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From Russia with love – boutique style at Hotel Domina St. Petersburg

Confident, contemporary Italian design has transformed this classic riverside imperial mansion into Domina St. Petersburg, a unique boutique hotel in this sophisticated Russian city, writes Andrew Forbes.

Overview

Over-looking the Moika River, the elegant 19th century façade of this 5-star hotel conceals a vibrant interior bursting with colour and creative design. Domina St. Petersburg welcomes visitors with its ‘Nove’ cocktail bar; family friendly ‘Arcobaleno’ restaurant; wellness centre, and gym. Business travellers also have access meeting rooms, and 24-hour support services like scanning & printing.

The 6 categories of guest suites encompass duplex Lifestyle rooms; and also Wellness Rooms, featuring private saunas and exercise equipment.

Saint Petersburg – Russia’s Northern Capital

Think of Russia and one might picture the brutal Soviet architecture of the past; or the extravagant lifestyles of today’s new rich. Yet Saint Petersburg doesn’t really conform to either cliché.

This is probably Russia’s most sophisticated city, the former Imperial capital of Russia, the city of Tsars. Here, within the city’s UNESCO centre, there’s little to remind visitors of the Soviet era; and the contemporary bling of business oligarchs is discreetly balanced by the sheer abundance of elegance and old-school luxury.

Here the city centre is a myriad of palaces and cathedrals; of spires, and gilded domes. Neoclassical and baroque architectural masterpieces line the wide avenues. Hundreds of ornate bridges span the rivers, canals and waterways that make up this city, built upon the river deltas that flow into the Gulf of Finland.

The cultural capital of Russia is a captivating destination; an architectural and artistic treasure. Hotel Domina St. Petersburg provides a refreshingly different place to call home whilst in the city.

Against this background of historical,  Imperial grandeur, the Hotel Domina St. Petersburg breaks the mould, with its unconventional and bold design; and relaxed and friendly team.

Historic Centre location

Found within the World Heritage centre, just a few minutes’ walk from Saint Isaac’s Square and its cathedral, Hotel Domina St. Petersburg is well placed for guests wishing to enjoy the main city sights, such as the magnificent Hermitage, and the iconic Bronze Horseman. The shops and cafés of Nevsky Prospekt are about 15-minutes’ walk away.

Saint Petersburg is notorious for its traffic; a vibrant city of some 5 million people. Yet the Domina is found in a little corner of relative tranquillity, on a tree-lined river embankment within the elegant island district of Kolomna.

The hotel’s exterior is that of a classical mansion, yet once you cross the threshold, be prepared to enter a world of bold colours and contemporary design. The lobby is a light-filled atrium of bright hues; a signature style of the hotel by designer Gianmarco Сavagnino.

Guest Experience

It’s been said that Russians might be a little blunt. English is still not widely spoken, and that combined with a different culture, can sometimes make the Russians seem a little unfriendly.

Well, once I arrived at Domina St. Petersburg that misconception was most definitely cast aside. The Front desk team were not only friendly and welcoming but had a good sense of humour. I felt at home.

Once in my room, it was great to see the handwritten welcome note and the thoughtful gesture of chocolates and macaroons. It’s the little touches that make the difference in hospitality.

Room categories are defined by colour and design too.

My duplex, open-plan Lifestyle Rooms was vibrant with colours of nature, with green and blue.

Upstairs on the mezzanine level was a cosy living room, with dining table/word desk. Below was the king bed, and ensuite bathroom. Double high windows allowed the room to be filled with natural light. All rooms are very well sound-proofed, with double windows, so at night there is no disturbance from the city.

Wellness Rooms have their own sauna. My Lifestyle Room had a standard bathroom.

The bathroom was comfortably appointed, and included luxury amenities by Penhaligons.

Dining

Saint Petersburg has a celebrated food scene, so you may well be tempted to eat out. But don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a drink at the hotel’s Cocktail Bar Nove.


This relaxed space mixes design inspiration from the Ambar Room of Catherine Palace (with modern crystal chandeliers and striking amber orange sofas); with references to the Dostoyevsky. There’s even an over-sized bust of the famous writer and philosopher and the end of the bar.

I stopped by in the evening for a refreshing vodka, a side of pickles, and relaxed chat with Roman, the barman.

The hotel’s Arcobaleno restaurant has recently been remodelled and offers contemporary Russian cuisine. It’s a popular choice for lunch too and is family-friendly, offering a special kids’ menu.

Information

Guests booking directly with Domina St. Petersburg are offered early check-in or late check-out as well a personalised welcome amenity in the room. More details on the hotel’s website.

Address: St. Petersburg, Moika River Emb., 99
Tel: +7 (812) 385 99 00
Web: spb.dominarussia.com/en/

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