Hotel chain expands and renames itself

  • 2003-09-11
  • Justin Petrone
TALLINN - In these days of booming business and image improvement in the region, yet
another Baltic corporation has re-branded itself. This time it is the luxury
four-star Grand Hotel Tallinn that has decided to take a new name. The hotel
is now known as the Meriton Grand Hotel Tallinn and is set to be joined by a
chain of four Meriton hotels in the Baltic countries upon their completion
in 2004.
Not only has the hotel taken a new name, but its parent company, Irnesse
Kapital, owned by Austrian businessman Alexander Kofkin, has also changed
its title to Meriton Hotels Limited.
Of the four hotels currently under construction in the company's expansion,
two are located in central Tallinn.
One, the Meriton Old Town Hotel, is currently under construction and
scheduled to open its doors on March 1, 2004, according to Meriton sales and
marketing director Mare Terri.
There are also plans to build an aquatic park and spa next to the current
Grand Hotel and to add to a 200 room two-star hotel in the vicinity.
"Those are only on a project basis for now. We don't know when they will be
opened, perhaps in 2005," Terri said.
In addition to the new hotels in Tallinn, others are also being built or
renovated in Riga and in Vilnius. A three-star hotel is expected to open in
Riga in the second half of 2004, as are another hotel and an aquatic park in
The cost for the re-branding and construction of the hotels was said to be
approximately 26.3 million euros, according to Meelis Maitse, head director
of Meriton Hotels.
"The investment in the Old Town Hotel is around 36 million kroons (2.3
million euros). The [construction of] hotels in Riga and Vilnius will cost 4
million euros apiece and enlargement of the Grand Hotel in Tallinn will cost
about 250 million kroons. We hope to have the new hotel and aquatic park
opened by 2005-2006," he said.
Vitali Makejev, sales executive at Meriton Grand Hotel Tallinn, said that
the name change to Meriton was needed to accommodate the large growth in the
company's holdings.
"The reason for the name change of our hotel was that our owner Alexander
Kofkin is opening a new chain of hotels. There haven't been any bigger
changes made, only the name change," Makejev said.
Still Makejev believed that the newer hotels were being marketed to a
different clientele.
"Meriton Old Town will be a three-star hotel, with about 42 rooms and will
be marketed to more tourists."
The Vilnius and Riga hotels will also have approximately 80 to100 rooms
This design is a departure from the style of the 164-room Meriton Grand
Hotel Tallinn, whose guests are usually businesspeople from the United
States, Russia, Germany, England, Scandinavia and the Baltics states.
"We have a presidential suite, and superior and executive classrooms. There
are also seven conference rooms available," Makejev said.
The Meriton Grand Hotel Tallinn has a French theme, with Parisian-style
pastry shops and restaurants, as it was owned by French hotel chain Accor,
which renovated and owned the hotel from 1998 to 2001. Planners do not
intend to replicate this theme in the new hotels.
The Meriton Grand Hotel has endured name changes before. It was known as
Hotel Tallinn from 1963 to 1998, when it was acquired by Accor and renamed
the Mercury Grand Hotel. Since becoming independent from Accor in 2001 until
now, it has been known simply as the Grand Hotel Tallinn.
Another accommodation near Tallinn, the Villa Meri Guesthouse, is also
operated by Meriton Hotels.