Russia is a nation of roughly 375,000 millionaires. That number is expected to double or triple by 2020. In a nation whose rich-poor divide is equivalent to that of Nigeria, you can expect that the whims of the rich are very important in Russia’s old imperial capital. Here is your guide to laying in the lap of luxury while in St. Petersburg.
Where to stay:
Why not experience to lifestyle of 19th century Russian royalty with a stay in a royal palace? The Four Seasons Lion Palace occupies what was once a lavish residence built for Princess Lobanova-Rostovskaya and the hotel has taken pains to ensure each aspect of the hotel is restored to its original appearance. The hotel features three fine dining restaurants where guests can hobnob with the elites of Russian society. Or check in to the Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, just off of the Palace Square and looking onto the Hermitage Museum. This luxury hotel has hosted historic figures such as Strauss and Dostoevsky and maintains a high standard of luxury.
Where to eat:
For exquisite European cuisine with all the frills, reserve a table at L’Europe. This fine dining establishment provides only the highest standard of service and cuisine under a stunning all-stained-glass ceiling. Private balconies are available, however the best time to dine is for Sunday’s champagne and caviar brunch when you’ll want to be at a conspicuous table to see and be seen with the rest of St. Petersburg society. If you prefer French food with a view, head up (way up) to Bellevue, with its 360 degree panoramic views of the Cathedral of Spilt Blood and the Hermitage museum. This premium menu fuses the flavours of the French Mediterranean and traditional Russian cuisine.
Where to party:
After a day of lounging in your luxury accommodations and dining on the finest meals in the city, you will be more than ready to take on a few cocktails (maybe even a dance floor?) Well St. Petersburg has plenty of upscale clubs and lounges where the rich and powerful go to play. The Taleon Club is housed within the Eliseyev Hotel, or perhaps more accurately, “entertainment complex”. Known as one of the finest clubs in the world, Taleon is a multi-room bar/restaurant/casino that attracts celebrities and power brokers from all over the world. A former mansion, the interior is decorated with expensive antiques, Renaissance art and unreasonably attractive staff members. Check out the cigar room to smoke stogies and sip fine cognac with the other millionaires.
For a fresher, more youthful scene check out Da Vinci. Another restaurant/bar/club, the food is upscale and the wine list is extensive, but the cocktails are the real star here. That and the young crowd peppered with local and visiting celebrities who mingle amidst the fine art from famous artists and young up-and-comers.