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St Petersburg Pages

The Best Address in St Petersburg
By Annet Kulyagina

Arguably the best address to stay, if you are visiting St Petersburg, is Nevsky Prospekt, Mikhailovskaya Ulitsa 1/7, where what has been called the most luxurious hotel in St Petersburg, The Grand Hotel Europe, is located in the very heart of the city's historical center and in the middle of its major business and shopping areas. The Grand Hotel Europe skillfully combines a rich history going back to 1830 and turn-of-thecentury elegance, with excellent modern facilities and impeccable service.

This is a national and cultural landmark and is preserved as an historical monument.

The Grand Hotel Europe has traditionally played host to celebrities from all over the world and from all walks of life. Pyotr Tchaikovsky spent his honeymoon here, and for Ivan Turgenev there was no better place in the whole of St. Petersburg. Grigori Rasputin dined here, as did George Bernard Shaw with Maxim Gorky. Dmitri Shostakovich played a sonata for Sergei Prokofiev in the latter's suite, and Elton John performed in L'Europe Restaurant. Former US President Bill Clinton rested in the Lidval Suite. Actress Jane Fonda cooked her own food at the hotel, while Queen Elizabeth II praised the hotel's kitchen.

The hotel is a leisurely walk to the Hermitage Museum, and other attractions from the Mariinsky Theatre to the Church of Christ's Resurrection, (usually called Our Savior of the Blood, as it is built on the site of Tsar Nicholas IIs assassination in 1881) and from the Summer Garden, one of the citys original parks to the Kazanskiy Cathedral, erected to commemorate the heroes of the Patriotic War (1812-1815).

On Nevsky Prospekt coach tours depart throughout the day to outlying attractions such as Peterhof, 29 km from St. Petersburg, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, which Peter the Great chose as his official summer residence.

Following an extensive renovation program between 1989 and 1991, the Grand Hotel Europe won international recognition for its quality and service, became a member of "The Leading Hotels of the World" and received various awards accolades for being "the best hotel in Eastern Europe". Under the management of Orient Express, the Grand Hotel Europe offers guests the highest levels of service and comfort and is the ultimate luxury choice for a stay in Russia's Northern Capital.

For fine dining and a superb wine card, nothing can beat the Grand Hotel Europe. Journey around the world, sampling a taste of the many different cuisines offered in four restaurants. The Caviar Bar specialises in Russian caviars and vodkas, Rossi's brings a touch of the Mediterranean with its Italian menu, Chopsticks brings the Far East much nearer and L'Europe promises elegant French and English dishes. Theres also a Lobby Bar and a Mezzanine Caf, which offer unique settings to relax during the day and provide a perfect meeting places for a drink and light lunch or snacks in the evening.

The Grand Hotel Europe offers its guests gracious elegance and luxurious comfort, something that St. Petersburg has not seen since the era of the Tsars. The Hotel has three hundred and one rooms and suites of truly exceptional quality, replete with handsome period furnishings, tasteful decor and a generous sense of space and comfort.

Guests may choose from several different classes of rooms and suites, from eighty-eight Classic Standard rooms through Classic Historic Rooms and Belle Chambres up to the Presidential Suites and the ultimate in luxury, the Imperial Suite. The complete second and third floors are no smoking areas.

A stay here is truly unforgettable, with luxury oozing from every corner and attentive service at your beck and call, even if you are not on the Butler service floors. Regular summer rates start at 18,000 rubles ($705) or so for a standard room per night, dropping to 11,000 rubles ($431) in low season.

Why not splurge and take advantage of the hotels Escape to Saint Petersburg package and discover the city's stunning cultural heritage with a three night stay including an exciting program with a tour of the Hermitage Museum, a performance at the Mariinsky Theatre, and an excursion to Pushkin including a visit to the Catherine Palace.

The package includes airport transfers, Grand Buffet Breakfast daily in the Europe Restaurant, Russian
The Grand Hotel Europe
St Petersburg
7 (812 ) 329-6000
caviar tasting, and lunch in Podvorje, a Russian restaurant in Pushkin. Rates are high season (May- July and September) 35,117 rubles ($1,377) and low season (August and the rest of the year) 29,082 Rubles ($1,140) per room per night.

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