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'Siberia is indeed a land of superlatives: bigger than Europe and the US combined, with the biggest gas reserves in the world'

Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel

By Elena Agamyan
18 June 2014

Television journalist Elena Agamyan and husband Sergey were first night guests of brand new Marriott in Siberian 'capital' Novosibirsk.

'Well, it is great to be a new settler!' Picture: Elena Agamyan

There used to be a shop on exactly this  spot, a primitive Soviet-style concrete box, an ugly corner right in the centre of Novosibirsk at the intersection of Michurina and Ordzonikidze streets. We still don't know who set that building on fire, completely destroying the shop, but all of us remember that this area was surrounded with a huge fence and uncomfortable 'temporary' wooden pavements. 

That arrangement stood for more than ten years and became a part of city's topography; I think we all got so used to it and didn't even want to look behind the fence and check for what was going on there. 

We missed the moment when life began again behind the ugly fence, and when we saw that an elegantly shaped building had risen here, we all gasped. Within months the ugly fence was demolished, and there suddenly appeared a luxurious neo-modern building.

The third largest city in Russia was waggling tongues just like a huge village, discussing who was the person to take this spot, who dared to get this building going, which bank financed it and finally what was this building for? 

We are so used to see the best plot of lands being used for elite housing estates or shiny glass and concrete business centres, that we simply didn't expect to see somebody bothering to create something stylish, even beautiful. 

We forgot what it is like for new buildings to be planned with a thought about their surroundings, so that together they make a perfect architectural ensemble. 

Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel

'They found each other, the Siberian Colosseum and the Marriott Hotel, like two brothers from different eras. Two perfect buildings, looking at each others windows and telling the story of their dramatic births'. Pictures of Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre: The Siberian Times 

Since the times of the great Siberian architect Andrey Kryachkov and Moscow architect Alexander Grinberg who worked on 'the Siberian Colosseum', The Opera and Ballet Theatre, the largest in Russian, we forgot that a city's architecture can be something we can admire. 

Instead, we learned to cry shame upon modern architects and those who order them to design new faceless jungles made of glass and concrete. 

Everything in this case was different, both in the style of the project and the demands of the quality of building works; perhaps thanks to the personality of Novosibirsk developer Alexander Boiko, a larger than life character who fights to 'change and stop poky and miserable looking building sites'. 

Finally, on Monday, we could all go and check it for ourselves, because the Marriott Novosibirsk that was causing so much stir and unfavourable comments from various experts, was open. There was no pompous ceremony, no tables laid for the local beau monde.

Just the massive doors were open, welcoming the guests to Siberia's first five star hotel.

Well, it is great to be a new settler! Me and my husband decided that we could not miss the moment and chose the night at this new hotel; I must say it was a great decision, and I want to share why we liked it so much with all guests of our city.

Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel

'Novosibirsk is getting a lot of visitors coming by car; we drove ourselves to test the hotel's parking arrangement'. Pictures: Elena Agamyan

We booked a room by phone; the reservation clerk asked all the typical questions like name, contact, number of credit card and for some reason the registered address. The card number was only needed as a booking guarantee, there is no need for it to be identical to the one you pay with at check out. We asked for a top floor and a view of the famous Opera and Ballet Theatre. 

Novosibirsk is getting a lot of visitors coming by car, so we decided to drive ourselves to test the hotel's parking arrangement. The underground parking was not working yet, but after we checked in hotel offered us a space at a small - about 15 places - parking lot with CCTV right opposite the main entrance. For the hotel's first night, ours was the only car there. 

Our room was 8,590 roubles, and that included breakfast; so a typical Marriott range for a standard room - BUT I must say we were surprised to see that it only included one breakfast per room booked for two. Er - why? 

And another odd moment was that at check-in, the reception asked to see both our passports:  a truly forgotten feeling, linked perhaps to some special security issues. Anyway, no other Marriott or any other world hotel ever asked us about it, but perhaps this was also just a first day hiccup. 

So here we are, in a hall glittering with polished stone and sparkling chandeliers, into the lift and eight floors up we are walking corridors that haven't yet seen a single visitor. Here is our room - all fresh and modern, and very Marriott'ish. It is easy to breath as there is no trace of multiple use of washing agents, only a subtle and comforting scent of wooden furniture mixed with freshness of snow white new bedding.  

Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel

'Here is our room - all fresh and modern, and very Marriott'ish, with nice ballet-inspired decorations'. Pictures: Elena Agamyan

We both have busy days tomorrow, so we checked for the iron and an ironing board that is sadly not offered by all world hotel chains; it is there, but for some reason there is only one dressing gown. A quick call to reception, and the second gown is in the room.

Checking TV channels; guests speaking English, French, Spanish, German, Russian and many other languages will be pleased to see a good variety of them. 

The view is superb. They found each other, the Siberian Colosseum and the Marriott Hotel, like two brothers from different eras. Two perfect buildings, looking at each others windows and telling the story of their dramatic births.

Looking forward to dinner in a good hotel is always a special feeling, an anticipation of a little adventure. Service quality, food, drinks, price -  it can either lift or break the mood.

I must say there are far more expensive restaurants than this in Novosibirsk. Here, we didn't find a dish that cost more than 1,000 roubles.

Yes, there are more artistic cuisines, but I didn't think that Marriott wanted to surprise its guests by being too exotic. We spent an evening in the atmosphere of city comfort and calmness, with reserved and intelligent personnel serving high quality food. 

Perhaps the waiters did not know all the details of every dish, perhaps the menu was not done in the best way - I always like to know how big the cooked dish will be, and its main ingredients, and this was missing, but then it was their first day. And however critical we tried to look at every detail, the butter was delicious, the sea food was served in an incredible sauce, and the steak was beautifully done.

And, okay, there was no San Pellegrino water, so we had to go for Perrier - and mysteriously there was no wine, only beer, vodka and whisky.

We had two main dishes (one with garnish, one without), two glasses of beer, fresh carrot juice and a bottle of Perrier, and paid 2,500 roubles. 

The restaurant was half empty, with two other Russian couples having dinners and several other guests chatting over cups of tea.

Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel

'I must say we were surprised to see that it only included one breakfast per room booked for two. Er - why?' Pictures: Elena Agamyan 

The first foreign guests came for breakfast; the room was lively, with a perfect buffet served and smiling staff greeting us in Russian and English.

And their coffee was great, we really enjoyed it. 

We didn't go to the gym because we were not in the mood; we didn't swim in the pool because we both forgot our swimming costumes, and we didn't go to the hammam, because it wasn't yet open, sadly. Ah, and also the advertised open terrace promising fantastic views over the city centre was also not open opened yet; we were told, surprisingly, there will be an additional charge for using it, some 2,200 roubles a day. 

We liked choice of bathroom cosmetics, made in Hong Kong. There were no tooth brushes, but again after a call to reception was all it took for two good kits to be delivered. The fan was good, strong, compact and comfortable. The bathroom and shower had super-fashionable plumbing, even though we didn't immediately understood how the water tap worked. 

Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel


Our night together at Siberia's first 5-star top international brand hotel

Good morning, Novosibirsk! Pictures: Elena Agamyan 

There was a good choice of business newspapers and glamour magazines.

The total bill was 11,090, and it was completely worth it.

We both really enjoyed the stay, and one of thoughts when we left was that we Russians often seek and speak about our authenticity, sometimes calling an inability to keep up a 'standard' our Russian hand-made originality. To us, the new Novosibirsk Marriott proved that it has been done according to world standards and in a way that makes our city us a bit more of a global village, just like Marshall McLuhan said. 

Comments (4)

The only thing this hotel will have to change before they're flooded with tourists; is to give everyone a breakfast each & not give only one to be shared by two people. That's really mean.

b
Jaker, Dundalk
27/01/2015 08:22
0
0
seems to be a nice place for tourists.
john, finland
26/10/2014 02:58
1
0
Jeff, that is why Russia is an emerging markets with large cities which need to build infraestructure, as Marriot has done. There is a demand which has to be filled.

Companies from Spain like NH, Barceló or Meliá will be next.
Enrique, Spain
02/09/2014 02:40
2
0
nothing special. A Motel 8 here has the same or better amenities , plus all you can eat breakfast.
Stop inciting civil wars in other countries.
JEFF E, USA
04/07/2014 18:52
0
7
1

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