International hotel chains open-up along Crimean coast — Консалтинговая компания SV-Development

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The newly built Radisson Resort SAS in Alushta is one of the first internationally recognized hotel brands to open in the Crimea. More hotels are set-to be built along the Black Sea coast, a popular summer destination among Ukrainians.

Internationally-recognized hotel brands are starting to spread outside Ukraine’s capital into other big cities and regions of Ukraine.

In March, Belgium-based Rezidor Hotel Group opened doors for visitors at its Radisson Resort SAS Resort in Alushta, a popular tourist spot along the southern coast of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. Another Radisson is set to open within years in Yalta.

Meanwhile, the governor of the industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk, Viktor Bondar, said this month that a Hilton hotel complex would be developed in his city ahead of the Euro 2012 soccer championship to be hosted jointly by Ukraine and Poland.

Bondar revealed little details about who would back the project. He said land for the hotel complex has been allocated in downtown Dnipropetrovsk.

The newly­refurbished Alushta hotel, which made a soft opening in March, is the second Radisson to open in Ukraine, the first being in Kyiv.

Other international brands expected to enter Ukraine ahead of the Euro 2012 soccer championship include Marriot and Kempinski.

If it proceeds, the Dnipropetrovsk project could bring the second Hilton hotel to Ukraine.

Guliz Ozbek, director for regional marketing of Hilton Hotels Corporation, said that currently the company is building a hotel on Shevchenko Boulevard in downtown Kyiv. It will be completed in 2011, she said.

Regarding construction of a Hilton in Dnipropetrovsk, she said, "we are looking at all opportunities in key cities in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine. However, there are no firm plans in Ukraine other than Hilton Kyiv at the moment.”

The Radisson Resort SAS offers one of the most luxurious hotel accommodations yet available in Crimea, or Ukraine overall. The facility has an outdoor pool overlooking Ukraine’s Black Sea coast.

Mark Lankveld, General Manager of the four­star Radisson SAS Resort in Alushta, said his hotel was rebranded under the Radisson name after “the Rezidor Hotel Group took over management of the existing Crimean Riviera hotel this March.”

Radisson operates its hotels in Ukraine under franchise agreements.

“Currently re­branding and upgrading of the hotel, and offered services, are in process,” he said, adding that the hotel would not close its doors for guests during the re­branding and refurbishing phase.

Lankveld declined to reveal how much his company has invested so far into the re­branding and upgrading of the hotel, saying that “the Rezidor Hotel Group is merely a hotel management company” and does not own hotels.

He added that the actual owners, whom he did not disclose, acquired the property in 2006 and “invested a lot to bring this hotel up to international standards.”

According to Lankveld, suites at the hotel start from $170 for a standard room and go up to $825 for a presidential suite.

Lankveld said Rezidor expects to launch its Radisson Resort Bolshaya Yalta hotel in 2009­2010. In all, the Rezidor group plans to open about 11 Radisson hotels and 16 Park Inn hotels across the country in coming years.

Artem Novikov, partner at the Dialog Classic consulting company, said that during the last several years many international hotel operators declared their intent to set their foot on Crimean turf. But none of those declarations were implemented thus far. So far, Radisson SAS is the first international hotel in Crimea, he added.

Novikov cited a number of reasons for the slow entry of international chains into Crimea: bureaucracy, red tape and also, a short tourist season in the summer.

“There is a lot more interest on the part of many developers for building residential housing in Crimea,” he added.

Crimea is also known for its significantly higher prices than in more luxurious and exotic tourist spots such as Turkey and Egypt.

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