Europe’s most exclusive weekend? Well, if you consider Russia to be in Europe then it’s surely impossible to beat St Petersburg.
Champagne cruising under the midnight sun. Private after-hours access to the Faberge Museum. Exploring the Hermitage before it opens for the day.
And that’s in addition to the typical stuff, like caviar and vodka tasting.
Here’s a long-weekend itinerary we arranged for an EliteVoyage client. This is how you explore St Petersburg in style.
First, a Suite To Rest Your Head
St Petersburg has a good collection of hotels but there’s only one place you’ll want to stay – Hotel Astoria. When Madonna, Elton John or just about any A-lister goes to St Petersburg they stay here. Hitler made invitations for a grand banquet at Hotel Astoria, celebrating his capture of the city. Fortunately he didn’t get to use them.
While the walls narrate over 100 years of grandeur and change, the suites are neatly updated for today’s demands. Deluxe suites have a nice view over Mariinsky Palace. But for the ultimate weekend opt for a Presidential or Royal suite, with views over St Issac’s Square and Cathedral as well. Then you’ll really experience how Hotel Astoria is at the heart of both traditional and modern St Petersburg.
Now some Sightseeing
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The River Neva is a good way to start exploring. Cruise through the canals and absorb the city’s atmosphere and style – it’s like Venice but different. St Petersburg can be beautiful in winter, with snow carpeting the streets. But it’s about 20 below zero and the river is frozen. Go in summer when you have the midnight sun.
So cruise with Champagne. Speaking of drinks, let’s taste some vodka. Accompanied by fine caviar. Pyshki cafe is our recommendation and you eagle-eyed explorers will note that pyshki is also the name of the iconic St Petersburg donut. So eat a dozen of them as well. Why not? Let’s indulge.
Exclusive Museum Access
It’s hard to be more artistically indulgent than Faberge. Founded in St Petersburg, famous for imperial easter eggs and so much more, everything from Faberge grabs the attention. But to really appreciate the details you need an important modern luxury – space.
So visit the Faberge Museum after hours. It’s an exclusive visit just for you. We can arrange the same at the Academy of Arts, but do note that a lot of its collection ended up nearby in the Hermitage Museum.
You need about three hours to explore the Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace. It’s the most famous museum and gallery east of Paris (okay, maybe east of Florence) and our contacts in St Petersburg can get you an hour of exclusivity, before doors open to the public.
A lesser-known historical wonder is the publishing house Rare Book. Enter its atmosphere from Johannes Gutemberg times and marvel at the collection of prints and first editions. For Russian literature there’s nowhere else like this. Of course you’ll have exclusive access – such a place isn’t usually open to the public.
Your St Petersburg Weekend
Consider this as a starting point for your St Petersburg weekend. The city has so much more to offer, from palaces and castles to invitations into the glamour of its high society. With three days you can indulge in the ultimate highlights, especially when you have 24 hours of daylight. Stay longer than three days and there’s a whole lot more.
Private access to famous museums. The ultimate hotel suites in a city. Going behind the scenes in places not open to the public. It’s not only St Petersburg. Whichever city you want an exclusive experience, our travel designers will organise something absolutely unique.