The concept of boutique hotels first appeared in the U.S. and the UK almost 50 years ago. It was there that hoteliers realized that many well-to-do customers ate the standard gloss of even luxury rooms and premium chain hotel service, and they want something more. The demand for authenticity, the opportunity to touch history, enjoy the unique design of each room, harmoniously combining the past and present, combined with first-class service led to the emergence of boutique hotels with a well-thought-out concept in every detail. Since the nineties, such projects began to appear in Russia.
“Historical cities are a special case when almost every building there is a monument and architecture associated with famous events, personalities and epochs. In this regard, St. Petersburg seems to be an ideal place for opening a boutique «, — said Valery Kravtsun, CEO of Kravt Invest LLC. Already this winter, the boutique hotel «Albora» will open its doors on the embankment of the Griboyedov Canal, in a historic building from the Gvardeysky regiment complex. For Kravt Invest, this is the first project in this segment, but the company is already known on the market thanks to the popular 3* Hotel KRAVT Hotel on Sadovaya.
«Difficult, but possible: how to open a boutique hotel in St. Petersburg?»
The city has a successful number of chain hotels, while the niche of boutique hotels remains attractive for new projects, despite the high entrance threshold for investors and legal restrictions on the reconstruction in the historic center. The flow of tourists with opportunities remains consistently high and even shows growth.
«When planning the ALBORA Hotel project, we took into account everything: the location on the quiet embankment of the Griboedov Canal, the exterior and rich history of the building, unique design solutions for 13 rooms in the style of the famous ballets of the Mariinsky Theatre, the proximity of the main historical and cultural attractions of the city. This will allow guests to fully immerse themselves in the traditional St. Petersburg atmosphere, feel the greatness of the imperial past and today the day of the cultural capital,» sums up Valery Kravtsun. According to him, the guests will have impeccable service in accordance with the concept of Just Ask and individual approach.
Boutique hotels traditionally have a small number of rooms, but at the same time high requirements for staff. Combining this and reaching a set rate of return is not as easy as it seems, it requires effective management, competent marketing, optimization of constant costs and impeccable work of ordinary employees. KRAVT Invest emphasizes that unlike mini- hotels, a boutique hotel requires quality management at the level of leading chain hotels, and this is the main reason for the failures of many similar projects in the Russian market.
«Authenticity and modernity can be harmoniously combined»
The company did not rush to open the hotel for the World Cup, because for the target audience is critical is the authenticity and quality in every detail. Valery Kravtsun explained this decision very simply: «We could not rush to the opening for the sake of short-term profit this summer, because we would have lost much more in the medium term. Boutique hotel is aimed at such people who come to St. Petersburg constantly, and not only for the World Cup, so it is much more important for us that everything is flawless and attractive for potential guests. Reputation in this case is paramount.»
Kravtsun notes that the opportunity to touch the history and culture without leaving your own room or from the hotel does not negate the highest requirements for finishing, technical and functional equipment of rooms. «We managed to preserve and recreate the classic scenery, and each guest will be able to enjoy all the advances in technology, as in any 5-star hotel. Premium plumbing and appliances, comfortable furniture, high-speed Internet, concierge service and other opportunities will satisfy even the most discerning taste,» — guarantees Valery Kravtsun.
It is difficult to imagine a modern premium hotel without a good restaurant and a full-fledged SPA complex. Albora Hotel was not without them, and their interiors are successfully inscribed in the general concept. The opportunity to enjoy European cuisine in the fine interiors of the restaurant or directly on the summer terrace overlooking the canal is a big plus for the whole project. Objectively, when creating the concept of the Kravt Invest Hotel, we played the step-by-step accessibility to Mariinka to the fullest. The hotel also has its own cinema, a modern gym and conference room.
New interesting projects in the premium segment are a clear confirmation of the development of the hospitality industry in the largest cities of Russia. The sharply increased interest in domestic tourism and the traditionally high interest of foreigners in Moscow and St. Petersburg allows to implement world-class projects even in the conditions of fierce competition in the market. Objective assessment of all possible risks and well-thought-out concept allow to achieve success even in those segments where, as it seems at first glance, there are no free niches for a long time.