History

The management company of the SwissCenter Group owns and operates the following companies: the Helvetia Hotel, which is a four-star deluxe hotel with 75 rooms and suites, offering a full range of concierge and conference services; two restaurants, the Marius and Café Claret; Rustravel and the Premier Club, two in-coming travel companies.

The SwissCenter Group also includes the Hellenika Centre, founded for the promotion of cultural, economic and scientific ties between St Petersburg and Switzerland as well as with other European countries. The centre arranges educational tours, on-the-job professional training and cultural exchanges. 

The SwissCenter Group is represented by a team of committed and professional specialists with many years of experience in managing hotels and directing other aspects of the hospitality industry. The company continues to be successful because of a firm belief in being reliable, in acting professionally and in maintaining Swiss standards of guest service.  

1993 - 1998

The Swiss Centre was founded in May 1993 as one of St Petersburg’s earliest cooperative joint enterprises in the new Russian economy. In 2010 the company was restructured into the SwissCenter Group of companies.  

Our founding partners

Mrs Madeleine Isabelle Lüthi graduated from the University of Bern in 1996. From 1998 to 2006 she was Honorary Consul General of Switzerland in St Petersburg.

Yunis Teimurkhanli graduated from the faculty of Far Eastern Studies at Leningrad State University in 1993. 

In the first year of the Swiss Centre’s founding at 11 Marata Street in St Petersburg, the company began to specialise in bringing tourists to Russia. The group’s headquarters were established in the Khristovsky mansion, which Petersburg architect August Lange (1818-1881) reconstructed in the style of New Baroque in the mid nineteenth century. Though born in Russia, it was round this time that Lange became a citizen of Switzerland. 

The group’s first subsidiary company was Rustravel, which was founded in December 1994.

1998 - 2003

With the cooperation of the Swiss Centre, the first Consulate General of Switzerland in St Petersburg since the revolution was established at 11 Marata Street in 1998. The first Honorary Consul General became Madeleine Isabelle Lüthi. The Swiss Consulate remained in the Marata location until 2006.

From 2000 till 2003, the Swiss Centre, under the direction of Petersburg architect Yury Ilin, carried out a series of projects to renovate the impressive architecture of the Khristovsky mansion and its unique Swiss-style courtyard. On completing the work, the centre opened a hotel that seemed to represent an historical continuation of the Khristovsky family, who had rented out flats in the building behind their mansion during the 19th century.

In May 2003, during the year of St Petersburg’s tercentennial celebration, the Helvetia Hotel opened as the city’s only Swiss hotel. The hotel’s restaurant, the Marius, became the first and only Swiss pub in town.

2006 - 2009

June 2006. Madeleine Lüthi, St Petersburg’s first Honorary Consul General of Switzerland since 1917, opened the Hellenika Cultural Centre to promote cultural exchanges between Switzerland and St Petersburg.

October 2006. Roberto Martinez, of Spain, opened the Premier Club to promote Russian tourism in Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

May 2009. The SwissCenter Group opened the Claret Café in their building on Marata Street. 

2010 - 2014