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Number of Five-Star Hotels Set to Double Within a Year

Published: December 6, 2005 (Issue # 1128)


Intercontinental and Ramada are the latest international hotel operators to announce their arrival on the St. Petersburg market next year, while Rezidor SAS also signaled further expansion, Maxim Sokolov, chairman of the city committee for investment and strategic projects, was quoted by Interfax as saying.

“Intercontinental is at the moment in negotiations with those investors who have already started constructing hotels but are yet to find an operator,” Sokolov said.

St. Petersburg already has five 5-star hotels – Grand Hotel Europe, Astoria, Nevskij Palace, Radisson SAS and Emerald.

Earlier this month Raffles International announced the opening of a 5-star business-class hotel in the city by 2007 under the brand Swissotel, while the Renaissance construction firm plans to build a 5-star hotel by the end of next year with the financial backing of Indonesian company Sampoerna.

French operator Accor, which opened a 4-star Novotel in the center of St. Petersburg this year, has already announced the construction of 3-star Ibis and 5-star Sofitel.

According to Sokolov, the international operator Hilton has been interested in coming to St. Petersburg for a long time.

“This operator first held talks about a possible hotel in 1996. At that time they thought the local market was too small. Now any move is hampered by high prices and the lack of central locations suitable for development,” Sokolov said.

Nikita Savoyarov, an expert at the Russian Tourism Industry Union said that the local market is suitable for opening new hotels and Intercontinental, Ramada and Hilton could easily launch projects in the city.

“They are world brands. The process of globalization means hot locations are more important than short-term profits and other economic figures. And St. Petersburg is the eighth most attractive tourist destination according to UNESCO,” Savoyarov said.

According to Ernst & Young, the average occupancy of 5-star hotels in St. Petersburg was only 64 percent last year while in Moscow this figure was 77 percent.

Savoyarov said that transnational corporations could cover losses with profits earned from business in other countries, thereby sustaining 10-years’ worth of investment in a five-star hotel project.

As for factors that prevent the arrival of international operators in St. Petersburg, Savoyarov said that there were several.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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