One third of the room count at St Petersburg's Grand Hotel Europe have been refurbished. The hotel which for some time was a Kempinski Hotel, but was bought by the Orient Express Group in 2005 is undergoing a thorough refurbishment.
The historic hotel has 301 rooms of which 110 Classic and Superior rooms have been renovated in a new intimate style and fitted with hypoallergenic beds at a cost of $9 million. However, one drawback is that their size is rather small compared to what you might expect to find in a hotel of this price and quality (see rates below) elsewhere in the world, a result of the age of the property, dating from 1824 and a hotel for much of its history since then.
The renovation scheme continues next year when a further 90 rooms will be completed. At the same time all of the hotel's 301 rooms have been fitted with flat-screen TVs. Wi-Fi is now offered throughout the hotel including all rooms and public areas.
The hotel is located in the heart of the city opposite the Shostakovich Philharmonic, next to the Russian museum and the Mussorgsky opera and ballet theatre. It's within walking distance of the Hermitage and Winter Palace Square. The hotel boasts seven restaurants and bars including the art nouveau L'Europe which serves French and European specialities.
Rates for the refurbished rooms (for a stay either in June or July) are $550 for a Classic (room size 16 to 25 sq metres) and $600 for a Standard (25 to 29 sq metres). Tax at 18% is additional.
Grand Hotel Europe, Nevsky Prospect, Mikhailovskaya Ulitsa 1/7, St Petersburg. Tel 7 812 329 6000.
For more information go to grandhoteleurope.com
Report by Alex McWhirter