Image: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
The Hotel Metropol in Moscow was sold at auction on Thursday for $275 million, three million dollars more than the starting price. The hotel was purchased by Azimut, a major Russian hotel chain that previously rented the property from the Moscow city government, who organized the auction as part of its privatization program.
Moscow currently has a shortage of hotel rooms and with an ostentatious business culture, the location of the Metropol hotel is prime for any guest who is seeking to be in the center of the city’s action. The hotel is located within walking distance from Red Square and is situated catty-corner from the Bolshoi Theater. As one of Moscow’s most distinctive buildings, the Metropol hotel has six stories and is one of the city center’s more low-rise structures. There are several elaborate mosaics on top of the building, including Mikhail Vrubel’s “Princess of Dreams”.
Also on the exterior is a plaque notes that in 1918-19, Lenin “many times gave reports and speeches at sessions and party congresses” in the hotel. Another plaque mentions a 1921 meeting at the hotel that “resulted in a friendship agreement with Mongolia.” During World War II, the property became the home and offices for many foreign journalists who were allowed to work in the USSR.
The hotel’s elaborate array of antique furnishings and paintings were not sold at auction with the hotel itself and it is not yet clear how much of the furnishings will actually become available for purchase. According to Natalya Bocharova, head of the city property department, there are numerous objects from the hotel that will be turned over to museums.