New hotel chain opens up doors

  • 2003-04-24
  • Aleksei Gunter

UniqueStay, a hotel set on becoming a Pan-Baltic chain, launched its first operations last week when it opened the doors to a renovated 19th century building just a few steps from the Toompea Hill.

David Heir, a British businessman living in Estonia and director of UniqueStay, said the hotel was targeting a wide range of guests.

"We try to cater to visitors of every age by offering frindly environment. The rooms are designed in warm, calm colors that should be fine for both old and young," he said.

The three-star hotel has 17 double rooms that begin at 70 euros (including breakfast and tax).

Judging by the exterior, UniqueStay looks very basic and its additional services include a cafe in the basement, laundry service and free parking.

But all the rooms are equipped with computers that have flat monitors and free broadband connection and, for the workaholic, endless coffee and tea.

A second hotel is scheduled for opening - either in the Old Town or next to the first one - by the end of the year, and it will adhere to the same concept according to Heir.

A third UniqueStay is to open in Riga in 2004, where the company has two location options.

"In the long term, we are up to entering the Lithuanian market as well."

Heir said that depending upon the location new hotels would be called either UniqueStay (basic services) or BoutiqueStay (extended variety of services and more convenient location).

He said that the UniqueStay hotel chain will not target the tourist market of any specific country but has agreements with various travel agencies in Western Europe and in the Baltics.

"Tallinn is a growing hotel market, and once Estonia joins the EU it will become more accessible," he said.

In terms of number of visitors, hotel management is optimistic. "We are expecting 80 percent to 85 percent occupancy in the next couple of months," Heir said.

According to the Estonian Assocaition of Hotels and Restaurants, the average hotel occupancy rate in Tallinn during the last quarter of 2002 - the off-season time - was approximately 63 percent.

In summer 2002 Tallinn hotels were filled at 72 percent.