Grand Palace: New hotel in Riga's Old City

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RIGA, Latvia -- One of the newest hotels to arrive on the Riga scene is the Hotel Grand Palace, which opened May 15.

The Grand Palace is housed in a former printing house in the center of Riga's Old City, and approximately $7.5 million was spent to convert it into a hotel.

Individual business travelers, especially from Finland, Russia and Germany, are the Grand Palace's target market.

The hotel aims to be an upscale boutique hotel, and it succeeds. Rooms are well-appointed, and the 90-person staff is eager to please.

Guests will find three dining areas on the lower level. The first is the Pils Bar, a very English-looking and sumptuously decorated bar, complete with chandeliers made from antlers and paintings depicting fox-hunting.

Around the corner is the formal restaurant, Seasons, and, as the name implies, the continental menu changes every season. The 40-seat restaurant is popular with local businessmen.

More casual dining takes place at the 50-seat Orangerie, next to Seasons. On a nice day, this is the place to be because a large skylight provides plenty of light.

For all the good things about Orangerie, there's one mark against it: the music, which was straight out of Lite FM territory.

The Hotel Grand Palace has one meeting room that holds up to 14 people. There is also a small health club.

Most standard rooms look out on Pils Iela, the cobbled street that runs in front of the hotel. Rooms are sizable, with a blue-and-white color scheme and 19th century furniture. All guest rooms have data ports and in-room safes.

Bathrooms have black-and-white tile floors and massive porcelain sinks. Guests also will find a variety of bath amenities.

Suites feature a large sitting room and a walk-in closet and are priced at $370 a night. Standard rooms start at $215, double. All rates include breakfast.

For its first year of operation, the hotel is offering a single rate of $125 a night.

The 56-room hotel is part of the Schloessle Group, a small hotel group owned by Ober-Haus, an Estonian real estate company. Consul Hotels, based in Great Britain's Channel Islands, manages the property.

The hotel also is a member of Summit Hotels and Resorts, a U.S. hotel representation and marketing organization.

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