In autumn 2016, American publication U.S. News & World Report ranked the Premier Palace Hotel Kharkiv among the top five hotels in Ukraine. The five-star Kharkiv hotel beat out competition from over 60 of the country’s leading hotels to enter the top five of the rating, which is based on visitor feedback and the assessments of travel industry experts. It was the only representative from the east Ukraine region to earn a place in the top segment of the annual survey.
This kind of acclaim is nothing new for Premier Palace Hotel Kharkiv. Ever since opening its doors for business in December 2011, the hotel has served as a local landmark and the only twenty-first century addition to the remarkable early twentieth century architectural ensemble that rings Kharkiv’s iconic Freedom Square. Despite initial fears that a contemporary hotel complex might spoil the existing aesthetic of the pre-WWII Soviet era buildings surrounding the vast square, the eleven-story Premier Palace has won widespread plaudits for fitting into the existing panorama while also enhancing it with a touch of understated modernity.
This was the first luxury hotel to open in Ukraine’s second city. The interior reflects this status, combining the sophistication of classical hospitality with functionality and the convenience of the latest technological solutions. It features four restaurants, a spa center, swimming pool, and panoramic views of Kharkiv city center.
The hotel opened months before Kharkiv served as one of Ukraine’s four host cities during the Euro 2012 European football championships. Prominent local businessman Oleksandr Yaroslavsky invested USD 126 million in the construction of the hotel – part of an outlay that made him the largest single private investor in Ukraine’s preparations to co-host the championships. During Euro 2012, the hotel served as regional headquarters for UEFA while group stage matches took place in Kharkiv.
This Euro 2012 role served as an eye-catching international debut for the hotel. It has remained a focus of Kharkiv happenings ever since – particularly international events. In the past year, the Premier Palace Hotel Kharkiv has played host to the presentation of the city’s Honorary Consul of the Republic of France and the Honorary Consulate of Austria, as well as serving as the venue for the opening ceremony of the Brazilian Consulate.
Over the past four years, the hotel has hosted more than 1,500 events, with a strong emphasis on the business sector. Highlights include the annual International Business Forum. This focus reflects the long-standing efforts of Mr. Yaroslavsky’s DCH Group to improve the business climate in Ukraine.
The hotel has also served as a venue for top table political dialogue. For example, in May 2014, it hosted an all-Ukrainian round table dedicated to national unity attended by former presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma along with PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. Social events are a key part of the annual calendar, with highlights including the “When Dreams Come True” international charity ball in aid of children affected by the conflict in the Donbas. During the initial stages of the investigation into the July 2014 MH17 disaster, the hotel acted as an impromptu international crisis center.
The latest indication of the hotel’s leading position on the regional hospitality market was the opening of a new regional office of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development within the complex. “The Premier Palace Hotel Kharkiv is a convenient location offering European service standards and operational excellence, which is very important for the EBRD,” commented the EBRD’s Anton Usov. “Using the hotel as a base will help us to more effectively engage with the eastern Ukrainian business community. Mr. Yaroslavsky has created an excellent platform for domestic and international business.”
The arrival of the EBRD is further confirmation of the Premier Palace Kharkiv Hotel’s status as a hub for the Ukrainian business community. It also underlines the hotel’s reputation as a hospitality industry leader in the wider region.