Hotel chain consolidates with country club addition

  • 2008-09-18
  • By Matt Withers

VIHULA MANOR: The hotel chain is optimistic the project will be successful.

TALLINN - The Tallinn-based hotel chain Uniquestay Hotels has recently expanded its business by remarketing its existing hotels and opening a new country club, the Vihula Manor.
The recently renovated manor, the first full-facility country club in the Baltics, will cover 53 hectares in the Lahemaa National Park 's 90 kilometers north-east of Vilnius. The 2.56 million euro investment comes as part of a wider plan that will see the company's Tallinn hotels redeveloped in a bid to meet market demands.
The Uniquestay Tallinn, soon to be renamed the Von Stacklberg Hotel, is due to be upgraded to a four stars and marketed with the Vihula Manor.

Michael Pilkington, a member of the board at the company, said the decision to upgrade the Uniquestay Tallinn to a four star product was intuitive.
"What we have found in Tallinn is that we have two products that are quite close to each other in terms of standards, services and rates and we need to differentiate," Pilkington told The Baltic Times.

"The Uniquestay Tallinn will be upgraded as more of a lifestyle type hotel. The whole building lends itself to an up-market style; it used to be the city estate of the von Stacklberg family. The design of these older buildings tends to be more attractive to the individual who wants something different," said Pilkington.
In contrast, the Vihula Manor presents the company with an opportunity to break into uncharted territory on the Baltic market.

The country-club is a novel concept in the region, and with so much land at their disposal Pilkington said the group could develop the property to attract new segments of the market.
"We want to offer a product that has multiple activities and events going on, something for all age groups. We have a lot of space, over 50 hectares of land, and this obviously gives us opportunities to appeal to very different segments of the market," said Pilkington.

"It'll be unique in the Baltics, there's nothing that will compare with it," he said.
The Vihula Manor completed the first of four phases of restoration in June, involving the renovation of six buildings and the construction of a wedding and banquet hall. It is now well underway with the second stage of developments.

The company's original hotel, meanwhile, will be given two stars and re-branded the City Hotel Tallinn. The chain's third Tallinn property, the Uniquestay Mihkli, will continue operating with three stars.
Uniquestay Hotels hopes the changes will appeal to a wider range of guests in Tallinn.
Uniquestay Hotels conduct a pan-Baltic operation, owning the Centrum Uniquestay Hotel in Vilnius in addition to their Estonian properties.