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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hotel Expands Into Historical Replicas

For MTThe buildings at numbers 55 and 59 Nevsky Prospekt have been rebuilt as replicas of the originals for the hotel.��
A refined Art Deco lobby and lavish ballroom are some of the impressive new features of the Corinthia St. Petersburg Hotel, which is wrapping up work on a large-scale expansion and refurbishment that riled architectural preservationists.

The five-star property -- which since 2002 has belonged to Maltese developer International Hotel Investments -- is part of Corinthia Hotels and was formerly known as the Nevsky Palace hotel. The group has properties in Malta, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Prague, Lisbon and Tripoli and is working on a hotel in London near Trafalgar Square.

During the past two years, International Hotel Investments has put about 100 million euros ($142 million) into the expansion and refurbishment. Alfred Pisani, the company's founder and board chairman, said 70 percent of the work was completed and the remainder was slated to be finished soon.

Now, in addition to the hotel's main property at 57 Nevsky Prospekt, the complex includes the two adjacent buildings. Nevsky 59 is home to 107 new rooms and a modern conference center, including a large, multifunctional space with a seating capacity of up to 600 people. Nevsky 55 will soon play host to modern offices and a top-flight retail center, complete with boutiques and shopping galleries. With a car park, spa and large gym also planned for the near future, the hotel will soon boast more facilities under one roof than any other luxury hotel in town, Pisani said.

In 2007, after more than a year of talks, the company bought both buildings from the city government in a state of disrepair. After it was decided that reconstruction would not be possible, the new owners demolished both properties and built replicas in their place.

The decision to knock down the original buildings caused a major outcry among local preservationist groups, which have been fighting what they call the disfigurement of the architectural landscape of St. Petersburg. Alexander Prokhorenko, head of City Hall's External Relations Committee, said reconstruction of the properties was impossible for technical reasons, however.

"The work that was done on both buildings is impeccable," Prokhorenko said. "Interestingly, before the three Corinthia buildings became a hotel complex, they were ordinary residential housing, largely full of the infamous communal apartments. Now, Corinthia is actually turning back the centuries, because before the Bolshevik Revolution, Nevsky Prospekt was first and foremost a business avenue, adorned with offices, hotels and shops."

The spacious, comfortable new rooms have modern designs in warm, rich tones, including pistachio and mauve. The hotel's largest and, as expected, most luxurious room, totaling 250 square meters, is still being completed. The room will cost between 164,500 and 282,000 rubles ($5,400 to $9,200) per night, depending on the time of year.

British interior and architectural design consultant GA Design International is responsible for the hotel's design.