Radisson SAS Tallinn opens its doors in two months

  • 2000-12-14
  • Kairi Kurm
TALLINN - An international hotel operator Radisson SAS will open a new full-service upscale international business hotel in the heart of Tallinn on February 1 2001. Although it is six weeks from now, the hotel has already booked 50,000 overnight stays to its 40 million euro facility.

Torbjorn Bodin, general manager at Radisson SAS Hotel, said that although this date was set one and a half years ago the project will be finished at the scheduled time. The development will create more than 200 new jobs.

According to Bodin the new hotel with its 277 rooms will capture about half of the upscale Tallinn hotel market and 5-10 percent of the Tallinn hotel market in general.

"We have a broad niche for ourselves," he explained. "The hotels that may suffer from low demand are purely dependent on leisure business in the mid-price range."

A quarter of the rooms at Radisson SAS Tallinn will be Business Class, offering additional luxuries for executive travelers. The hotel will also include 10 Junior Suites, three larger suites and a Presidential Suite.

According to Bodin, rates at the new Radisson SAS hotel in Tallinn will start from 2,000 kroons ($110), which is slightly more expensive than the competitors' prices. The biggest competitor to Radisson SAS is Olumpia Hotel, which is just a kilometer away.

Tarmo Sumberg, chairman of the board at Reval Hotel Group, which comprises five hotels in Tallinn and Latvia, said that Radisson SAS Tallinn will motivate hotels on the Tallinn market to work harder. He said that Radisson SAS offers good quality service and its target group is mostly international business travelers, although none of the hotels lack ordinary tourists.

He said that it was obvious that the room rates at Radisson SAS Tallinn were more expensive than the rooms at the Olumpia Hotel, because the new hotel had invested more money.

"We will provide very good quality for that money," he explained. "All the rooms are fully air-conditioned with the highest security and safety level."

According to Paul Taylor, district director of sales at Radisson SAS in the Baltics, the situation on the Lithuanian hotel market is slightly different.

"In Vilnius there is a lot of demand and not many rooms for upscale international businessmen. Our hotel in Vilnius consists of only 120 rooms, so we have adapted the prices accordingly," he said. Next year in February Radisson SAS is planning to open a hotel with 75 rooms in Klaipeda, Lithuania.

Radisson SAS's hotel in Riga consists of 350 rooms and the average rate of occupancy is 53 percent. Taylor said that many hotels in Riga are being privatized at the moment. "We are waiting for some more activity on the market," he said.

"For the first year we have budgeted for a very decent 63.5 percent occupancy rate at Radisson SAS Tallinn," said Bodin. Within Radisson SAS the average rate of occupancy was around 65 percent last year, he added.

Radisson SAS is operating 108 hotels in 38 countries in Europe, West Africa, the Middle East and some hot spots in South Africa and China. Bodin said that clients of the Radisson SAS hotel get eurobonuses and there are special discount programs for major companies all over the world.

He believes that the 17 conference and banquet rooms will provide at least 10 percent of the hotel's sales.

The largest banquet room - the Hansa Room - which seats 250 guests for a formal dinner or has a capacity for more than 500 guests for a cocktail reception, is situated on the 2nd floor.

The Tallinn Room - located on the 24th floor - has the highest location in Estonia and is an excellent venue for a reception of 150 guests.

The first six floors of the 25-floor hotel building will be rented out as offices. The height of the hotel will be 103 meters. The hotel is owned by a Finnish construction company SRV (45%), Finnfund (25%), Radisson SAS (15%) and other funds.

SRV also owns 50 percent of the nearby parking lot. Radisson SAS will also be the first hotel in Estonia, which will park cars for clients.

According to Kurt Ritter, the president and CEO of Radisson SAS Hotel and Resorts, Radisson SAS Tallinn will become an upscale first class property and will offer five-star service. The only five-star hotel in Tallinn at present is the Park Consul Schlossle. Four-star hotels include the Olumpia, Scandic Hotel Palace and Grand Hotel Tallinn.