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One more hotel to add to our OPENING THIS MONTH list!
“What’s with the French?” you may ask. Well, Kempinski is bringing a bit of grand Paris to Moscow with the opening of the palace-like Hotel Nikol'skaya in the centre of Russia’s capital, the company’s second hotel in the city.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Bolshoi Theatre, Duma and the famous GUM department store, the hotel was formerly the residence of Count Orlov-Davydov until the early 1900s and also used to house the Koeller perfumery and many fine chocolate shops. After six years of restoration by Leo International Design Group (architects of several Shangri-Las and Le Meridiens in China and Thailand), the hotel has opened its grand doors with 211 rooms and suites, six—count ‘em—six restaurants and bars, a spa, fitness center and five meeting rooms.
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]
Time for a quick look back at some hotel figures, facts and trends from the past year...like, which big cities rocked it in 2012? A new study by HRG looks at the average hotel rates around the world. Here are five things we noticed:
Moscow is the most expensive city for hotel rooms for the, ahem, ninth year in a row. The average daily rate in 2012 was $427 a night, compared to $349 a night in New York City, $302 in San Francisco, and $279 in Washington D.C.
Speaking of our Nation's Capital, guess what? It had the largest rate of decline in the world. Uh oh! The average rate of stay fell 14% in 2012 -- which surprises the hell out of us considering it was an election year. Here we thought the political circus was attracting tourists and business events, but it appears it was pushing them away in reality.
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.
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.
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.
After posing for some media photo opps on the rooftop of the luxury hotel--which is actually where the hotel's sushi restaurant and spa are located--Jolie headed to Moscow's Oktyabr cinema for the official movie premiere. (BTW, have you seen the (appropriately) red Versace dress she wore? Stunning.)
Now we're not 100 percent certain, but we think Jolie spent the night at the Ritz as well. And if she did, then we're certain they put her up in the Ritz-Carlton Suite
Talk about mixing cultures. The Shangri-La Hotels group has just signed a deal to create its first-ever Russian property, a 400-room hotel in Moscow. And with the deal involving an agreement with the China Huaming International Investment Corporation, there's a real Chinese theme going on with it.
The hotel whose official name seems to have not been released yet will be on the top floors of the Park Huaming Business Centre in the north-east corner of Moscow, about six miles from central Red Square (shown). Many of the rooms will have views over the Chinese-landscaped gardens in the complex; and as for dining, guests will be able to choose between a Russian and a Chinese restaurant (We're thinking Chinese for the food and Russian for the drinks?)
Expected opening date is not until 2012 so we'll get some more details before then, but we imagine that even keeping it out of the super-expensive central area of Moscow won't make it any cheaper. Fancy hotels in Moscow are simply expensive, no matter what and this one surely won't be any different. But at least it will have free WiFi.
[Photo of Red Square: gmetrail]
Hot on the heels of Hilton announcing the launch of its new luxury lifestyle brand at a rather unfortunate time for luxury hotels, incidentally Intercontinental Hotels Group has announced plans to build the world's largest Holiday Inn in Russia.
IHG inked a deal with Crocus Group to develop the massive Holiday Inn with 1K rooms in Moscow, which comes as welcome news at a time where many folks feel that what the world really needs now are budget hotels (sweet budget hotels) and not so many luxury properties.
According to the press release:
Under the historic 20 year management contract, construction is scheduled to start on the 1,000 bedroom hotel in 2011 with the hotel set to open in 2014. It will be located in Crocus City in the rapidly developing Krasnogorsk area of Moscow.
It's difficult to believe anyone has their sights set on opening up a hotel with such a staggering volume of rooms in this economic climate, but we're hoping things will be better by 2014 and we're thinkin' budget hotels have a much better shot than luxury ones.
Hilton's first Russian hotel opened in mid-2008 after they refurbished the Hotel Leningradskaya; more grandly, the PR describes the building as "one of the historic Seven Sisters skyscrapers." And it's true that the exterior of this place looks kind of palatial.
Inside, according to the NYT, it's not exactly fitted out for royalty but it's satisfyingly good with lots of "soothing wood" in the décor. The service was a bit varied and the reviewer was especially unhappy with the omelets he ordered for a room service breakfast, but we figure if an oddly-made omelet features as one of his biggest complaints, the whole experience can't have been too bad.
One of the reasons the Moscow Hilton isn't as exorbitantly priced as some of the city's other haunts is probably its distance from the city, so don't expect to be reaching the Kremlin on foot from here. Nearby: A "rough" crowd and three train stations. Negotiate these at your peril.
[Photo: NY Times]