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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Finns Outline Project for Spa Hotel

ST. PETERSBURG -- Finnish company S Group will open a five-star spa hotel on Vasilyevsky Island in St. Petersburg this summer, company CEO Juhani Jarvenpaa said Tuesday.

On Jan. 5, S Group signed an agreement with Holiday Club Resorts to take control of business operations of the Holiday Club St. Petersburg spa hotel, which is currently under construction at Birzhevoi Pereulok.

At a news conference Tuesday, managers for the two companies expressed confidence in their ability to compete effectively in the hotel, health and beauty-treatments markets.

"We know that Pribaltiiskaya Hotel has an aquapark, but it is for the most part aimed at children," Jarvenpaa said. "Our concept is not focused on slides and children's entertainment. We follow the classic concept of body care and treatment."

The complex will be constructed from scratch over an area of 25,000 square meters, with the hotel situated inside an elite residential and an office complex constructed by St. Petersburg building firm LenSpecSmu. The spa center will be sited on the premises of a former 19th-century warehouse.

Under the terms of the 20-year investment agreement, S Group will oversee the business operations of the hotel, spa and restaurants, while the site will remain the property of London & Regional Properties.

The spa, which is expected to serve 400 people at a time, will be one of the main focal points of the completed hotel, and it is hoped that 1,500 people will visit the center daily, Holiday Club Resorts and S Group representatives said at the news conference.

"Hotel guests will be only a small part of clients. We aim to attract city residents. We know that hydrotherapeutic procedures are very popular among Russians. In Finland, we had to hire Russian personnel," Jarvenpaa said.

Some experts, however, have questioned the viability of the hotel's business concept.

"If the hotel is constructed with a health spa, it could never pay off," said Nikita Savoyarov, head of tourism consultancy ET Consult.

"It would be rational in countries that have a long tradition of consuming wellness spa services, like Spain, Italy or France," Savoyarov said, adding that Russia lacks such a culture and that local sales managers were not used to selling such services.

"St. Petersburg does have a deficit of good pools, but in this building the pool is likely to be small and narrow. Electricity and water purification will cost a lot," Savoyarov said.