Hello and happy almost weekend everyone! I wanted to say a quick hello and share a few photos from a recent staycation I took. As I have mentioned before, I do not always find the time to go away or have a full blown vacations, however, I am a strong believer in making time for myself and taking a break from all the craziness from time to time. So for me, a staycation is a perfect way to disconnect without spending too much time on actual travel and getting to places.
The idea of having a staycation in Saint-Petersburg might seem inferior to some but there are many upsides to having one – minimal planning, cheap transportation, convenience and most of all, I’m staying in my homeland. As always I chose Astoria Hotel for my staycation.
Hotel Astoria is considered one of the best luxury hotels in the city, due to its extensive historical background, classical style and gorgeous scenic views of St. Isaac’s Cathedral. The hotel was originally built in 1912 on St. Isaac’s Square and has kept its atmospheric and elegant luxurious details in-tact despite being built prior to World War One.
If you’re a first time visitor to Saint-Petersburg and have the “hot spots” on your list of places to visit, then you really couldn’t pick a better location than Admiralteysky district, where the Astoria Hotel is located. The hotel sits pretty on Bolshaya Morskaya street, a short walk to the St Isaac cathedral at one end and the Lion bridge at the other. From here you can comfortably walk to sights such as the Hermitage museum and Mariinsky theatre over a few days visit, however I would strongly urge you to visit Petergof and Pushkin cities which are not far from S-P.
From commissioned works of art hanging in the guest rooms, to marble bathrooms and interactive entertainment options, Hotel Astoria provides many on-site amenities that combines classical era interior landscape with modern desires–think spas, gyms and fancy extras like iPod docks and high speed internet, a sophisticated French style restaurant and a Turkish steam bath.
During my stay, I was situated in the Tsar Suite which has a great view over St Issac’s Square and Cathedral as well as the Nicolas I statue and Mariinsky Palace. It is considered to be one of the largest suits in St. Petersburg. The Tsar Suite has a sitting room, a master bedroom with a dressing room, two guest bedrooms, a private gym, bar and a study.
The master bedroom is one of most comfortable places to be in the entire suite, with its incredibly soft mattress and separate walk-in shower. All the bathrooms are finished in marble and come with bathrobes, slippers and Ferragamo bathroom amenities.
The royally-approved Astoria hotel is the most classic afternoon tea destination in Saint-Petersburg. Also, a building steeped in Saint-Petersburg history makes an opulent place for afternoon tea and a weekend catch up with my friends was the perfect excuse to give it a try.
Afternoon tea at Astora is served in the sumptuous surroundings of the Rotonda Lounge. This is a beautiful venue for a sophisticated yet casual afternoon tea. Staff here are welcoming and made us feel right at home instantly. Service is efficient and discreet.
Tea is served with immaculate hospitality and one of the most lavish settings you’ll find in the northern capital of Russia.
In my view, afternoon tea must be served at the table (no buffet’s allowed) and scones with clotted cream and jam must feature – that’s the true English way of having tea. Though in S-P you are more likely to find buffet style with some Russian features (e.g. samovars).
There are different types of loose leaf teas, finger cut sandwiches, warm baked scones, and a beautiful selection of fine pastries and cakes. Also, you can find some traditional Russian food such as blinis with caviar.
As always, I ordered a coffee and shared some delicious pastries with my friends. Every savoury, scone and sweet was perfectly put together and tasted sublime.
This was the ideal beginning of a girlie afternoon, but we didn’t let the fun stop there. We decided to hang around for a cocktail at Lichfield bar as day turns into night.
Overall it was a quintessential experience and one I’m pleased to have partaken in. My short two night stay here was a dream come true. The surprise room upgrade at check-in, the beautiful room views and the tastiest dinner and afternoon tea all made for a perfectly staycation.
After a couple of nights in the midst of tourists and S-P’ top attractions, I made my way over to home. I’d totally recommend this hotel for first time visitors to Saint-Petersburg or those who like to walk out their door and step in to the centre of the second-largest city in Russia.
What about you guys? What are your favorite staycation destinations?
Don’t be shy to follow your dreams!
Your Darya Yakovleva