Marina Gulyanitskaya, ALFAVITO: «Your names make our history!»

An unusual hotel opened in Kiev in 2012, it has become popular not only with travellers, but also with the representatives of the arts community from the very beginning. The reason is that ALFAVITO hotel management set the goal to open not just a comfortable hotel, but to build a unique creative world, an art venue for exhibitions, theatre performances, concerts, literature meetings. In pursuance of patronship traditions, ALFAVITO actively helps young talented people, holds charitable events. Frequent guests admit, that the time they have spend at the hotel is always a small trip into the pages of their favourite books, ballet and opera librettos, famous paintings.

Despite the fact, that the hotel describes itself as an art hotel, its staff is actively engaged in attracting business travellers. In October 2013 ALFAVITO successfully completed the Business and Conference Hotel Attestation Program of the Russian Association of Business Travel and was certified as a business and conference hotel.

We have talked to Marina Gulyanitskaya, sales and marketing director, about the life in ALFAVITO style, special business rooms and plans for 2014.

— Marina, how did the idea to open an art hotel appear? Is it a tribute to fashion, a special marketing ploy, an opportunity to be surrounded with beautiful things, or maybe a non-realized wish to be an artist?

— We gathered a lot of ideas, that we wanted to bring into life; besides, this niche was not occupied in Kiev. The elegant hotel interiors remind us of the bygone Kiev of Alexander Vertinsky and Anna Akhmatova. The hotel lobby is decorated with stained glass panels by Vladimir Nerodnenko, the Ukrainian craftsman, and with the paintings of Igor Gubsky and Viktor Zaretsky. Besides, the hotel has held exhibitions of Olga Kovtun, Vita Khaidurova, Arush Votsmush, Igor Timtchuk, Anatoly Krivolap, Alexander Roitburd, Petr Bevza, Viktor Lebedinets, Vladislav Shereshevsky, Elena Priduvalova. At the moment the exhibition of young Kiev painters Marina Orlova and Leonid Pavlenko is open in FORTE bar. We are proud of the fact, that we are not just an ordinary hotel, but a real art venue. Our guests know, that if they stay at ALFAVITO, they get not only excellent service, but also an opportunity to attend exhibitions of fashionable artists.

We are famous outside Kiev as well. For example, not long ago ALFAVITO won the nomination of the best art hotel of the national Hospitality Awards 2013.

— ALFAVITO is the favourite hotel of many artists. Famous actors, painters, pop singers often stay at your hotel. Is it hard to work with star guests? Whose stay was especially remarkable?

— The most famous world stars have stayed at our hotel: Iosif Kobzon, Tamara Gverdtsiteli, Lev Leschenko, Nikolay Rastorguev, Valery Meladze, Diana Arbenina, Nino Katamadze, Mikhail Efremov, BI-2, Elizaveta Boyarskaya, The Rasmus, De Phazz, Ingrid, Status Quo, G3 and many others. We pay maximum attention and care about every guest irrespective of his star status. For the same reason it is very difficult to single out someone in particular — every star guest has his own unique charisma and charm. ALFAVITO’s zest is its own collection of autographs of famous people who stayed at our hotel.

— How often do business travellers stay at your hotel?

— Our focus is the business segment, this is why business travellers stay at ALFAVITO quite often. This fact is proved by high demand for business services and high occupancy rate of our conference halls.

— ALFAVITO is the first Ukrainian hotel that successfully completed the Business and Conference Hotel Attestation Program of the Russian Association of Business Travel and was certified as a business and conference hotel. Please, tell us, why did you decide to complete the attestation procedure?

— Business travellers from Russia and the CIS hold one of the leading positions on the modern hotel market of the Ukraine. The representatives of this market segment are offered a wide choice of events venues and appreciate the high level of services provided by the hotel as a package. So we decided to be the first in the Ukraine and to participate in the Business and Conference Hotel Attestation Program of the Russian Association of Business Travel. An independent expert inspected our hotel and checked more than 1900 parameters of technical facilities and the service level. As the result ALFAVITO got 95,19% out of 100%. Our award is the sign of the high service level and our ambition to grow and develop constantly.

— The hotel offers business rooms that are specially designed for business travellers. In what way do they differ from standard rooms? What other business services does ALFAVITO offer?

— Business rooms are equipped with modern office appliances, namely: a notepad, a fax, a printer, a copier, a scanner and a comfortable working desk. We create a special working atmosphere for business travellers, so we have not only equipped business rooms, but also offered them a business centre. Besides, the hotel has seven halls for meetings and conferences with capacities from 10 to 150 persons. Every hall is equipped with a multimedia projector, a screen, a sound enhancement system and other necessary equipment. ALFAVITO is an ideal place for conferences, symposiums, trainings, seminars, official presentations and talks.

— Please describe a business traveller who chooses ALFAVITO. How does he or she spend evenings? What does he usually have for breakfast? What things does he have in his room?

— Our business traveller is a man or a woman 28-40 years old with an income above average, demanding to himself and others. He has certain criteria of hotel choice: convenient location, neatness and comfort, the price, recommendations of his friends and colleagues, a certain range of services (conference rooms, concierge services, a transfer, dry clean, laundry etc.).

Our hotel has tried to take into account all the possible requirements and wishes of business travellers. Every day from 7:00 to 11:00 aromatic Viennese coffee Julius Meinl is served in the lobby. Unlimited buffet breakfast is served from 7:00 to 11:00 in the PIANO restaurant, that has capacity of 130 persons and offers international cuisine, and from 11:00 to 23:00 a la carte orders are served. The special breakfast menu from the chef of the restaurant will satisfy even the most demanding gourmands. It includes croissants, dried fruit and nuts, seasonal fruit, sliced meat and fish, dairy products, garnishings and porridges. In the evenings live music is played at Bechstein piano in PIANO. Those, who are willing to join the world of beauty, harmony and calmness, can visit our beauty centre, Elixir CLUB by Yuriy Tsarov with the best maitres of the Ukraine.

All the rooms are ideally suited for business travellers as well as for individual tourists: a comfortable working desk, a phone, free high speed Wifi, a safe, a mini bar, satellite TV, individual conditioning. Besides, the hotel has rooms for disabled and allergic guests. Safety is ensured by video surveillance around the hotel building and in its public places.

— Does your hotel offer any loyalty programs?

— Our frequent guests get 10%, 15% and 20 % discount cards, which let their owners get discounts for rooms, the PIANO restaurant, the FORTE cafe, the lobby bar, Double Decker cafe, the summer veranda and our beauty centre Elixir CLUB by Yuriy Tsarov.

ALFAVITO staff monitor reviews about the hotel on a daily basis. In our opinion, work like that is a necessary component of successful development of any company. We discuss every review and give our answer. We congratulate our frequent guests on their birthdays and other big dates; our confectionery offers them a sweet compliment, champagne and flowers for wedding days and anniversaries.

— A business and conference hotel status is a great opportunity to ...

— ... grow professionally in the business travel segment.

— Tell us about the main innovations that have taken place in the hotel for the past few months. Which of these innovations were recommended by the Association during or after the attestation procedure?

— After the attestation we broadened the menus of coffee breaks, business lunches and business dinners and their price range. We have regular training programs for the staff and control the quality of services provided, so that every guest of the hotel or the restaurant can feel our care and the cozy homelike atmosphere.

— What is a standard timetable of a business traveler who stays at ALFAVITO?

— First of all, I would like to point out the hotel’s convenient location in the centre of Kiev. This lets you save a considerable amount of time and money, because the main places of interest, business areas, trade centres are within a walking distance. Everything is very convenient and logical inside the hotel as well. Due to this fact you can easily plan your day. The guest wakes up, goes downstairs for breakfast or has genuine Viennese coffee Julius Meinl, which is served every morning on the floors of the hotel free of charge, after this he proceeds to the conference hall to attend his scheduled events and business meetings. In the evening after a hard working day he can have dinner accompanied by the concert grand piano, arrange a banquet or a standing reception, where he can discuss various questions in an unofficial atmosphere.

— ALFAVITO has won many awards and nominations: «100 best Ukrainian hotels 2013» according to the Tourism and Resort Council of the Ukraine, «Top 20 Ukrainian hotels» according to TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice 2013, «Art hotel of the year 2012», «Art hotel of the year 2013». Which award is especially precious for you?

— Every award is precious for us, because they all prove the high level of ALFAVITO`s accommodation and restaurant services. So we are proud to bear all these titles and are grateful to our guests for their choice.

— What surprises has ALFAVITO prepared for its guests in 2014?

— One of the main surprises is the opening of a new designer summer terrace, that will become a popular place for business meetings and hobnobs. ALFAVITO is one of the few hotels in the centre of Kiev that has its own small park, the design of which will be renewed this year. Besides, we have planned a lot of interesting art events: exhibitions of famous Ukrainian and Russian painters, literature evenings, performances, classical and modern concerts.

Sofiya Dukorskaya