At a Glance
This large hotel located just off the Nevsky Prospect has a storied Russian history—it is where Tchaikovsky spent his honeymoon and was a favorite with Dostoevsky.
- The Caviar Bar & Restaurant with its very own caviar and vodka sommelier.
- The historic suites each which are of museum quality taking you back to another era.
- Tchaikovsky night at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, L’Europe, where you can catch a timeless classical performance by the city’s best dancers.
- It’s 24/7 iconic lobby bar - a mainstay on the St. Petersburg social scene.
Dating from 1824, the building that is home to the Grand Hotel Europe was first used as a hotel from 1830 when Carlo Rossi (responsible for much of St. Petersburg’s distinctive yellow-and-white architecture) combined four buildings under one façade. As with much of St. Petersburg, the sense of history is palpable, especially in the oldest part of the building where Maxim Gorky once met George Bernard Shaw for a drink in the Art Nouveau Lobby Bar. The opulent public spaces betray nothing of the hotel’s former incarnations as an orphanage during the First World War, a hospital during the Occupation and its dilapidation during the Soviet era.
The hotel was one of the first to be renovated and modernized after the fall of the Soviet Union, and while it has undergone more recent refurbishments, the rooms could do with an updating. However, it does feature many restored original elements and historical ornaments that were in storage at the Hermitage since the Occupation.
Today managed by Belmond, the hotel has 266 rooms and 47 suites that differ hugely in price, view, style, size and amenities. Classic rooms are large in comparison to European hotels, and all feature seating areas, marble bathrooms and reproduction historical furnishings. The classic rooms were renovated in 2018 and somehow still feel tired even after refurbishment, and the standard rooms at the hotel have a corporate, cookie-cutter feel and lack a real sense of place. The Terrace Rooms, however, while not much larger than a standard room, boast enormous windows and terraces looking out to the spectacular Church of Spilled Blood.
For something more luxurious, the ten Historic Suites on the second floor were conceived by French designer Michel Jouannet who favors the clean lines of traditional classicism and used an abundance of silk and rich furnishing. These suites all boast Italian marble bathrooms and views of the Alexander Pushkin statue in Arts Square.
Each of the suites is named after a Russian composer, family, or iconic sight, such as Stravinsky, Mariinsky, and Romanoff. They are all unique and special offering museum level quality. The Belmond can guarantee a specific historic suite in advance, so be sure to have your trip designer inquire for photos. For those who prefer more modern rooms, the hotel has an avant-garde section of rooms and suites though these feel slightly out of place in this historical hotel.
With a host of dining options, guests can experience Russian, French, Chinese and Italian cuisine under the same roof, plus eat breakfast to the sound of a harpist and indulge on the hotel’s housemade chocolate from Dominique’s at Delizie by Cipriani at the hotel’s Mezzanine Café. True highlights are the Art Nouveau L’Europe with a French inspired, fine-dining menu and the traditionally traditional Caviar Bar & Restaurant with its own vodka and caviar sommelier. Every Friday at 7pm, you can enjoy Tchaikovsky night at L’Europe and watch a performance by the city’s best dancers and a chamber orchestra while you dine in old-world surroundings.
Who Should Stay
Those seeking a central, buzzy location near St. Petersburg’s best shopping (located right off Nevsky Prospect) and sights would be happy at the Belmond. This hotel is best for those who are looking for a museum-like room/suite experience while in St. Petersburg. Though components of the hotel are in need of a refresh, the Belmond’s special suites, large general footprint of the hotel and its wealth of dining offerings make it a good option in the city.
Written by Indagare