Alexander Lyamin knows a lot about hotels and a lot about Moscow. As one of the founders (not to mention an Honorary Member and acting Member of the Executive Committee) of the Russian section of the international concierge organization “UICH Les Clefs d’Or”, Alexander has been in the hotel hospitality business for some 15 years. He started his career in 1995 at the five-star Baltschug Kempinski hotel in Moscow as a concierge and moved to the deluxe Lotte Hotel in 2010 as a part of the pre-opening team, successfully opening the hotel as Chief Concierge.
Hg2 had the privilege of picking Mr. Lyamin’s brain about all things luxury and he gives us his insider tips on the most hedonistic bits of Moscow here.
Lotte Hotel Moscow is a brand new Korean hotel and right after the opening in 2010, the typical guest was just expecting the regular five-star hotel services for a comfortable stay. We managed to win the hearts of our clients and raised the standards to a higher level, which is why we are ranked as #1 hotel in Moscow on TripAdvisor. So now, after almost two years, guests choose our hotel and expect consistency of service and expect that we know their preferences and satisfy their needs. We are focused on what we call “clients’ recognition”.
Moscow now is one of the world’s financial, cultural, political centers of attraction. The majority of our guests are corporate clients who come on business and represent well-known multinational companies. We also have tourists among our clients who come to explore the city with its great history, culture and people. Both categories value convenient hotel location which is close to the historical city centre, main Moscow shopping streets as well as to the business centres such as the Moscow city.
What makes Lotte Hotel stand out from the crowd of other hotels in Moscow?
Lotte Hotel Moscow offers its clients a really unique product of high quality here on the Moscow market. Quality in every detail, impeccable service and of course an individual approach to each guest with a personalised touch are our strongest distinguishing features. The hotel has certain advantages such as advanced technical facilities, spacious rooms, free of charge Wi-Fi, which are appreciated by our guests, several levels of free of charge underground parking. Not all five-star hotels can boast to offer these things to their guests. Besides only in the Lotte Hotel Moscow in Les Menus restaurant and not elsewhere in the city that you can try the culinary creations of the famous Michelin 3-star Chef Pierre Gagnaire.
But what is even more important is our philosophy of “smiling and warm greeting” which is a core stone that allows every single guest in our hotel to feel very like home. We treat every guest as a VIP client, which is why they come to our hotel over and over again.
On average, how many requests do you and your team handle each day? And what’s the most unusual request you’ve ever received?
Myself and the team receive hundreds of different types of requests from our guests. Of course there are some challenging tasks, for example at short notice to find and buy a bag of a certain colour of a trendy fashion brand from a limited collection or bring together a commercial partner for a perfume company that produces fragrances in one copy for billionaires. In my career as a hotel concierge, I once arranged the opening of a museum on the day it was officially closed for a visit of a top world-famous singer. It takes many years of experience and a lot of contacts help to fulfil those tasks. Also we understand that whatever the task or request we have, even if it is a usual routine one such as to make a restaurant reservation, a flight booking or arrange a city tour, it should be done properly, in time and taking into consideration all the guest’s desires.
What’s the hardest ticket to get in town? Of course we know you can get it – but at how short a notice?
Of course after the grand opening of the renovated historical building of one of the best theatres in the world – the Bolshoi Theatre – there was a pother and practically all the performances were sold out. Once on the very eve of such performance, we managed to offer the whole box for the Sheikh’s family, which was really a hard task but we made it possible.
It can be also a sporting game or pop/rock music concert which attracts everyone’s attention. The new Cirque du Soleil show “Zarkana” was very popular. We do our utmost to get tickets for our guests even at a short notice and we can always offer some options or an alternative.
Where do you recommend the hotel’s guests eat? What restaurants in Moscow are everyone talking about right now?
I should say the restaurant business in Moscow is flourishing. Every week there appears several new restaurants, cafes or bars. First of all, we find out what kind of cuisine our clients prefer, shoud it be formal or informal atmosphere and then offer a restaurant to satisfy their taste. Besides the very good hotel restaurants in Lotte – Japanese food at MEGU and French cuisine at Les Menus par Pierre Gagnaire, we recommend the exquisite Russian food restaurants Cafe Pushkin and CDL, trendy restaurants Kalina Bar, Balkon, Sixty, White Rabbit, Uilliam’s, Manon and Tommy D Lounge Bar. Russian cuisine at Pavilion.
What are the hottest clubs in Moscow right now, and how do you guarantee entry for your guests? Is face control still enforced at the best clubs?
Imperia Lounge, Soho Rooms and newly opened The Artist are the hottest ones. The best clubs practice face control and each one has its policy about the dress code. No matter how much money the client has in his pocket, he may be not allowed to enter the club. Of course we talk to our guests explaning the clubs’ rules and frequently reserving the tables with a deposit payment in advance. Needless тo say that we know the management of the clubs and use so called “connections” to arrange entry.
What are the big events in Moscow in 2012?
Some of them are the concerts of Queen and Adam Lambert on the 30th of June, Red Hot Chili Peppers on the 22nd of July, Sting on the 25th of July, of course the concert of Madonna on the 7th of August, Placebo on the 18th of September. Cirque du Soleil is going to present a tribute to Michael Jackson with the same name show in fall. The Bolshoi Theatre has announced the premier in May of the “Jewels” ballet by George Balancine in three parts, a big event in the cultural life of Moscow.
What activities prove most popular with your guests?
Most frequently it is going to a restaurant or a night club, taking a sightseeing tour, for example to see the treasures of the Kremlin, going to see the performance at the Bolshoi Theatre, going shopping, taking a river cruise. We can help our guests with all that and, as we say, open any door for our clients to make their stay memorable.
What openings are you most looking forward to in Moscow this year?
What is most interesting about Moscow is that, besides being a unique and fascinating city, it is also very unpredictable. We are expecting, of course, for more restaurants with affordable prices and good food to open.
We hope that our guests will have a great time here in Moscow and enjoy staying at the Lotte Hotel.