St.Petersburg’s rich history can be found as one strolls up and down every street, and inside every little shop and restaurant; within the grand walls of every awe-inspiring palace, painted in the past, and with every foot that touches upon every stage.
And if possible, one must take in a performance or two while visiting, as Russian ballet is known all over the world for exquisite performances, there is luckily, [and nearby] The Hermitage Theatre—just one of the lovely possibilities.
Come away with us, on an adventure in beauty and culture, as we catch a glimpse of the enchanting city of St. Petersburg, Russia . . .
WHERE TO STAY // WHERE TO EAT // WHAT TO PACK
01 | Taleon Imperial Hotel
The exquisite and quintessential Taleon Imperial Hotel is, in fact, the only modern luxury hotel in St.Petersburg built in the XVIIIth century. A relatively smaller hotel, with just 89 rooms, each space has been decorated with its own architecture and design.
One cannot help but stare at the opulent ceilings and intricate floors—indeed, not a single detail has gone amiss; paintings and antiques made of bronze and marble decorate the rooms, and powder rooms feature Villeroy& Boch fixtures, malachite and marble, and finished with signature Hermès towels and dressing gowns by Frette.
In addition to the luxurious rooms and suites, the hotel has one of the most exclusive health clubs in St.Petersburg, offering many fitness and leisure activities.
And as an a lovely activity, [during warmer months of the year] water taxis and speed-boats wait at the quay in front of the hotel and offer guests a tour of the city, by water.
02 | The Hotel Astoria
Providing an authentic, five-star experience, the stately Hotel Astoria is nothing short of first-class elegance and luxurious comfort. Capturing the grandeur synonymous with the city’s history, The Astoria offers 210 rooms in total, and from many of the rooms, breathtaking views over the bustling St.Isaac’s Square.
Known for its authentic Russian cuisine, the Astoria offers an exquisite selection of chilled vodkas and the best Russian caviar.
There is also a luxurious spa, complete with a sauna and steam rooms—a perfect place to escape to after a busy day of sightseeing. The Astoria is one of St. Petersburg’s most esteemed accommodations and a first choice for many visitors, worldwide.
03 | W St. Petersburg
Above, the Chapel at Peterhof Palace, just outside the city
As with all W Hotels, The W in St.Petersburg is welcoming, fresh and modern. Made up of clean, contemporary lines with a slight nod to the historical opulence of Russia, the W welcomes guests with bold blocks of color and furnishings that warm the spaces perfectly.
Intricate, diamond-cut lacquered walls, private balconies and courtyard views, 350-thread-count linens and luxe furnishings by B&B Italia, are just a few of the things one can expect, as well as unexpected touches throughout, such the beautiful [& romantic] shadows cast by the Orten’zia Very Very Gold pendant lamp from Terzani, which, coincidentally, was featured here, a few years ago. . .
Above, The Hermitage Museum, “Room 348, St. Petersburg”, photographic work by Andrew Moore
” . . . a modern wonder romanced by St Petersburg’s elegant traditions, where nostalgia meets cutting edge cool in Russia’s historical capital of glamour, fashion, and music.“
Above, Eros and Psyche, Letniy Sad [Summer Garden]
Award-winning architects and designers, Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, conceptualized the design of the hotel, located centrally in the historical “Venice of the North” next to St. Isaac’s Cathedral, The Winter Palace with the Hermitage Museum, and a not more than a short stroll from the spectacular Neva River.
01 | Restoran
When in St. Petersburg, many enjoying stopping in at Restoran, for authentic Russian cuisine. The atmosphere is light and spacious and welcoming.
Nothing is too perfect; time-worn surfaces such wood floors and rough plastering, a fireplace, and an old stove with traditional samovars are celebrated and in fact, appreciated, while grand antique mirrors and empty picture frames decorate the refreshingly unpretentious walls.
And for added charm, numerous little lamps light the place and take one back to the present. One can expect traditional cooking, and in a cast iron pot no less. The menu features include pickled cabbage, cucumbers, and aubergines.
Named by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the world’s 100 best restaurants—it is quite plain to see why.
02 | Mari Vanna
A secret restaurant of sorts, as there is no large sign outside Mari Vanna to let one know you are in the right place, no hours posted in the window. No, this cozy restaurant welcomes you just as a dear friend’s home might—and even as with a friend’s home, the front door is locked. However, initially odd this may seem, reviews reveal that this unusual place is nothing short of welcoming and wonderful, and this is all part of the plan to make all guests feel at ease and at home.
A restaurant that welcomes couples and families, one can relax and enjoy the delicious food, while children are occupied with colouring books, games and such. The charming, hand-written menus feature authentic Soviet and Russian home cooking.
As an added bonus, if you are intrigued, but unable to make it to Russia, they have opened a location in New York as well!
03 | Palkin
An experience in aristocratic Russian cuisine since 1874, Palkin is the oldest restaurant in St. Petersburg, and many would say that it is one of the most fashionable. Soaring ceilings, elaborate stucco work, chandeliers and grand pianos intermingle and add to the enchanting atmosphere of days gone by . . .
In fact, the very same amazing dishes that once graced the tables of Russia’s Tsars and Tsarinas are also served today — a mixture of Russian, European, Seafood, and French, this restaurant is certain to delight even the most particular of guests who visit with a memorable experience.
Above, from the Carolina Herrera Pre-Fall 2012 runway collection
While winters may be quite severe in Russia, bundled beneath layers of faux fur, cashmere and other such cozy knits, one could hardly mind. Turning to the ever-stylish Russian fashion designer & photographer, Ulyana Sergeenko, and her trademark romantic and feminine style, for inspiration, perhaps warmth and drama may be just the thing when visiting St. Petersburg during the chilly winter months . . .