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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Historical Savoy Back in Business

MTThe Savoy's dining room has retained original features after the renovation.
The renovated Savoy Hotel opened its doors on Thursday after a $20 million facelift, providing one more option for visitors willing to spend about $600 per night on a standard hotel room.

After 18 months of renovation, the 68-room historical hotel boasts gold furnishings, ornate marble floors and flat-screen televisions. The building's 1913 facade on Ulitsa Rozhdestvenka, opposite Detsky Mir, remains unchanged.

The hotel is in the process of completing its five-star certification, said hotel spokeswoman Oksana Fadeyeva. A spokeswoman for the Small Luxury Hotels of the World network confirmed that the Savoy had become the first hotel in Russia to become an affiliate.

Originally opened in 1913, the Savoy survived much of the Soviet era as Intourist's Hotel Berlin. In the late 1980s, it underwent an ambitious reconstruction, becoming the country's first international-standard hotel, jointly managed by Intourist and Finnair.

Although the hotel technically had a four-star rating before work began, a decision was made to renovate in order to increase rates, which were well below those of its four-star peers, said Rob Stoddard, an independent hotel consultant who worked on the project in its early stages.

As well as boasting modern facilities, the hotel can now hope to attract visitors looking for more local character than that offered by international hotel brands, he said.

Initially, Guta Group, the hotel's owners, planned a relatively modest renovation, Stoddard said, but the plans gradually became more ambitious.

The eventual investment, close to $300,000 per room, would almost be enough to build a new five-star hotel from scratch, said Marina Usenko, vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.

The standard room rate has risen by more than 50 percent, to 450 conditional units. With an exchange rate of 32 rubles and 18 percent value-added tax, the current rate reaches 16,992 rubles ($587).

The hotel's most expensive room, the Savoy Grand Suite, costs more than $2,500 per night, including tax.

Guta owns 84 percent of the hotel, and the Moscow city goverment owns the remaining 16 percent, according to Interfax.