The 2018 World Cup offers MICE groups an inside look at Russia’s culture and charms. When MICE professionals who participated in our 2017 Europe Destination Report named Russia one of the new destinations that has captured their interest, we weren’t surprised.
The country, like the popular wooden nesting dolls known as matryoshkas, holds more than we see at first glance. Even in the comparatively familiar cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, it’s possible to plan itineraries that provide groups with a chance to experience more of Russia than tourists typically get to see.
Metropolis or countryside? Adventure sports or all-night outings? Beach or mountains? When it comes to accommodations in Russia, you can choose to have it all.
- Moscow. Of course, meeting and conference facilities here include a mix of historic and contemporary hotels with a cosmopolitan vibe. The Marriott Tverskaya, for example, combines a boutique atmosphere with elegant features like a glass-roof atrium for visually memorable events. But on a forest property near the River Desna, the Hotel Vatutinki presents the option of an urban escape. Here, highlights of your conference or small-group event can include barbeques in a forest glade—all just 16 kilometers southwest of the city.
How to reach Moscow?
Take a look at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport
- St. Petersburg. The Belmond Grand Hotel Europe has played a central role in the life of the city for 140 years. A truly iconic building, it stands on Nevsky Prospekt among the city’s great architectural treasures — renowned for its impressive façade and decorative interiors.
- Sochi. MICE groups will find something for everyone in this city, which boasts an especially privileged location in Russia. Hotels include the Radisson Blu Resort & Congress Center, which features 10,000 square meters of meeting and event facilities. It’s located on the coast of the Black Sea in the area known as the Russian Riviera, where beaches are set against a backdrop of the Caucasus mountains.
With so many kinds of experiences available, you won’t have a problem finding just the right setting for any event you’re planning.
Appetite for international fare
The country serves surprises in its restaurants and resort dining rooms. If you’re expecting an unvaried menu of traditional meat-and-potato meals, you don’t know contemporary Russia.
Five of Moscow’s top ten rated restaurants on Trip Advisor are called “vegetarian friendly.” The capital is home to people of 130 nationalities, which adds an international flavor to dining out there. And the trend is equally popular in other Russian destinations. The Lotte Hotel brings Japanese, Mediterranean, pan-Asian, Mexican, and Russian fare to visitors and locals in St. Petersburg, and authentic local specialties are complemented by Japanese and Mediterranean fare at the Radisson Blu in Sochi.
Memory-making group activities
Among the unforgettable group experiences in Moscow are boat rides on the canal, bike tours, pub crawls, and matryoshka painting classes. The most uniquely Russian attraction may be the cosmonaut training center Star City. Visitors can explore a life-size replica of the Mir space station and even participate in a simulated rocket launch or zero-gravity flight.
MICE itineraries don’t usually make much room for museums, but groups may want to make an exception in St. Petersburg, home of the Museum of Russian Vodka, where you tour and taste. Another memorably Russian activity here: cooking classes run by a professional chef who teaches you to prepare the local cuisine.
And bring your inner daredevil with you if your group is headed to Sochi. The city’s SkyPark will test your nerve as you navigate the 439-meter SkyBridge, which is suspended 207 meters above the Karsnaya Polyana Valley. Need even more of an adrenalin rush? Try bungee-jumping from the observation deck at the midway point or brave the 700-meter MegaTroll zipline. After all that heart-pounding action, relax on the beach or stroll through the local parks and botanic gardens.
As you can see, there’s much more to Russia than tours of Red Square and the Hermitage. This is a land whose architecture and language will tell you in an instant that you’re not in Western Europe. Yet it’s all accessible via flights of just a few hours’ duration.
With so much to do and see, a visitor to Russia will find the country very much like a matryoshka that keeps opening to reveal yet another facet of itself. What experiences will it open to you and your groups? The possibilities are endless. To learn how Pro Sky can assist you in organizing your unforgettable Russian travel experience, get in touch with our GROUP FLIGHTS EXPERTS.
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