Horror hotel has vacancy for a demolition man

CAN THERE be another building on the planet which is both as monstrously ugly and as unhappily located? For 31 years, the Rossiya Hotel has kept intact its reputation as one of the world's eyesores, a blot on a Moscow landscape that includes such pearls as the Kremlin, Red Square and St Basil's Cathedral. But that bad name may be on the way out.

So monolithic are the vital statistics of this soulless block of glass and concrete that it for years made the record books.

The Rossiya was built by the Soviets as the biggest hotel on earth, a boast it can no longer uphold. It has 3,071 rooms for 5,000 guests and the corridors are of such endless-seeming lengths that Russians jokingly advise visitors to arrive with a compass.

History has not been kind. A fire in 1977 which killed 42 people did not close it. Nor did a plague of rats and cockroaches in 1994. Nor did the murder in January of its director, Yevgeny Tsimbalistov, who was shot inwhat appeared to be a Mafia contract killing. He was the fourth hotel executive to be murdered in Moscow in 18 months.

Small wonder that new investors are not always clamouring at the door. But now claims are circulating in the capital about plans for the hotel, which stands only 200 metres from the Kremlin walls.

Just over a year ago, the city announced a scheme to let it to the New York property tycoon Donald Trump for modernisation. So far that has not materialised. Moscow's city architect, Alexander Kuzmin, has disparagingly described the $85 (pounds 51) a night hotel ($50 for Russians) as a "hostel" - a reflection on its decline from one of the USSR's best establishments into seediness.

Plans have been mooted to refurbish it, divide it into four separate hotels, and to lower its highest points, which rise to 12 storeys, obstructing views to the Kremlin. In fact, according to the hotel's spokesman, no fewer than 120 proposals of various forms have been made. "These are being examined," he said. Equally cagey was the Moscow Association of Hotels. "This is not a simple process. There is an officially adopted concept about the development and reconstruction of the hotel which is signed by the Prime Minister [Viktor Chernomyrdin]. The hotel is supposed to be divided into smaller hotels," explained its spokesman, Anatoly Buligin.

But "official concepts" have a way of being ignored in Russia. Kommersant newspaper recently reported that the search was on for an investor willing to demolish it and build something more appropriate in its place. The newspaper published a front page photograph which "disappeared" the hotel. The resulting cityscape was greatly improved.

Bringing the place down is the difficult bit; building something better, given the ugliness of the place, should be a doddle.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there