Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
The landmark 1824 edifice, with a neoclassical facade and an Art Nouveau interior, reopened as a hotel in 1991 with patchy results, but since early 2005 it's been in the very well run Orient Express Hotels stable (along with the Cipriani in Venice and the Splendido in Portofino). And after a comprehensive restoration, it's giving the Astoria a run for its money. The redone rooms sport wide-screen TVs, original Russian art and antiques, and locally crafted wooden furniture. Ask for a Terrace Room facing Arts Square, so you can overlook the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood while eating breakfast, or one of the 10 suites on the Historic Floor that were restored in 2009the original decor in each is inspired by a figure in the hotel's or Russia's history. Other pluses include the health club/spa, seven (sometimes celeb-haunted) restaurants and bars, a pastry shop, and, of course, the amazing Nevsky Prospekt location.