Taleon Imperial Hotel, St. Petersburg
Tel: 7 812 324 99 11
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:The overhauled Taleon Imperial is so plush, so imperial, that you'll feel like a czar in the Winter Palace (just down the block) while traipsing through its darkened interiors. Instead of mimicking Western chains, the Taleon is unself-consciously Russian, blending the opulence of the Romanovs with the glitz of today's Russia. The 89-room hotel commands a corner of the Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg's main artery, and the Moika River Embankment. It has spacious rooms with thick curtains, thicker bedspreads, Louis XIV furnishings, and bathrooms awash in marble and stocked with Hermès toiletries; fluted columns; ornate sculpture; striking oil paintings; a chandelier-lit bar; and staff who seem as intimidated by its guests as they are eager to help them. On top of all that, there's the first-rate pool, spa, and gym on the top floor, and, next to that, the Victoria Restaurant, with tables on the balcony overlooking the canal. 2011 Hot List
Which room to book: No. 522, a Superior room in the newly reconstructed section, is oversized, with a spacious foyer and a small balcony looking over the Nevsky Prospekt. Superior suites in the original building are significantly larger than those in the newly constructed part and generally run only $100 to $150 more than the standard Superior rooms.