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Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, St. Petersburg 

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22 Moika River Embankment
St. Petersburg
Russia 191186
Tel: 7 812 335 9111
view web site ›'s insider take:

This mid-19th-century neoclassical building (with much newer additions), on the Moika riverbank opposite the Winter Palace, received a soup-to-nuts renovation when it opened as a Kempinski hotel in February 2006. It has location, history, and beauty going for it. Of the 188 rooms, the best offer panoramic vistas over the Piter rooftops and Palace Square; less desirable are views of the internal glass-roofed courtyards. The rooftop restaurant shares the spectacular outlook, and there's a spa/health club on a second roof terrace.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
The 197-room Kempinski occupies the best spot on a picturesque canal, overlooking the Winter Palace and its sprawling Palace Square. The elegant 1853 facade is intact—guests still enter through an old carriageway—and interiors gleam with old-world opulence, from the intricately patterned marble floor in the central atrium to the gilt mantle clocks, portraits of monarchs, and carved period furniture. Evoking the city's port history, curtains and carpets sport nautical symbols, and the glass-covered rooftop Belle Vue Brasserie, one of the hotel's two French restaurants, resembles the lounge on an ocean liner. Diners there have a perfect vantage point for viewing St. Petersburg's best-known landmarks, including the spires of the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Admiralty, and the gold dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral. —2006 Hot List

When to go: June and July, for the impossibly long daylight of the White Nights; January, for the dazzling snow of a real Russian winter.

Which room to book: One of the five Moika River Executive Suites, which have views of the Hermitage and the Moika River (doubles, $213–$369).

Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge, Gym

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