Concierge.com's insider take:
This echt palace from the czarist era opened its doors in mid-2003 as a luxe hotel, having already established a following among the moneyed and reckless with the Taleon Club casino within the same walls. The 29 rooms (to be joined by an additional 70 by the end of 2007) are designed to appeal to the high rollers; they have a Vegas sensibility, with brocade, polished walnut, gilding and molding, Italian marble and whirlpool tubs, and hand-painted reproductions of the best of the Hermitage, all in color schemes ranging from gold and cream to bordello red. The Taleon restaurant has a good reputation with people who dress up for dinner; the Victoria is more relaxed, especially at breakfast. There's also a bar, a café, an oyster bar, and a cigar lounge—just as well, for one feels practically obligated to puff on a stogie here.