While Peter the Great was known to prefer more humble accommodations, Catherine the Great certainly would have approved: nearly two centuries after its debut as the city’s most exclusive residence, the ‘House with Lions’ is reborn as Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg.
Ideally situated next to St. Isaac’s Cathedral – and designed by the same architect – the edifice immortalised in Alexander Pushkin’s most famous poem gives way to glamorous new hotel accommodations, dining and drinking concepts, event spaces and soon, the city’s most sumptuous spa.
“Years of meticulous restoration and perfecting of the guest experience are setting the stage for a new era of style and luxury in St. Petersburg,” explained Christopher Norton, president, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.
A New Era
The iconic triangular building in the heart of St. Petersburg was originally conceived by Auguste Montferrand as the private address of the city’s elite, with a see-and-be-seen grand lobby leading to a number of fashionable apartments, conveniently located just steps from the Winter Palace.
Today, a guest awakening in the luxe-comfort of a signature Four Seasons bed and looking out through high windows at Peter’s great city may be forgiven for imagining themselves in another time, while those coming to meet, drink and dine in the hotel’s extraordinary restaurants and bar will know that they are living at the leading edge of the 21st century.
Every need and want is anticipated by expert Four Seasons staff, including VIP access to the city’s most exciting events and arts venues – from off-hours museum and gallery tours to premier performance seating, the chance to attend rehearsals and visit backstage at the Mariinsky Theatre.
Life in the Lion Palace
Montferrand’s original vision and 19th century imperial aesthetic set the design direction for the new Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg.
Every detail was studied and considered carefully before a single paintbrush was employed, resulting in a look that is authentic to the classic, European-influenced style of the period.
For example, the hotel’s 151 guest rooms offer distinct colour palettes: sky blue and yellow with a hint of garnet, or pale yellow with blue hues; and for the 26 suites, turquoise and gold with shades of brown.
Neo-classic mahogany, hazelnut and cherry furnishings with gilding, black lacquer and chinoiserie motifs were sourced across Europe and are now showcased among finishing materials including velvet, silk and lush woven textures for fabrics, and marble, granite and gilt mirrors for the fixtures.
When making reservations, guests are faced with some interesting choices – will it be one of the fifth floor Terrace Rooms, with their views across the city?
Or perhaps one of the suites on the first floor, where the ceilings are highest (and where the most coveted apartments were originally situated)?
For those who will settle only for the very best, the Lobanov Presidential Suite boasts a large columned terrace, and a bath fit for a tsar – carved from a single slab of marble, with a hand-painted fresco above.