Novotel in Yekaterinburg stays idle

Novotel, the French hotel chain, recently opened its 13th four-star hotel in Yekaterinburg. Quite a few local VIPs were invited to attend the opening ceremony, but only two actually showed up. These were Governor of Sverdlovsk Region Alexander Misharin and Sverdlovsk Region Economics Minister Mikhail Maksimov.
The General Director of OOO Kesko (the project investor) Evgeniy Bidilo, Accor Group Hotel Management Director Alexis Delaroff, and CEO Novotel were the hosts of the ceremony.


Over the last two years, Kesko has invested about $30m in the hotel construction. The company’s CFO Alexander Grigoriev expects the project to pay off in nine to ten years, although the current economic situation might extend this term.


According to Mayor of Yekaterinburg Arkadiy Chernetskiy, the city’s fifty-eight hotels are less than half-filled, but the French company remains undaunted.


‘Half empty is actually half full,’ Alexis Delaroff laughed.


‘We are now offering our rooms for 4,800 RUR a day. If the hotel stays empty, we’ll raise the price by 1,000 to 1,200 RUR,’ he said.


To their surprise, the present reporters found some birth control in the mini bar along with the usual water, strong drinks, and chocolate. The hotel workers said they tried to take good care of their guests, but in fact, the decreased demand among business people might have forced the local hotels to offer their rooms to couples on a per-hour basis.


All the rooms are fitted with the ‘smart home’ system, but even the hotel workers haven’t mastered the equipment yet. Also, the design of the entrance reminds one of a Russian wardrobe, so when a guest enters the bathroom or the toilet room (there are two different rooms), they can’t help thinking they are entering a wardrobe.


Yekaterinburg is going to be Novotel’s testing field, as the design of the interior has not been finalized yet. The current Next one might be considered unsuitable in the long run, so the Yekaterinburg chain member will end up as a black sheep of the family.


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