MOSCOW (AP) -- A historic hotel in Moscow, which hosted Michael Jackson and Vladimir Lenin over the past century, has been sold at auction.
The Hotel Metropol was sold today for $275 million at an auction organized by the Moscow city government as part of its privatization program. The winning bid was slightly more expensive than the starting price of $272 million.
The buyer is a major Russian hotel chain that rented the Metropol from the Moscow city government.
One of Moscow's most distinctive buildings, the six-story hotel opened in 1901 and was a paragon of Russians' growing prosperity and confidence. But 17 years later, it took on a far different role, when Bolsheviks decided to move their government from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The hotel was appropriated to become the Second House of the Soviets.
A large plaque on the exterior notes that between 1918 and 1919, Lenin gave reports and speeches in the hotel.
The Metropol became the home and office of virtually all foreign journalists allowed to work in the USSR during World War II.
Despite its storied history and reputation, hotel review websites suggest the Metropol's rooms often are in need of spiffing up.