By Viktar Andreev
In all, 26 hotels currently operate in the capital, sleeping almost 6,000 guests. It’s a true challenge to find a room unless you pre-book; only expensive five-star hotels are the exception. Accordingly, many new hotels are being built to meet demand.
Cheap and convenient
Hostels offer cheaper accommodation and are well-known throughout Europe, having appeared around a hundred years ago. They’ve now spread to Africa and Belarus’ Vladimir Romanovich recently set up our first hostel, in the centre of Vitebsk — although he has since had to shift his location to the suburbs. Recently, Minsk gained the Jazz Hostel, in picturesque Mozyrskaya Street, and an economy class hotel opened on the opposite side of the city, near Mogilevskaya metro station. Entrepreneur Dmitry Narkevich’s Postoyalets (Guest) Hostel is a mini-hotel situated in a multi-storeyed residential house. It offers European-level services, hospitable personnel and moderate prices, while each room has Wi-Fi access, a LCD TV (with a dozen satellite channels) and a safe. In addition, guests have a self-service kitchen equipped with utensils, a refrigerator, an electric kettle and microwave oven. Tea, coffee and table games are available free of charge 24 hours a day, while computers are available for hire and fax and Skype services are available.
Minsk hostels are primarily aimed at young people, sports teams and pilgrims, with charges of around $10 per bed at Postoyalets and at the three-storeyed Jazz Hostel.
Return to 19th century
House #11 on Internatsionalnaya Street, an early 20th century building, is currently being restored near Minsk’s Pobeda Cinema. It already enjoys a new facade, balconies and attic floor, regaining its original appearance and, next year, is to house a hotel. The three-storey stone house, with mezzanines, was built in the 1880s for merchant Berko Sutin and housed a hotel for some time. It survived WWII but was remodelled in the 1960s, losing its balconies and some elements of decor, while gaining an archway.
It would have been impossible to restore the original look of the building without archive photos, which depict the roof and its iron balconies. One photo from the mid-20th century and another from a few decades earlier were used by the Centre for Regeneration of Historical-Cultural Landscapes and Territories to plan restoration works.
Places worthy of renown
Some existing hotels are presently undergoing reconstruction, while a Polish bank has allocated credit to construct an extension for the Victoria Hotel, in Pobediteley Avenue, by late 2013. It will offer 259 rooms, conference halls and meeting rooms, a restaurant for 300 guests, a fitness centre with a swimming pool and sauna, a beauty salon and parking. In addition, facilities are being created for those with less mobility.
Construction of the President Hotel is in full swing, occupying the former Oktyabrskaya Hotel building, at the crossroads of Engels and Kirov streets. Meanwhile, the Belarus Hotel is being revamped, with another two floors added to its 22 storeys. Each will gain a modern facade and an observation level on the roof, with works complete by 2013. The five-star Beijing hotel complex will appear in Krasnoarmeiskaya Street’s park zone.
The MT’s reference:
Belarus has 289 hotels, 21 hotel complexes, 3 motels and 4 camp sites. Of these, 38 hotels and 5 hotel complexes enjoy international ‘star’ classification, with 11 in Minsk.