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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Beyond the Bedroom, With a Personal Touch

BloombergGuests can open bottles of champagne with a saber, a ceremony originating from Napoleonic-era French officers.
Nowadays, it seems that it's about more than just a good night's sleep.

From vodka sommeliers to ballrooms, Moscow's hotels are offering guests an increasing array of eye-catching, high-priced services.

For the uninitiated, the battle for the hearts and pockets of the super-rich can sometimes border on the bizarre.

The Ritz-Carlton is unrivaled in that respect, offering well-heeled guests complete relaxation and pure indulgence.

On its stylish rooftop lounge, Ritz-Carlton entertains guests with unforgettable experiences, such as its champagne sabrage -- a ceremony originating with French officers in the Napoleonic era, in which guests are allowed to open a champagne bottle with a saber.

"Guests always sit at our O2 Lounge and watch as the corks and bottle tops of disrobed champagne bottles fly several feet into the air against the heart-stirring views of Red Square and the Kremlin," said hotel spokesman Sergei Logvinov.

"It is a spectacular and popular pastime, especially in the summer."

But for a taste of the ultimate, Logvinov suggested that well-off guests and power-diners check out the Tsar's Breakfast, which costs a royal $1,400 per person. The meal includes a Kobe beef steak, a truffle omelet, and foie gras au torchon with caramelized apple and pain brioche, Beluga caviar with blinis, sour cream and quail eggs, freshly squeezed juices and a bottle of Cristal champagne.

Drink aficionados can consult the hotel's vodka sommelier for advice on which of the more than 400 vodka labels to sip while savoring local delicacies.

On top of this, the hotel has dedicated shoe, bath, technology and nightlife butlers. The last's job is to guide guests wishing to visit popular nightspots and restaurants.

Equally sophisticated butler services can be found at the Marriott Royal Hotel, which also aims to distinguish itself in the competitive hospitality industry by providing specialized services.

"We have a butler for practically every job a guest wants done," said Valentina Starova, the hotel's director of communications.

"Whether guests want to send a fax, arrange business meetings, have the laundry done or buy tickets to the theater, our butler offers our guests personalized services on top of standard services in the hotel," Starova said.

Personalized butler services come with extra charges, to the tune of about 21,000 rubles ($860), she said.

To attract more guests, personalized services have also been extended to the hotel's gym and swimming pool, which are open 24 hours a day. At the snap of a finger, a personal trainer is always standing by to attend to guests' fitness needs.

It is a different approach at the regal-looking Metropol hotel, with administrators appearing to operate on the philosophy that the shortest way to a guest's heart is through his or her stomach.


Alexei Boitsov / Bloomberg
A manager checking the bar at the O2 Lounge, which overlooks the Kremlin.
Every breakfast in the hotel's Boyarsky restaurant is accompanied by a harpist playing songs that transport guests back in time, said Yekaterina Yegorova, spokeswoman for the hotel.

"Apart from the invariable attributes of Russian cuisine, namely, sturgeon, stellate sturgeon, sterlet, suckling pig and salted foods, the guests are offered exclusive dishes which can be hardly found in any other restaurant," Yegorova said.

The menu reads: hare liver with rucola in a cherry decoction, brains meuniere on wheaten toasts, Pozharsky cutlets, pancakes Romanov style with lobsters and split quails.

The cuisine testifies to the pastiche of antiquities, Yegorova said, and guests are offered old-fashioned Russian cuisine enjoyed by the nobility.

But lovers of authentic Armenian cuisine -- from Achot, garlicky farmer's cheese with walnuts, to Anoushabour, Christmas pudding -- have to turn to the Ararat Park Hyatt, which imports all of its ingredients directly from Armenia.

The hotel is not limited, however, by its culinary peculiarity in the struggle for hearts and pockets.

"In addition to baby-sitting services offered to family guests by prior arrangement, specialized services are offered in our unique Quantum Health Club, that offers the traditional Russian banya with branches as well as aroma and thalassotherapy," said Maria Losyukova, the hotel's marketing communications manager.