''Polimeks Group will continue investing, the cost of reconstruction works of Shamov Hospital isn’t important''
An exclusive interview of Kazan Palace Hotel by Tasigo manager with Realnoe Vremya about the opening of the five-star hotel in Shamov Hospital
Shamov Hospital is getting ready for the long-awaited opening in Kazan, which will become the first five-star Kazan Palace Hotel by Tasigo in the republic after reconstruction. In an exclusive interview with Realnoe Vremya, the hotel's General Manager Ergin Sarp tells about plans to open a museum dedicated to the building's history and projects in Kazan the investor is ready to give money for.
''Tasigo Hotels belongs to Polimeks Group''
Mr Sarp, if we understood correctly, about a month left until the construction is completed in Tasigo Hotels Kazan Palace. When will it open? What a hotel will we see?
Kazan Palace Hotel by Tasigo will be welcoming the first guests in autumn 2018. So we still have 1-1,5 months, it depends on construction works because we'd like to be ready 100%. As you know, this hotel is historical, it's almost 110 years old. That's why we have to be careful about each point to prepare the hotel for our guests. So we'd like to show our respect for the building, first of all. And, of course, it's the cultural treasure of Tatarstan and Russia.
This hotel is the first five-star hotel in Kazan. We completely renovated the historical building. The guest is the most important thing for us when he comes to our house. It is the Turkish hospitality traditions that we want to show and continue.
In addition, we have a unique spa of 800 square metres, an indoor swimming pool, a fully-equipped fitness centre. We will have Turkish hammam, sauna and steam baths.
We also have an international team in our hotel from international hotel chains. My colleagues will assist me to handle and operate this hotel properly. Solutions Leisure Group is the other team we are working with now.
Why did you stop working with Rixos and chose Tasigo Hotels?
Indeed, we had negotiations with Rixos. But now the hotel is opening under our own brand name Tasigo, which will service guests at the same high level. Tasigo Hotels belongs to Polimeks Group, and it already has operating hotels in Eskişehir. Among current projects, I can call a hotel in Istanbul. We have many cultural projects in Turkey as well – the construction of a museum has been almost completed in Eskişehir, there is a couple of projects in Holland. Tasigo Hotels is actively reaching the international level.
What establishments will open in the hotel?
We will have Lock, Stock & Barrel nightclub, it's a No. 1 Dubai's No. 1 entertainment brand, and Asia Asia restaurant, which will offer Pan-Asian cuisine. TOPAZ restaurant will offer a buffet for breakfast. It will also be possible to have a rest in Palace bar and in Kazanda lounge.
How do you plan to use the conference hall?
The conference hall is designed for 550 people. It can transform into several halls for 150-200 people. In addition, the conference hall is suitable for weddings with 350 people. The hotel's main building also has two meeting rooms for 50 people.
''We have a unique spa of 800 square metres, an indoor swimming pool, a fully-equipped fitness centre. We will have Turkish hammam, sauna and steambaths''
''We had a chance to open by the WC but…''
Whom is this hotel for? What's the average bill?
We're expecting guests like, of course, businessmen and international travellers from all over the world. They will enjoy our services and also dive into the historical colour of Kazan.
It's too early to say something about the bill. At this moment, it's not important for us how much revenue we will get, the most important moment is to complete this project properly. And I strongly believe this will bring an additional value for Kazan and Tatarstan tourism. Now Kazan is one of the most popular Russian cities from a perspective of tourism, sport, business tourism, living standards, and it is simply a beautiful city. And we're glad our hotel will decently host top guests by also supporting the city's image. It's very important to invite international travellers and businessmen here and show them real five-star services. This, of course, brings additional costs for the guest.
You missed the FIFA WC. What a tourist do you count on?
Yes, FIFA is one of the biggest organisations. We had a chance to open by the WC but we wanted to be 100% ready, that's why we postponed our opening. Kazan has a lot of attractions, it's a very historical and old city. You can easily find all religions here. It's a unique cultural centre. I strongly believe Kazan has enough to attract international travellers, this is why we didn't rush for the World Cup. We strongly believe that Kazan has unique historical sites that will bring us many businessmen.
I strongly believe Kazan has enough to attract international travellers, this is why we didn't rush for the World Cup. We strongly believe that Kazan has unique historical sites
How complicated was the restoration?
The restoration works were complicated but of great importance for us. During the construction, we got all approvals from the government of Tatarstan. And we are still caring a lot about what we're doing regarding the reconstruction. To save the building's history as much as possible we are creating a museum – it's a small house near the hotel that will have photos of the building in the past and in the present, there will be described the history of construction and eras of its existence as a hospital, there will also be a detailed photo report on the restoration.
How much did the project cost? How much is the payback period?
As I told you, the most important thing to complete this project and add value to Tatarstan tourism. And next year we plan to build an annexe building with 88 rooms additionally. It will be on the territory of the hotel and connected to the main building.
Our hotel belongs to one of the biggest construction companies in Turkey Polimeks Group. It plans to continue investing in Kazan, Tatarstan. The cost of the building isn't important. The most important thing is to pay the maximum attention to the reconstruction and the future hotel. It brings additional costs, of course.
The cost of the building isn't important. The most important thing to pay the maximum attention to the reconstruction and the future hotel. It brings additional costs, of course
''With such a strong economy, Tatarstan has no problem''
Could you tell about the construction project's owner in detail? What a company is it? What is it famous for?
Polimeks Group was established in 1995. Monuments, airports, hospitals have been built since then. Right now the group combines the architectural experience with the passion for elegance, aesthetic and hospitality.
Could you tell about yourself?
I love what I'm doing. I'm a hospitality professional. In the last 15 years, I've worked in many hotels: in Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Libya, Turkey. Now I've been working for Tasigo Hotels as a general manager since 2018. Now my team's target and my personal target is to open the hotel on time.
Before joining Tasigo Hotels, I had been working in one of the best hotels in Turkey – Gloria Hotels. Before I'd been working for Rixos for six years for their hotels as a hotel manager. Now I'm very proud to be part of Polimeks Group and Tasigo Hotels. This is a real challenge for us. But we strongly believe that together we can achieve more. I strongly believe that my team will support me a lot during our opening, thereafter our operation process. We appreciate working with such a nice group of people.
Tatar and Turkish cultures are very similar: cuisines are similar, people live almost in the same way. That's why we very proud to be here, to build this project for Kazan
What difficulties did you face when fulfilling the project in Tatarstan? What was the most difficult thing?
Honestly, Tatarstan is a strong structure and economy. If I am not wrong, Kazan is one of the crowded cities of Russia, on the third or fourth place, 1,2 million people live in Kazan and 3,9 million people live in Tatarstan. There are a lot of attractions, museums, internationally famous clubs like Rubin, UNICS. There is an economic crisis all over the world. With such a strong economy, Tatarstan has no problem. There are a lot of on-going investments we saw during our city tour. And investors come, and they are ready to invest their money in Kazan, Tatarstan. As I told you, we have an on-going project, when we complete this building, we will build an annexe building, which is also an investment.
In addition, one of the most important things is that Tatar and Turkish cultures are very similar: cuisines are similar, people live almost in the same way. That's why we very proud to be here, to build this project for Kazan.
Aren't you afraid of running a business in Russia? How complicated is it? What's the difference in comparison with other countries?
Why? Russia is strong enough. It's one of the biggest economies in the world. So we're not afraid. Today the Turkish and Russian governments have good relations. So Russia is strong enough, we have no doubt. We're not afraid, we continue our investment, and our company continues investing.