopping street, 10 min from Red Square). Design is very modern with classic Russian elements. Standard rooms are not very spacious but comfortable with fantastic bed and mirror TV in bathroom. Restaurant food are quality prepared but not outstanding (may be they will improve it later). From my point a view (I live in Moscow) Intercontinental is the best place to stay in Russian capital now...maybe situation will change after Hyatt renovation completion in summer 2012.
Another day, another glamorous new hotel to fantasize about visiting. This time it's in Moscow where the city's iconic Pekin Hotel will be rebranded as the Fairmont Pekin Moscow after an extensive multi-year renovation.
The hotel was initially built in 1955 by Dimity Chechulin, one of the Soviet Union's most famous architects and it sits at the junction of the Garden Ring and Triumfalnaya Square.
Chechulin also designed the Moscow's White House, one of the Seven Sisters buildings and four Metro Stations. Therefore, the hotel's historic façade and internal spaces will be restored and repeated in other parts of the building. Also, the Chinese motifs found in the hotel will be highlighted to "to emphasize the period design of the property" but also perhaps to please the growing Chinese hotel guest population?
The "world's biggest hotel family" just got a little bigger. The Phoenix, Arizona-based mega franchise recently opened Best Western Vega Hotel & Convention Centre in Russia—the largest Best Western so far, out of 4,000 hotels worldwide in 95 countries.
Comprised of 970 rooms, the hotel was actually built for the 1980 summer olympics, but got remodeled in 2007. Certainly this will provide a welcome low-budget alternative to the extravagances of certain other Moscow hotels. But if we remember correctly, Holiday Inn was also planning to open their largest hotel in Moscow too. Oh, the indecision.
A few weeks ago, The W St. Petersburg in Russia finally opened and thanks to a very friendly tipster, we've got an inside look at some of the public spaces and a guest room.
Given that W Hotels have missed the mark a few times in the last couple of years as far as design (W Boston, W London), we're quite relieved to see that this W is just downright pretty. We particularly love the cozy warmth of the Living Room and the kailedoscope lights that hang from the ceiling in the guestroom. But the TV stand is a little funky and there may be a bit of an anti-view.
But how is it actually spending the night here? Our tipster reports back:
The hotel is fantastic! Design is cool, stuff are very professional (which are not typical for the new hotels especially in Russia). Everything is opened now (Bliss, Restaurant, Bar). The roof top terrace (the best part of the hotel with unforgettable view will be opened in June). Unfortunately there is no W party mood now but I hope they will change it soon. The worst thing is the price - from 600 USD for wonderful room.
We’ve been so obsessed with the weird shower curtain headboards and the did-they-didn’t-they celeb hookup of W London that our attention has wandered from the The W St. Petersburg recently, but with the Russki hotel nearing completion, we’re swiveling our heads back eastwards.
Last time we checked, the hotel was claiming an opening date of March 1, although it wouldn’t let you stay until April 1. And now, they’ve pushed it back further still: the website is now broadcasting an opening date of April 20.
We've been spending too much time worrying about the opening of W London we nearly forgot about The W St. Petersburg. But thanks to our handy Master List of Worldwide Openings for 2011, we were reminded to see how this property was doing.
The good news? The opening date is still set for March 1. And you can even make reservations. The bad news is rooms don't really open until April 1.
We found rooms from April 1-3 for 8100 Rubles a night which is about $268. Not bad! Sadly, internet is still 750 rubles for 24 hours which works out to be $25 a day.
Moscow in December wouldn't exactly be our first choice for a giant fashion party celebrating photographs of nude models, but then we aren't Karl Lagerfeld. The stiff-collared fashion designer held court at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow earlier this week while promoting one of his other talents: photography. Lagerfeld again shot the Pirelli Calendar, his 2011 edition of which features more nudes than ever, including actress Julianne Moore.
So why Moscow? Pirelli is an Italian tire company, the calendar's theme is Greek Mythology, and the stars of the photographs are of an international assortment. Hmm...perhaps it was all just a great excuse to wear the giant Yeti-like fur coats that Lagerfeld designed for Chanel's Fall/Winter 2010 collection? The temperature outside did hover slightly above 0 degrees Fahrenheit, after all.