In a world full of hospitality players, and where everywhere can feel like the same place, it is not easy to find differentiation. In fact “unique” is more often than not simply a buzz word. Unless you are a sure fired adventurer at heart, “comfort” and “unique” have become mutually exclusive terms. Olga Malik, my colleague in a new venture called “Our Russia” magazine, she had just such a temporary respite on a business trip to St. Petersburg last week. As it turns out, a stay at the Angleterre Hotel ended up in a full scale interview and suggestive story. This is what you are about to read.
Whether you travel for business or purely for leisure, it’s a safe bet you are looking for something positively new, something that at least offers a temporary fantasy come true. Chances are that “special” story you are hunting for does not involve yet another Starbucks coffee shop or FRIDAY’S as main attractions of a hotel stay. This was not necessarily the case when Olga Malik headed to St. Petersburg to interview a Russian ballet legend, Artist of Russia, Nikolay Tsiskaridze (see slideshow image above).
Given my own expertise at covering hotel accommodations, I purposely researched luxury business accommodations on the chance Mr. Tsiskaridze might go on camera via RT at the hotel. A short search revealed my personal short list of a few close to the city center. Olga and I finally settled on the Angleterre Hotel (St. Pretersburg), owing to the hotel’s reputation online, and to the fact I had experience with a partner of the hotel, WorldHotels Group. As it turned out the interview took place at the Vaganova Academy, but the stay and the hotel’s story are worth telling alongside here.
As expected, Olga’s stay culminated with her one-on-one with the rector of the world’s most famous ballet school on the eve of that institution’s graduation ceremonies. All along though, she shared with the team in Moscow and her in Germany her experiences via Facebook and other social media. From her suite at Angleterre, and later the ceremonies surrounding a living legend of dance, St. Petersburg at this time of year is as it always appears, stunning. For the reader interested in estimating the value of luxurious accommodations though, Olga’s later discussion with the CEO of Worldhotels is illuminating. Kristin Intress (at left), it turns out, was in St. Petersburg for the “White Nights” festivities too. Worldhotels, for those unfamiliar, markets hand picked hotels from among the finest in 65 countries worldwide.
As you can tell from the imagery of the hotel, the location is ideal. Situated right on St. Isaac’s square in the city center, the location is literally a stone’s throw away from all St. Peterburg’s main attractions. In fact the Vaganova Academy is just over 2 km away, a short stretch of the legs only.
Rather than listing the wealth of convenience and luxury the hotel offers, Olga suggested recounting some of the tiny but significant details of this marvelous St. Petersburg stay. Certainly the hotel’s art auction house, the cinema and art gallery also differentiate the property beyond spa experiences and luxuriant value added. But the hotel has these amenities too, along with hot and cold running 24 hour room service, high speed Internet, concierge and more.
However typically exclusive this St. Petersburg icon may seem on the www though, Olga (at right from her room at the hotel) and Worldhotels’ Kristin Intress discussion brought to light the stories that set places like this apart. In the case of Angleterre Hotel, the fact that the hotel was the last home of Russian poet Sergey Esenin, who died in one of the hotel’s suites in 1925. It was this and other back stories that prompted Olga to inquire of Esenin about how Worldhotels are chosen, to which the latter responded:
My “Our Russia” co-founder went on to quiz Ms. Intress about such things as the Russia market, and Worldhotels’ plans for expansion there. On the latter, the chief executive described the positive market forces in Russia, and her company’s intentions on growing within Russia and the CIS. With so many historic and often enigmatic edifices, like the Angleterre Hotel, the Worldhotels mission into uniqueness in Russia seems simplified. Olga’s review of the hotel could not have been more positive, and this has been symptomatic in my past experiences with the group.
For more back story on this hotel, the current structure was erected in place of the former hotel opened back in 1840. The former hotel was frequented by the likes of Leo Tolstoy and the aforementioned Sergey Esenin. The older hotel was demolished in 1987 only to be rebuilt and reopened in 1991. Interestingly, the hotel is considered a luxurious business class sister to the Hotel Astoria next door. The two hotels are connected from the upper floors, and noth hotels are owned and operated by Rocco Forte Hotels.
About my co-author: Olga Malik is a freelance journalist. A former producer for Russian TV channel RT, she’s also our co-founder at the new magazine about all good things Russian, Our Russia. Olga is also the lead manager for the international admissions office for Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg.