St. Petersburg Travel Guide
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In continuing with our luxury hotel news today, we just wanted to inform you that the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace in St. Petersburg will be opening this Sunday, July 7. Reservations for the hotel opened up back in April but that was when we thought the hotel was opening August 1. Now it's practically a month ahead of schedule. We likey.
The hotel has 151 rooms and 26 suites, all with views of either Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, the Aleksandrovsky Garden or the landmark Admiralty. Yet despite this being a new hotel, it's not entirely new money here. The Lion Palace dates back to the early 19th century when it was an apartment building for Russian royalty which was guarded by two marble lions. It was even name-checked in a poem by Alexander Pushkin in 1833, The Bronze Horseman. It's a perfect fit for Four Seasons.
As for the guest rooms, they are very much in the traditional and subdued Four Seasons style, as opposed to any Russian glitz. But they will have all the modern amenities such as a full marble bathroom, giant flat-screen TVs, another TV set within the bathroom mirror and high-speed internet along with toiletries from L'Occitane, Hermès and Bulgari.
While we were hoping for a late 2012 opening when we had a first look at some of its photos, things rarely go our way like that in a world of hotel delays, but reservations for Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace in St. Petersburg have now finally started for arrivals from August 1 this year. And as a bonus, the group has confirmed the long in the works Four Seasons Moscow, due later in 2013 right next to the capital’s Red Square, as well.
Dating back to the early 19th century, Four Seasons Lion Palace started its life as an apartment building for the city’s elite, and was famous enough in its day to be captured by Alexander Pushkin in 1833 in his poem The Bronze Horseman.
Though we managed a quick report on the opening of W St. Petersburg in 2011, we haven't since heard too much, hotel-wise, from the land of the tsars. But buzz is starting to build around the Four Seasons St. Petersburg, which is housed inside a 19th century Russian palace.
The hotel's website is up and running, complete with photos of the rooms, but it's a bit of a tease, as an actual opening date has been pushed back to "late-2012," and reservations remain closed.
A few weeks ago, The W St. Petersburg in Russia finally opened and thanks to a very friendly tipster, we've got an inside look at some of the public spaces and a guest room.
Given that W Hotels have missed the mark a few times in the last couple of years as far as design (W Boston, W London), we're quite relieved to see that this W is just downright pretty. We particularly love the cozy warmth of the Living Room and the kailedoscope lights that hang from the ceiling in the guestroom. But the TV stand is a little funky and there may be a bit of an anti-view.
But how is it actually spending the night here? Our tipster reports back:
The hotel is fantastic! Design is cool, stuff are very professional (which are not typical for the new hotels especially in Russia). Everything is opened now (Bliss, Restaurant, Bar). The roof top terrace (the best part of the hotel with unforgettable view will be opened in June). Unfortunately there is no W party mood now but I hope they will change it soon. The worst thing is the price - from 600 USD for wonderful room.
We've been spending too much time worrying about the opening of W London we nearly forgot about The W St. Petersburg. But thanks to our handy Master List of Worldwide Openings for 2011, we were reminded to see how this property was doing.
The good news? The opening date is still set for March 1. And you can even make reservations. The bad news is rooms don't really open until April 1.
We found rooms from April 1-3 for 8100 Rubles a night which is about $268. Not bad! Sadly, internet is still 750 rubles for 24 hours which works out to be $25 a day.
Nevertheless, when the hotel opens in March it promises "spectacular views of St. Issac’s Cathedral" and a happening bar scene where "mingling and cocktails are the new social glasnost." (Note: fortunately the phrase "communist cool" is not found anywhere on the site.) You can also expect a terrace bar, a spa and a WET pool on-site.
This is pretty. What two boys did to the hotel pool is not.
Not too long ago, we listed 10 grossest things we've found during our hotel adventures but we think the folks staying at the five-star Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg, Fla. have something that can top the list.
According to this local news report, two boys scaled a security fence and did the unmentionable in the hotel's pool. (Hint: it involves #2.) The report is vom-inducing and not worth repeating here but it is as every bit gross as you would think. Seriously, we're not sure monkeys at the zoo would do this sort of thing. Spaulding would definitely not be safe here.
Fortunately, the two kids were arrested and have been charged with commercial burglary. The hotel also went out of its way to refund guests for their stays as they were not able to use the pool while it was drained and sterilized. We can only pray this sort of thing never happens to you.
Russia Hotel Guide / St. Petersburg Hotels / Orient-Express Hotels / Super Secret Hotel Mavens / Russian Hotels for Ballers / → All Tags
Our Super Secret Hotel Maven network extends far and wide and thanks to another SSHM, we have a mini-guide to Russia's luxe hotels--perfect for ballers, high-rollers and Russian mobsters. It's a mini-guide because it's really only a few hotels in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Up next: The Grand Hotel Europe. Enjoy.
Now on to my favorite hotel in St. Petersburg, Grand Hotel Europe. I actually didn't want to like this place, because well, it's an Orient Express property. And frankly, when I think of Orient Express, I think of Ben-Gay stank old ladies. The hotel is thankfully in a bustling part of St. Petersburg.
Before I made my way over to this area, known as Nevsky Prospekt, I thought that all of St. Petersburg was sitting at home, scared to come out... but no! People shop here! They go on walks! They go out to eat! Before I even saw the building itself, just seeing the neighborhood of this hotel had me at hello, but those hellos just kept coming.
Our Super Secret Hotel Maven network extends far and wide and thanks to another SSHM, we have a mini-guide to Russia's luxe hotels--perfect for ballers, high-rollers and Russian mobsters. It's a mini-guide because it's really only a few hotels in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Up next: The Eliseev Palace and Hotel Angleterre. Enjoy.
St. Petersburg is a lovely city, I guess. The architecture is delightfully institutional. The snow, I mean slush, is a wonderful hue of mocha. And nothing says warm and fuzzy like Russia, right?
When it comes to the sites, St. Petersburg is all history--lots of palaces and museums and pretty things. Pretty things get boring, though, so this hotel freak decided to give in to addiction and give the sites the finger. Instead, I opted to tour the city's most famous hotels, and I am so glad I did because I can share my notes with you!
I already gave you a rundown of the spot I was calling home, Hotel Astoria, which was fine enough, but I felt I owed it to America to find something a hair better.
Though Four Seasons has promised a hotel coming to St. Petersburg (perhaps opening on the same cold day in hell, I mean Russia, that the "two" Moscow locations will open), we've got to work with what there is for now, and what there is has been there for a long, freakin' time.
Our Super Secret Hotel Maven network extends far and wide and thanks to another SSHM, we have a mini-guide to Russia's luxe hotels--perfect for ballers, high-rollers and Russian mobsters. It's a mini-guide because it's really only a few hotels in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Up first: The Hotel Astoria. Enjoy.
It's not easy to travel to Russia if you're a picky Angeleno with the sniffles. Recently, though, I did the difficult and braved the subzero temperatures. I saw the two main cities, St. Petersburg and Moscow, and explored the cultural treasures of each. More importantly, though, I made stops at each of the city's key hotels for tours of the facilities and rooms, and have smuggled my reports back to familiar soil.
Not content to let Hilton have all the world-dominating fun, Starwood plans to open a W Hotel in St. Petersburg, Russia by summer of 2008. Looks like the motto is ever-eastward, now that the chain's two Middle East outposts are underway. What should we expect from the first Russian W?
The W St. Petersburg is centrally located south of the Neva River in the historic centre of St. Petersburg, with many of the city's cathedrals, museums and palaces accessible by foot. The hotel will be located on Voznesensky Prospect, between St. Isaac's Square and the Admiralty, just a stone's throw from the lavish Winter Palace which houses the world famous Hermitage Museum. From their rooms, hotel guests will enjoy spectacular views of the landmark gold-domed St. Isaac's Cathedral.
Current plans call for the hotel to have about 135 rooms and the W's 24-hour concierge service. Maybe that concierge could point us to some free in-room WiFi?
If you want to be seen in St. Petersburg, Russia, you've got to be on Nevsky Prospekt, the promenading main street where all the pretty young things strut their stuff. And the best place to stay or even just to buy a drink and sit on the street is the Grand Hotel Europe, proudly in the middle of this famous stretch.
Even the name tells you it's the place to be: this is not the Grand Hotel St. Petersburg, or even Russia, but the Grand Hotel EUROPE. On top of this, they've just renovated AND have their own chocolate factory.
Okay, whether it really is the best place to stay or not is debatable, as a lot of guests think it relies on its historical charm rather than providing a modern, satisfactory service. Others think that caviar for breakfast, accompanied by harp music, is the way to experience Russia's prettiest city. Whatever your opinion, there have been plenty of impressive footsteps before you, since a whole gamut of fame ranging from Tchaikovsky through Elton John to Bill Clinton have rested their heads here.
Personally, we think indulging in a snack or a creamy cocktail on the deck out the front is the best way to experience Nevsky Prospekt and spend a relaxing afternoon people-watching. You'll be in good company, even if the staff try to hurry you along.
If you have stayed at the Grand Hotel Europe and have pictures, send them our way as we detest posting photos from hotel web sites like the one above.