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Ritz Carlton, Moscow
30,000 pieces of solid silverware
25,000 finest woven table-cloths and napkins
1,200 chairs and 400 tables
30,000 plush slippers
2,500 400-thread count bed linens
6,000 pieces of custom-designed uniforms
50,000 glasses
THe Ritz-Carlton, Moscow, will be opening officially in March. Passpport Magazine was given a guided tour.

Simon F. Cooper, president and chief operating officer, explained why the Ritz-Carlton has come to Russia: Our expansion into Russia signifies an important strategic move for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. With the Russian economy thriving, it is the ideal time to establish our brand in the capital. Ideally located near the Kremlin and the adjacent Red Square, The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow will offer a new standard of luxury and service for visitors.

Located just off Red Square, at Tverskaya 3-5, and within walking distance of the Kremlin, St Basils Cathedral and the Bolshoi Theatre, the hotel will have 334 rooms in total. We were told that the hotel will feature the largest guest rooms in the city measuring 42 square metres, plus 65 suites, including The Ritz-Carlton Suite. All guest rooms will showcase polished dark cherry woods and burl wood veneers, while bathrooms measuring a minimum of 10 square metres will be finished with marble from the Altai Mountains. Hi-tech guest room features include electronic room control touch panels that allow guests to conveniently control lighting, air-conditioning, curtains and music/alarm clock preferences from bed.

The signature Ritz-Carlton Club Level will be located on the top two floors of the hotel offering impressive views of Red Square and will provide an extra level of privacy and exclusive services for guests. Club Level guests will enjoy complimentary, round-the-clock food presentations and dedicated butler/concierge services. All guest rooms will be furnished with signature Ritz-Carlton bedding, Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) televisions, multi-line telephones and free high-speed internet access.

Two restaurants are planned including an all-day dining facility and a specialty outlet. Guests can also enjoy the choice of three lounges, including a large rooftop bar in the cupola offering panoramic views of the citys skyline. Guest fitness and relaxation features include a health club and spa, with indoor, glass-covered swimming pool, sauna, steam rooms, whirlpool, hair and beauty salon.

The project was designed by one of Moscows largest and most experienced architectural firms, Mosproject. Peter Silling of Hotel Interior Design, also responsible for The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin, was called upon to design the interiors; they reflect the grandeur of Imperial Russias Classicical Era (circa 1780 1840).

Oliver Eller, the General Manager, says that: We have done intensive research worldwide to find the best materials for The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow. Our aim is to pamper guests with products from renowned producers known for their perfection and exclusiveness. That has kept us busy for over two years now. Among the items delivered are:
30,000 pieces of solid silverware
25,000 finest woven table-cloths and napkins
1,200 chairs and 400 tables to host elegant events in the banqueting section
30,000 plush slippers featuring The Ritz-Carlton logo
2,500 400-thread count bed linens 6,000 pieces of custom-designed uniforms
50,000 glasses, many hand-blown or lead crystal

At Passport Magazine we think that one of the main attractions of the Ritz-Carlton will be the gourmet restaurant, which will be under the guidance of one of Germany's most famous chefs, the Austrian Heinz Winkler, the youngest ever chef to be awarded three Michelin stars at the age of only 31.

Winkler, who fulfilled his dream of opening his own hotel and restaurant "Residenz Heinz Winkler" in Aschau (South Germany) in 1989, is one of the greatest chefs of our time. Influenced by the legendary Paul Bocuse during his tenure in 1978, he has achieved Michelin glory 19 times over as well as scoring 19.5 points three times with Gault Millau, and became the first chef to be awarded Germany's Cross of Honour. In 1988, he was made an honorary member of the "Club of Chefs of Chefs", the association of personal chefs to kings and presidents, even though he is an independent chef. He is also an accomplished author with ten cookery books to his credit.

The design of the new restaurant is in the style of the Russian Empire, circa 1780 1840. The elegant interiors feature a muted color palette of black, beiges and rose pink, lit by a cupola of glass and steel. Custom-made furniture, antique vases and vibrant fabrics combine to give a feeling of grand luxury with the focal point being a superb three metre chandelier. Chef Winkler has also personally selected the table decorations.

For discreet meetings and intimate family gatherings, there is a private dining room seating 20 people as well as chef tables and a wine room, perfect for serious "degustations". Separated from the restaurant by transparent "chambrairs", there is space for over 500 bottles.

A Famous Site

For the past few centuries, Tverskaya 3-5 has played host to travellers from around the globe. In the 18th century, travellers first stopped at Tverskaya 3-5, a tavern founded and run by a Greek, to find lodgings and a good meal. Known as "Tsaregradskiy Traktir", the word "traktir" was used rather than hotel - meaning literally tavern - a place where one could dine and sleep.

In the lower floors of the "traktir", the locals were offered a choice of different food and drink stalls whilst the upper floors were reserved for accommodation. The "Tsaregradskiy Traktir" enjoyed great popularity in Moscow and was especially renowned for the quality of its coffee.

Fast forward a few decades and the "traktir" is transformed into the hotel "Paris", offering more stylish and sophisticated services to its clientele. In fact many Russian writers and artists stayed in the hotel and mentioned "Paris" in their works, among them Konstantin Leontjev. Operating for over 100 years to general acclaim, the hotel was regrettably demolished in the 1930's as part of the urban regeneration of the area, a fate suffered by many other small hotels in the city.

In 1970, the hotel "Intourist" rose from the ashes of the site - a massive 22-storey building of glass, concrete and steel. Although not blessed with an attractive facade, the "Intourist" was in fact very popular - both with Muscovites who held their weddings there and amongst the international travelling public, as the property enjoyed spectacular views over the centre of Moscow from many of the guest rooms.

This ideal location - close to world-renowned theatres and concert halls such as the Bolshoi Theatre, the Grand Conservatory Hall, shopping centres and the heart of government - ensured that the "Inturist" remained a very popular property until it was demolished in 2002 to make way for a new breed of hotel, more in keeping with the modern Russian lifestyle.

Tverskaya Street itself is full of history. After the founding of St. Petersburg in 1703, Tverskaya Street became the main road to the new Russian capital. The street quickly grew in terms of importance, with Muscovites building their exuberant palaces and residences along its path. It also became known as a progressive area with, in 1860, the introduction of the first gas street lamps and in the same year, the first horse-drawn railway was inaugurated. In 1933, a trolleybus drove down this street for the first time in Moscow.

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