Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Sister Becomes a Hilton

Stalin Skyscraper Will Morph Into a Hilton

Nope, nothing to do with Paris Hilton or her sister. One of the "Seven Sisters" is about to become a Hilton hotel. Leningradskaya (Ленинградская) Hotel recently entered an agreement with Hilton International. It will make the soon-to-be-renovated Leningradskaya Hotel the first Hilton in Moscow (up to 12 are planned). Hilton is one of the last major hotel chains to make its way into Moscow, having botched up several other deals in the past.
Stephane Meyrat, associate director at Colliers International, said the hotel would probably ask for $250 to $280 per night, but its proximity to three railway stations was not ideal. The hotel is located near Kazansky, Yaroslavsky and Leningradsky stations. Meyrat also said Hilton probably would have preferred to have secured a management contract, allowing the company to operate the hotel, rather than the franchising contract. "But Hilton has been under pressure to show something," he said.

Collini said Hilton's impetus to move into Russia was prompted by the unification of Hilton Group, which had run the brand's North American hotels, and Hilton International, which oversaw operations in the rest of the world. "It's been the platform for aggressive development plans," he said.

Hilton's further plans for Russia include up to 12 hotels in Moscow, six in St. Petersburg and at least one in every city with more than 300,000 people in the next three to five years, Collini said.

Hilton is the last international heavyweight to enter Russia, and it is all but certain to find success in a city with a severe shortage of hotel rooms. "The interiors of the hotel are practically exotic," said Marina Usenko, senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels in Moscow. "There's a certain spirit there. It's almost urban chic." She noted that Hilton's franchise acquisition of the Leningradskaya followed three failed attempts to enter the market.
I'm not sure why the location near Komsomolskaya Square isn't considered "ideal" - perhaps it isn't close enough to Red Square and the Kremlin? I should find this to be a great location for my own future trips in Russia, however.

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