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Russia on the RiseJuly 27, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox Travel Agent
The furnishings and decor of Hotel Lotte Moscow’s Royal Suite are inspired by Russian antiques
Russia—and Moscow and St. Petersburg, in particular—has become a hotbed for hotels lately, and the hospitality industry there seems poised to bloom. Shangri-La will be opening a property in Moscow in 2012, and Mandarin Oriental is planning to open an “upside-down” hotel there a year earlier. Here are some luxury properties in Russia that your clients can enjoy now.
The Radisson Royal Moscow opened in December in one of Moscow’s historical “Seven Sisters” skyscrapers and we hear the Ambassador Suite is the most sought-after accommodation at the hotel. It has a private bar, a deep-soaking tub, amenities from Penhaligon’s and free access to the spa and fitness center.
The Business Suite, with a king-size bed and separate living room, is best for families and groups. A connecting bedroom is also an option for larger families or groups.
For VIPs, ask for the 1,200-square-foot Presidential Suite. It has two bedrooms, living room, full kitchen, dining room and views of the Russian White House and Moscow skyline.
Nice perk: Presidential Suite guests get private express check-in, two complimentary laundry items per stay and access to the Executive Lounge. For long-term stays, the property has 38 fully furnished apartments with all the services of a hotel in addition to personal concierge service.
The Royal Wellness Club has plenty of facilities to help guests relax, including a 164-foot heated indoor pool, a Turkish bath, Finnish sauna, fully equipped gym, beauty parlor and massage rooms. Guests can book a day or an hour in advance, but walk-ins are also welcome. (We hear the cosmetology services and Thai massages are popular.) Spa treatments can be booked through the spa’s direct line (011-7-495-786-7099).
The hotel has five restaurants to choose from: The Tatler Club is an international fusion restaurant created by Chef Arkady Novikov, a well-known Russian restaurateur with more than 40 dining establishments to his name. Veranda specializes in contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, Farsi has an exotic Iranian menu and Bono serves Italian specialties. On the hotel’s 31st floor, guests can dine at Takasa, an upscale Japanese restaurant, and tipple (and sing!) at Trubadur lounge and karaoke, which has great views of the city.
For something fun to do while in town, the hotel organizes culinary boat tours on the Moskva River. The property owns a small fleet of exclusively designed river yachts that can be reserved for two-hour, private excursions through Moscow’s central historical district.
Travel agents can contact Head Concierge Andrey Korystov (011-7-963-719-7188) with any special requests.
The Lotte Hotel Moscow—amember of Leading Hotels of the World—is in its soft-opening phase. With just a few weeks under its belt, we hear that the Charlotte Suites (#643, #911, #1031), Presidential Suite (#913) and the Royal Suite (#1000) are the best rooms to book.
We hear the furniture in the suites is gorgeous, custom designed to reflect Russian antiques and made out of Sapelli Mahogany and Dark Emperador marble. They also have handmade crystal ceiling fixtures, and bathrooms in the larger suites have free-standing baths. There’s strong buzz about the hotel’s restaurants already, especially Les Menus, a French restaurant by three-star Michelin chef Pierre Gagnaire.
Chief Concierge Alexander Lyamin ([email protected]; 011-7-495-745-1000) can take care of just about any request (we hear Mikoyan aircraft flights are popular). Travel agents can contact Director of Sales Elena Chukova (011-7-495-287-0505, [email protected]).
On the Horizon
In March 2011, the W St. Petersburg will open with 137 guest rooms, including four W Suites, three Fantastic Suites, two WOW Suites and one Extreme WOW Suite. And if nothing else, the location is ideal: The hotel will be next to St. Isaac’s Cathedral, near the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum, and a short stroll from the Neva River.
Agents can contact General Manager Peter Katusak-Huzsvar ([email protected]).
Another way to explore Russia—and to see more than just the main cities—is to take a river cruise along the Volga or one of the many rivers that run through the country. “Most visitors would just visit Moscow or St. Petersburg or both, but there are a number of interesting riverside towns and villages that are rarely visited any other way,” says Julie Rosoff of Viking River Cruises.
Guests can spend multiple days in Moscow and St. Petersburg to see all of the noted sights—such as Red Square, the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Hermitage and Pushkin—with included guided tours each day. Then, once the ship sails, they will discover a variety of destinations with included tours each day. Sights along the river include an open-air museum (of wooden architecture) on Kizhi Island, Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in Goritzy, the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl and Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood in Uglich.
To help guests get their visas to Russia (which has a reputation for being a tedious process), Viking uses a third-party visa service that provides a kit with all the instructions the visitors may need. It’s as easy as filling out the form, attaching two photos and payment for the visa, and mailing them with the passport.