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Tatarstan raises the hospitality bar

Never let it be said that Euromoney hacks won’t go that extra mile to ensure our readers enjoy the hottest stories from the world’s frontier markets.

But even we have our limits. And at first sight Euromoney’s accommodation for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s annual meeting in Kazan seemed to have gone way past them. Put bluntly, a massive neon hoarding notwithstanding, it had all the visual appeal of an abattoir. And we confess we feared the worst about our time in the capital of Tatarstan.

But as ever in Russia, first impressions count for little. The next morning revealed an altogether brighter picture. The Ryan Johnson complex not only comprised a very pleasant and friendly hotel but also a tennis academy.

Consequently, the route to breakfast each morning involved Euromoney’s eastern Europe correspondent having to squeeze past a gaggle of Maria Sharapova and Anastasia Mishkina wannabes. Don’t say we don’t put ourselves out on your behalf.

It wasn’t just Kazan’s tennis starlets that caught the eye, the city itself proved to be an absolute stunner – some Soviet-era hotels excepted.

A lack of five-star presidential suites, however, meant many of the great and the good of the London investment banking community failed to put in an appearance – a source of lasting disappointment to the owners of Kazan’s lapdancing clubs, no doubt.

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