Sunday, 2 September 2012

Privatising the Soviet past: Moscow landmark hotel Metropol sells for $275mln


Moscow’s historical landmark Hotel Metropol, which was once an important Soviet administrative center, has been sold for $275 million at auction. The new owner gets the building but not the rich variety of antique paintings and furnishings inside.
The head of the city property department said that a number of objects from the hotel will be turned over to museums. 
The buyer is reportedly the major Russian hotel chain, Azimut, which has been renting the Metropol from the Moscow City government.
The hotel is located a few steps from the Bolshoi Theatre and within walking distance of Red Square, and has “seen it all”.  When it first opened in 1901, the Metropol was a symbol of opulence. When the Bolsheviks came to power and decided to move their government from St Petersburg to Moscow, the Metropol was stripped of its glitz and glamour.
During WWII the six storey hotel was home and office to the majority of foreign journalists based in the USSR.
When Michael Jackson stayed at the Metropol back in 1993, the King of Pop was reportedly so attracted by a lamp featuring a bear that he tried unsuccessfully to buy it. 
Despite the rich history and solid reputation, hotel review websites claim the Metropol's rooms are often in need of facelift. 

The head of the city property department said privatization should ensure the hotel gets an upgrade.

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