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Entries in Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics (43)

Monday
Oct212013

The Hyatt Regency Slated For December 2013 Opening

I met with General Manager Jean Francois Durand earlier this month (September 2013).  Mr. Durand has a long history in hotel management, both in Europe and in Russia.   He was the General Manager at Hyatt Regency Hotels in both Yekaterinburg, Russia and in Dushanbe Tajikistan.  He was also the Executive Chef at the Ararat Park Hyatt in Moscow.  Jean Francois gave me a tour of the 198-room hotel as it readies to open before the Winter Games.   We toured the hotel rooms, restaurant and bar areas, reception and function spaces and he told me about his vision for the hotel.  With his background in food preparation, Jean Francois has taken particular interest in the development of the two restaurants in the hotel.   Parterre Restaurant, the larger of the two and with longer hours, will have a mix of European and Russian “comfort foods”, while Bourride will provide Mediterranean specialties to hotel guests and other diners.

The hotel rooms will feature not only great views through floor-to-ceiling windows, but the comfort and understated elegance that the Hyatt brand is famous for.  Individual rooms range from 37 to 190 square meters and are situated from the 6th through the 14th floors of the hotel.  The entrance to the hotel will feature a dramatic drive-through approach from Orzhonikidze Ulitsa.

 


Guestroom

The hotel also has a number of function spaces that will serve as locations for events in Sochi for many years to come.  The conference hall is about 450 square meters and will be a great meeting spot because of the great height and shape of the space,  its size and the dramatic windows that will provide views of tree-lined Ordzhonikidze Ulitsa.  Since the hotel is a very short walk to the Winter Theater and the Festivalniy Concert Hall, just across the street from Sochi’s Art Museum and only steps above the beach, it will be an important destination during events such as the Sochi International Economic Forum, Sochi’s Kinotavr Film Festival and the international sport events that are about to put Sochi on the world’s event map.

 

Ordzhonikidze Ulitsa (Street) Entrance

Jean Francois and I talked about the path that led him to Sochi and how his hotel will appeal to the increasing number of international guests who also are finding their way to Sochi.  He said that the Sochi Hyatt Regency aims not simply to be a hotel, but rather a destination that will be an important part of the city’s social fabric, as guests come for dinner and drinks and to enjoy the unique ambiance that Hyatt has so successfully created with their Regency brand.

The Hyatt Regency is located at 15- 17 Ordzhonikidze Ulitsa (Street) in Sochi.   Look for an opening in December of 2013.  

Please contact us for accommodation:  bruce@destinationsochi.com

Friday
Jan252013

Q & A Service- Sochi

I have a new Q & A service for those with interest in Sochi.  Please follow the link and join to ask questions directly online.

Questions will be answered promptly and if we can provide additional on-the-ground services to companies and organizations in Sochi, we will be glad for the opportunity and contact.

 

Saturday
Nov032012

Sochi Seaport

 

Sochi City Center and Seaport

Sochi is the site of the 2014 Winter Games and is recognized as one of the largest construction zones in the world. Games venues, both in the mountains and at the Coastal Cluster, are being built new and at a pace to finish well ahead of the Games.  Krasnaya Polyana has 3 beautiful, state of the art, new ski resorts and a new hospital.  There is a new airport, train stations are being rebuilt (including Adler Station, which will be the largest in Russia).  A new high-speed rail network will connect the airport with both the Coastal and Mountain Clusters. There are new roads, highways, bridges and massive retaining walls and a new border crossing.  Large, modern hotels and resorts are being built in Krasnaya Polyana, Adler and Sochi.  New apartment complexes, office buildings and shopping centers are going up all over the city, particularly near the Sochi city center.  

With all of this happening in Sochi, it is easy to miss what may have as big an impact as almost any of these on Sochi's ability to sustain an international tourism legacy after the Games conclude - the expansion of Sochi's seaport.  The massive project involves using both public (for infrastructure) and private investment (for commercial development). The investment by the Russian government alone will be more than 7 billion rubles (about $230 million).  The project will include 730 meters of cruise ship terminals, which will allow 2 large cruise ships to dock in Sochi, simultaneously.  There will be a new yacht marina, roll on/ roll off ship berths, a 1,000 meter protective pier and a 200 meter breakwater.  The new seaport will also include a retail complex with additional space for restaurants and parking. When all is said and done, Sochi's seaport will be recognized as the best facility on the Black Sea.   

Construction on the seaport project began this summer and completion is expected next year.  It is located in the very center of Sochi, near the pedestrian zone defined on one side by the Sochi River and the other by Gorkovo Ulitsa.  It is about 1 1/2 blocks from the McDonald's Restaurant and next to Sochi's boardwalk.  The area around the seaport is already seen as the center of Sochi's restaurant scene, with the locally well-known Brigantina Cafe sitting next to the marina.   The iconic seaport building, built during the Soviet era, sits near the Olympic Clock.

I have been watching developments in Sochi closely and with the seaport reconstruction ramping up, I wanted to get a closer look and more information about what is happening. So, recently I met with local officials and took a brief tour. That afternoon, the Director of the Seaport and I took a walk and he showed me the seaport and its yacht marina. He said that with thousands of new passengers disembarking to shop, eat and drink, sightsee and to enjoy the beaches and mountains, the new seaport will place Sochi on the international cruise ship map.  Cruise ships are projected to increase the number of visits to Sochi to 179 by that same year. Those cruise ships alone are expected to bring more than 100,000 new tourists to Sochi, most of whom will be from Western Europe or North America.  Ferry traffic, including to local destinations and which connects Sochi to Trabzon, Turkey; Gagra, Abkhazia: Batumi, Georgia and other Russian cities on the Black Sea, such as Gelendzhik and Novorossiysk, is projected to grow to 463 stops in 2015.                                                                                                                              

The Winter Games and accompanying development in Sochi has been part of comprehensive plan to increase tourism in Sochi and Russia.  Sochi is rapidly transforming into an international, year-around, mountain sports and beach destination, with tourists arriving by airplane, train, automobile and cruise liners.

 

Seaport Construction 

 

Saturday
Jul212012

Park Inn By Radisson Cosponsors Familiarization Trip To Sochi With Destination Sochi

 

            

 

 

 

Destination Sochi is offering a 4 day/3 night familiarization trip to Sochi from September 23-26, 2012.  The Park Inn by Radisson is a co-sponsor of the trip. The trip, featuring 2 nights in Rosa Khutor at the Park Inn and 1 night in central Sochi, will cost $1,695.  All meals, accommodation and ground transportation in Sochi will be included.

Guests will be greeted at the airport and escorted to our motor coach for the ride to Krasnaya Polyana and the Park Inn by Radisson Rosa Khutor.  There will be a champagne welcome reception at the Park Inn, with a welcome speech by General Manager Harald Buerkle, followed by a tour of the new Radisson Hotel and the Park Inn.

Later that evening, Destination Sochi will host a dinner at the Park Inn. Monday's highlights will include viewing the mountain cluster at Rosa Khutor and a tour of Gornaya Karusel resort, an unforgettable Russian banya experience and dinner at a top mountain restaurant.

 

Tuesday, the 24th, we will depart after breakfast for Adler to view the Olympic Park, view official transportation venues and central Adler. Then our route will follow the picturesque Black Sea coast about 25 kilometers to central Sochi.  We will stop at a locally prominent restaurant for a genuine Caucasian lunch followed by a tour of the city center.  


The tour will be full hosted with bilingual guides (English, French and Russian).

Please contact us for a complete itinerary and also to reserve your place. The tour will be limited to 40 guests, so make your reservation as soon as possible.

Contact via email:  yelena@destinationsochi.com

Call +7 962 859 1776

 

Monday
Jul162012

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group And Harald Buerkle Team Up In Rosa Khutor

 

Park Inn by Radisson- Rosa Khutor

Rosa Khutor is located in the Caucasus Mountains about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Black Sea in southwestern Russia and will host the alpine events during the 2014 Winter Games to be held in Sochi.  Rosa Khutor is a very ambitious mountain resort project and next to the high-speed gondola taking skiers and spectators to the mountaintop, a new European-style village with accommodation, dining and shopping is being built. This year, the Park Inn by Radisson opened its doors and during the 2012- 2013 winter season its sister property, the Radisson, Rosa Khutor will welcome guests for the first time.  The two properties sit just across the Mzymta River from each other and can be accessed by the pedestrian bridge (click here for a 360 degree panoramic photo of the site) constructed over the river.  

Lobby Bar- Park Inn by Radisson

I first experienced the Park Inn in February of this year, just after its January opening and during the International Ski Federation World Cup, when I interviewed Luke Bodensteiner of the United States Sk and Snowboard Association in the hotel lobby for SochChannel.com   At that time, I was impressed with the design of its chic lobby bar and lounge.  More recently, I returned and spent an afternoon with Harald Buerkle, the General Manager of both the Park Inn and the Radisson.  Mr. Buerkle was kind enough to treat me to a very good lunch of the best German food to be found in the area.  This is not entirely surprising given that Mr. Buerkle, with a Chef's Master degree, has a background in food preparation, including 5 years working in Michelin-starred restaurants.  Mr. Buerkle, starting at the age of 16, was precocious in food preparation and was promoted to prominent positions at an early age.  In fact, at 27, he was the Executive Chef at one of the most prominent hotels in Eastern Europe and managing a team of 70 people.  Harald (I hope he will excuse the familiarity!) previously worked in Moscow and also has served stints working at Radisson Blu Hotels in the United Kingdom, in Kiev, as the Food and Beverage Manager and at Ruegen, Germany on the Baltic Sea, where he held his first position as General Manager.

Harald and his wife recently moved here.  He originally came from Bavaria and Katinka from the German state of Swabia.  Harald keeps busy with the hotels, but he finds time to pursue his MBA in Hospitality and Service Management at the Glion School of Higher Education in Switzerland.  All this activity does not leave much time for him to golf, which he greatly enjoys. 

 

General Manager Harald Buerkle

After lunch, Harald showed me several categories of rooms at the Park Inn.  All are very comfortable and feature the modern design esthetic and ease of use that Radisson is well-known for.  The English-speaking staff, both polite and helpful, reflects the professional management of Radisson.  I arrived early for the meeting and while working on my computer discovered I was missing an adapter for my battery charger.  The bartender noticed and quickly produced one for me. This attention to guests will serve the Park Inn well in the future.  Large numbers of foreign travellers will be coming to the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort, through the Olympics and after, to enjoy the spectacular scenery and the mountain's vertical drop of 1,776 meters (5,774 feet!).  The Park Inn has ski storage, a gym and nightclub, as well as its restaurant with Bavarian cusine and the hip lobby bar.  The hotel is accessible, too.  The road runs right to its doorstep and a new high-speed rail is being constructed from Sochi to Krasnaya Polyana, with a station just a short distance from the village that includes the Park Inn and Radisson.

 

Guestroom

Although the Radisson, across from the Park Inn, is not completed, Harald shared details with me about it.  He told me that the hotel will be "the most luxurious in Rosa Khutor" and that the cool Black Bar and Grill will source local ingredients and the best quality imports.  There will a nightclub and also an entertainemnt zone for children.  All will be within walking distance of the ski shops, ski schools, shopping, dining and the mountain. Between the two hotels, Harald will manage nearly 400 rooms in the premium location at Rosa Khutor.  He and I  are already planning events there, including a charity hike, barbeque and party in September.  I will keep readers posted as to plans and developments.