If clients are looking for a city full of museums, cathedrals, art, and palaces, St. Petersburg is the city for them. It’s brimming with history but also provides all the modern convenience of any European city. And with almost five million people, it’s the continent’s fourth largest city. While Moscow has a booming 21st century business center with newer buildings, St. Petersburg has opted to maintain its historical roots. The baroque bridges and architecture make travelers feel like they’re stepping back in time.
When to Go
Average temperatures range from the high- 60s to mid-70s during the peak months, perfect walking through the city's many parks. Or, if clients are looking for a winter wonderland that isn’t crowded with tourists, the off season is perfect. Just make sure they’re ready for the cold. The winter holidays are probably the most fun time to visit, since the city bustles with festive activities.
The two major winter holidays are New Year's and Orthodox Christmas Day. New Year's is celebrated how most western countries celebrate Christmas. Families gather for a huge feats and share gifts around the tree. There are also firework displays and public concerts to celebrate the holiday. Orthodox Christmas Day is celebrated on January 7th every year, and holiday events often continue from December 31 to Christmas day. It’s much more common for Christmas to be a religious holiday in Russia, with Mass being the most important celebration.
For summertime travel, the White Nights Festival is one of the best in St. Petersburg. It’s an international festival that makes the beginning of summer and the city experiences midnight sun thanks to the extended daylight. The festival is a celebration of ballet, opera, and music and many museums, including the Hermitage Museum which is considered Russia’s Louvre, stay open all night with free admission.
Where To Stay
The 183 rooms, including 26 suites, offer views of the Alexandrovsky Garden and the Admiralty building to the north, and St. Isaac’s Cathedral, St. Isaac’s Square and the statue of Tsar Nicholas I to the south. Fifth floor rooms have views of the cathedral.
The top rated restaurant in St. Petersburg by Trip Advisor just so happens to be at this hotel. Percorso offers modern Italian cuisine as well as a wine cellar, private dining room, and open kitchen. There are three other dining options on the property including Sintoho, serving contemporary Japanese fare; the Tea Lounge offering premium loose-leaf teas and baked goods; and Xander Bar where guests can relax by the double-sided fireplace with a drink or small bite.
There is also a four-level glass include spa with vitality pool, Russian steam room, and fitness center.
Remember the Hermitage Museum I was talking about earlier? Well you can stay there.
Opened in 2013, the hotel is housed in a new section of the museum. While rooms and suites pay homage to 19th century luxury, 21st century technology is not forgotten. All rooms include Wi-Fi, a 40-inch TV, and docks to connect the TV and your devices.
Guests can enjoy Russian Imperial Cuisine at Restaurant Catherine the Great or traditional Italian at Restaurant Michelangelo.
Right next door is the Kempinski Hotel Moika 22. Located on the Moika River, the hotel is just a five minute walk from the Nevsky Prospect and close to major sights and shopping. Rooms and suites offer river and inner courtyard views.
Even if clients aren’t staying at this hotel, it’s worth the trip to Bellevue Brasserie just for the views alone. The glass-roofed and walled restaurant at Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 offers 360-degree views of the city. Serving up French and classic Russian meals as well as afternoon teas, this restaurant is perfect for everything from a relaxing afternoon drink or a romantic dinner for two.
Offering smaller bites is the Tea Room with full Russian and English style settings, Wine Cellar 1953, and gentleman’s club the Von Witte Bar.
Where to Eat
Today the restaurant offers imperial Russian cuisine once enjoyed by the Russian aristocracy. There are over 120 wine vintages from France, Italy, Chile, and more. Rare wines are kept in stock including 1982 Chateau-Margaux Premier Grand Cru. There are also more than 30 brands of cognac, brandy, and calvados and more than 40 sorts of vodka, whiskey, and gin.
Tsar also brings guests back in time with traditional Russian meals and a collection of antiques, vintage interior items, and even a Tsar’s throne. Russian portraits line the walls and the high ornate ceiling is reminiscent of a palace.
Classics include a tasting of beluga, sturgeon, and osseter caviar with pancakes, New Year’s Eve Olivier salad with smoked starlet fish, and Russian Napoleon cake with raspberries.
What to Do
The Catherine Palace was built by Empress Elizabeth and named for her mother, Catherine although it’s better known as the summer house for Catherine the Great. It is a perfect example of royal opulence. The Alexander Palace was most famously used by Nicholas II and his family fewer than 100 years ago. It focuses heavily on the Romanov family and the last Tsar of Russia.
The village is around 15 miles, from St. Petersburg.
For those who want to stay in the city, the Hermitage Museum is a must. It houses three million pieces from both West and East. There are dozens of permanent exhibition include Ancient Relics of the Culture and Art of Eurasia, Dutch Paintings, The Art of Japan, and Russian Culture and Art.
Good to know: If clients are going during peak season make sure they book tickets online to skip the line and maximize their time in the museum.
Although the name might be a little intimidating, Church of Our Savior on the Spilt Blood is gorgeous inside and out.
The outside of the cathedral is built in classic baroque style with ornate multi-domed roof. Inside travelers will the walls, floor, and ceiling completed covered in detailed mosaics.