Story & Photography by Barbara Penny Angelakis
6 Vozesenski Prospekt
190000 St Petersburg, Russia
The new St Petersburg Hotel W is quirky and fun as well as ultra lux. It features the most comfortable beds and oversized pillows that you literally sink into for a wonderful sleep experience. The linens are the finest and the towels the fluffiest. Every convenience and electronic state-of-the-art device is provided, including flexible lighting. It would be helpful however if instructions were provided for the technically challenged guest like myself. The evening turn-down service brings a different goodie to your room each night; one night vodka in matryoshka (Russian wooden nesting doll); another, chocolate truffles; and a third, meringue cookies. The amenity package consisted of items from the Bliss Spa, which I had the happy fortune of experiencing first hand (see below), and novelty items like a kaleidoscope on the white lacquered kidney shaped desk, and funky purple velvet throw pillows on the white leather bed and bench at the bottom of the king sized bed. White leather, purple velvet, and flower-petal 24-K gold plated hanging bed lamp, set the décor in my room. In fact the entire color scheme of the hotel tended toward purple, gold, lime green, dark brown and black, mixed and matched. The high style diamond pattern design used extensively throughout the hotel is interpretive of the famed Russian Fabergé eggs.
One of the main features in the lobby is a glass wall of golden fish undulating across the room from inviting deep velvet couches. Behind the lobby is the reception desk and I found all the personnel spoke English perfectly and were helpful and polite. I do think however that smiling is not in the national personality. The overall design of the hotel is sleek and dark with reflective surfaces surrounding you in the elevators. On each floor you are greeted with a different brightly colored free-form couch with contrasting pillows, behind which is a heavy dark velvet curtain. I feel certain the design was meant to emulate a home environment but it falls short of cozy and is just confusing. Once you locate the opening in the curtains you find yourself in a brightly lit hallway with dark purple doors featuring the diamond pattern which is duplicated in the doors in the rooms on white lacquer. The magnetic lock on the doors worked only half the time, the other half you had to return to the lobby for a new key. But this is a relatively new hotel and details like locks will work themselves out. There are 137 guest rooms, 7 suites, 2 WOW suites, and 1 Extreme WOW suite that has a stunning view of the golden dome of St. Isaacs Cathedral/Museum. That view is just as beautiful from the miXup Terrace bar at the top of the hotel. In warm weather standing on the terrace you can almost touch the dome. The miXup bar has a vast selection of designer cocktails and after trying several our party gave a thumbs up for creativity and taste.
On the first floor is the miX Restaurant, an Alain Ducasse Classics, highlighting many of his award-winning signature dishes. (see restaurant notes for review) The restaurant has a wall of wine and an open kitchen but the stand-out design feature is a massive chandelier fashioned out of gold chains.
The Bliss Spa shares the lower level with a beautiful infinity pool, Jacuzzi and a fitness center. There is a warm ambiance in tones of blue and white along with the Bliss trademark rhythm and blues music and their famous chocolate brownie buffet in the waiting area. In the manicure and pedicure room there is a revolving sushi-style bar of different colors of polish to choose from, and every client gets a freshly sterilized tool package. Above each station is a TV screen where you can watch a favorite video or movie and with the convenient individual ear-phones no one else has to hear “play it again Sam, if she can stand it so can I” for the umpteenth time.
I spoke with the charming spa manager Caterina, who enthusiastically explained the treatments to me and I was thrilled that I took the time from my sightseeing schedule to experience one. With Caterina’s help, I selected their signature facial; the triple oxygen treatment. It was absolutely all its cracked up to be; an intensive cleaning, exfoliating, a fruit acid wash, a pre-extraction oxygen wrap, extractions, a calming oxygen mask, and vitaminized oxygen spray. I left looking and feeling lighter and positively energized. www.blissworld.com
The Hotel W is in the heart of St Petersburg, a perfect location in this beautiful walking city. Just a 5 minute walk will take you to the Winter Palace/Hermitage Museum and Palace Square with the Alexander Column raised in 1834 as a symbol of Russia’s victory in the war of 1812. The granite monolith is so huge that it rests on its pedestal under its own weight, without additional support. A few more minutes and you are at famous Nevsky Prospekt, the main shopping and sightseeing street.
St. Peter Line offers overnight ferry service to St Petersburg from Stockholm or Helsinki, for a maximum 72 hour stay without requiring a visa, a saving of time and money. Options include taking the St. Peter Line back to either city. St. Peter Line can also provide hotel reservations; excellent English speaking guides, a necessity for negotiating Petersburg’s highlights on a three-day visit; VIP entrance tickets; ballet and opera tickets; and restaurant reservations. www.stpeterline.com
© January 2012 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.