Alan Federer knows hotels. With The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company alone, the globetrotting Canadian has managed properties in the UAE, America, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and Ireland.
His passion for hospitality has no boundaries and when the opportunity to add The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow to the impressive list of hotels he has worked at arose, the General Manager was on the next plane to Russia.
Although that meant leaving the highly-regarded Ritz-Carlton, Dubai behind, the opportunity to discover and explore a new market was too great.
“Russian hospitality is a wonderful thing,” says Federer just two months into his new position. “Emirati hospitality is legendary, of course. Russian hospitality at least matches that and visitors from the Arab world will recognise, understand and appreciate the welcoming mood of the hotel”.
As a former Intourist hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow is steeped in history. Intourist was the official state travel agency of the Soviet Union and one of the world’s grandest travel organisations. Following Intourist’s privatization in 1992 many of its most valuable assets were sold to investors. Five years ago, after a multi-year renovation, The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow was officially opened and quickly became one of the Russian capital’s most sought-after locations.
“Like all Ritz-Carlton hotels we enjoy a great location,” explains Federer with admirable understatement. In fact the hotel is located right on the famous Red Square and has views across to the spectacular Kremlin building. This very distinctive location has legitimate claims to be the best in Moscow and sets the tone for the quality of the hotel.
The proximity to the Kremlin, with its golden-domed cathedrals and imposing architectural prominence, means The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow is just a short walk from many of the city’s most famous attractions. Michelin star restaurants, world class luxury shopping, historic art galleries and celebrated museums can all be reached within a few short minutes, making it an ideal hub for wider exploration.
Exploring, of course, means leaving the hotel itself and that is something many first time visitors are reluctant to do. “Our hotel in Moscow is architecturally stunning to walk through. There is a lot of dark glossed woods, which is very much the Russian style, crystal chandeliers, marble bathrooms and a strong imperial design throughout,” says Federer. “There is a distinct sense of place and many guests have the feeling of visiting a grand Russian country house”.
The famed Ritz-Carlton service and comfort are evident throughout. “The Ritz-Carlton has what we like to call our Gold Standards. We don’t hire ladies and gentlemen – we select them – and they are chosen for their authenticity and the commitment to upholding our standards of service. Everybody working at the hotel genuinely cares about the happiness of our guests and that is what sets us aside from other Moscow hotels,” says Federer.
The result, of course, is an award-winning hotel regarded by many as being among the best in Europe. The 334 rooms are spacious and finished with opulent splendour. The Ritz-Carlton Suite in the hotel regular features on lists of the world’s most lavish rooms and the Club Level and Executive rooms stand favourably in comparison with Moscow’s finest. Facilities such as bedside controls to adjust all aspects of the room’s ambience are featured as standard throughout the hotel as are the acclaimed Ritz-Carlton bedding and mattresses.
Dining within the hotel reflects the grand nature of the hotel and the city itself. From the traditional Russian decadence of Caviaterra to the chic modernity of O2, one of Moscow’s most popular nightspots, diners are well looked after.
The same can be said of the sumptuous spa managed by the globally-recognised ESPA team, the corporate business facilities and even the excellent wedding spaces within the hotel.
Every aspect of the operation, in fact, combines to make the hotel a class above similar category hotels in the city. “There is a good reason why we have more state visits and VIP guests than all of the other hotels in Moscow put together,” says Federer.