Moscow privatises iconic hotel

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Moscow privatises iconic hotel

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One of Moscow’s most historic landmarks has been sold for 222 million euros. The luxury Metropol hotel has hosted all Russian life from revolutionary Communism to ostentatious indulgence.

Now it has made the leap full-time to capitalism. As part of Moscow’s privatisation plans, it has fallen into the hands of the Azimut hotel group, who had been leasing the building from the city.

Some of its valuable fixtures including the paintings remain the property of the city of Moscow authorities and will be protected under any modernisation plans.

The Russian capital is always short of rooms and presents a profitable opportunity for high-end hotel chains. Some think the building’s future will be better assured in private hands.

“If one looks at what has been done internationally in other cities where most of the historic trophy assets are in private hands, then in principle this is the right move”, said Tatyana Tikova, a valuer with Colliers International Consulting. “It’s because the private owners have enough resources to manage the hotel”.

The Metropol has seen a lot of famous figures come and go since it opened in 1901. Lenin harangued Bolsheviks there after they moved the government from St Petersburg to Moscow. For a while it was appropriated and became the Second House of the Soviets.

Famous guests have included the late Michael Jackson who stayed there in 1993.

The hotel is situated right next to Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Theatre and a short walk from Red Square.

Some analysts had expected its prime location would command a higher price than that paid by the new owners.