Grand Hotel Emerald, St. Petersburg
Tel: 7 812 140 5000
Concierge.com's insider take:
The advantage of staying in a hotel built in 2003 in this city is that everything works—from broadband and Wi-Fi to satellite TV and AC. The drawback is history deprivation, though local architect Eugine Gerasimov has done his best to override that by designing a replica of a grand 19th-century mansion. There's not much to gaze at in the 92 rooms, with their ersatz-classical look, but they're comfortable, bright, and inoffensive. Spring for a suite and you get your own Jacuzzi and sauna. Hotel facilities are better than the reasonable rates suggest. There's 24-hour room service, three restaurants, a casino, and a spa with several ways to sweat: Turkish bath, sauna, and Russian banya, plus a gym with classes in yoga and—let's hear it for the Tae Bo revival!