The hotel, built in the Stalinist neoclassical style, was onceconsidered the finest luxury hotel in Moscow, with amenities suchas bronze statues, gold accents and a hand-carved wooden ceiling.The property now also boasts an indoor heated swimming pool,fitness and business centers, the Janus restaurant and 10,000 sf ofmeeting and ballroom space, as well as modern amenities in theguestrooms, which were enlarged during the renovation. Room ratesare averaging about $400 USD per night.

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Hilton announced plans in September 2007 to enter the Russianmarket, with as many as 70 of the company's brand properties in thecountry by 2017. The plans include a development alliance withLondon & Regional Properties Ltd. to introduce 25 hotels inRussia by 2014, with the first property a 188-unit Doubletree goinginto a mixed-use project in the center of Novosibirsk, thecountry's third largest city. The company also plans to open aHilton Garden Inn in Perm, Russia by the end of the year.

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Interstate officials said in a statement Tuesday that Moscow isa burgeoning market. "(The city) is one of the fastest-growingcities and strongest economies in the world today, and this is oneof the most recognized hotels in the city," said Henry Ciaffone,president of international operations and development for theArlington, VA-based company. An Interstate spokeswoman did notreturn calls for comment for this story.

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In a statement last year, Ian Carter, chief executive ofHilton's International Operations, said that there's an absence ofinternationally-branded properties throughout Russia. Hilton openedan office in the country, and looks to capture the more than 22million visitors annually to the country, company officials said ina statement.

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