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Hotel Ukraina Opens After 3-Year Hiatus

The Hotel Ukraina, above. The hotel, with total floor space of 88,574 square meters, will have 505 "fashionable" rooms and 38 apartments, equipped with kitchens. For MT

The first visitor checked into the newly reopened Hotel Ukraina on Wednesday, after the hotel spent three years and $300 million dollars renovating the historic building.

"At the time [2005], the hotel was purchased for $275 million, and all the reconstruction work cost $300 million," said Alexei Mikushko, chief executive of the hotel.

He added that it would take 20 to 25 years for the project to pay for itself. "It must be noted that this is a business hotel, and business right now is on its way up, so I don't think there will be any lack of clients," Mikushko said.

The Hotel Ukraina, one of the distinctive Stalin-era high-rises known as the Seven Sisters, was to operate under the brand Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow. But the name change for the historic hotel had ruffled some feathers.

Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Wednesday proposed keeping the hotel's original name. "Any name change is unacceptable without the agreement of the authorities. This isn't just a formality, it's very important, as we will have to change the names on all the maps, which is very expensive," he said at the opening ceremony Wednesday. Mikushko said the name Ukraina would be preserved.

The hotel, with total floor space of 88,574 square meters, will have 505 "fashionable" rooms and 38 apartments, equipped with kitchens. A regular room will start at 150 euros (about $200) per night, and general reservations will be accepted starting in June.

Architect Arkady Mordvinov started construction on the hotel, the tallest in Europe, in the 1950s. In 2005, the city sold the landmark to Biskvit for a record 7.8 billion rubles (about $266 million).

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