Tourism in Moscow is set to get a much-needed boost this year with the completion of eight new luxury hotel projects, boosting the number of quality hotel rooms in the Russian capital by 6% – to a total of 32,500 – according to a top consulting company.
A total of 1,884 rooms are expected be added to Moscow’s capacity with the completion of the projects, which include one five-star hotel – the Four Seasons Moscow; five four-star hotels – the Kempinksky Hotel Nikolskaya, the Novotel, the Mercure Arbat and two Hiltons; and two three-star hotels – the Azimut and a new hotel complex at the Vnukovo Airport, according to Knight Frank.
The popularity of Moscow as an international destination is surging – during the New Year, more than 100,000 guests visited to take part in the city’s celebrations, a rise of about 10% compared with just one year ago, said the City Hall’s Tourism and Hotel Industry Committee chief Sergei Shpilko to the Moscow Times.
Even so, Moscow remains some way behind rival European cities such as London and Paris in terms of available quality hotel rooms, something that both city officials and hotel operators are keen to address.
A number of international hotel operators are planning to expand their Moscow presence, revealed the Moscow Times, in order to meet a growing demand among both foreign and domestic visitors in a city that is currently way ahead of its European rivals in terms of hotel room rates.
According to Hotel.info, the online hotel booking service, the Russian capital is now ranked as the most expensive city on the continent in its list of highest hotel room rates.
Moscow came first in a poll of all European cities with a population greater than 500,000, with average room rates in the city reaching $245 a night, a rise of 8.35% from one year ago.
Hotel.info explained that the increase was down to Moscow’s surging popularity as a destination for both tourists and business travelers alike, comparing the city with New York or London. Increased demand and the high cost of living were put forward as factors contributing to Moscow’s expensive rates.
Not everyone agrees with the view that Moscow is the most expensive city for hotels though. Marina Smirnova of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels stated that Paris, not Moscow, could be seen as having Europe’s most expensive hotels, depending on how the figures were interpreted.
Jones Lang LaSalle calculated that prices for Moscow hotel rooms in the three-star to five-star category in averaged $195.80 per night last November, compared to an average rate of $303.13 per night for equivalent rooms in Paris.
Smirnova also pointed to the fact that Paris’ had significantly more, better quality luxury hotel rooms than Moscow, and said that the French capital’s demand was also far greater. According to Smirnova, Moscow’s average room occupancy rate is 65%, while in Paris the figure often exceeded 70%.
Sergei Shpilko of the City Hall also tried to play down Moscow’s status as the most expensive city for hotels, saying that Hotel.info’s rankings failed to reflect the real situation, as its figures were skewed by taking into account high season prices.