I opened the envelope, to find a handwritten welcome note. What a nice touch. Of course, the fact that it was in Russian and with my Cyrillic being a bit rusty, it became a bit less personal than I thought.
But that’s often the difference in staying in big, corporate hotel chains, you lose the small, intimate personal attention, but you do gain big, plush anonymity!
When I confirmed my reservation, I received an email asking me if I’d literally like the Porsche or Mercedes to pick me up from the airport. Um, sure, but the $180 charge was a bit out of my league so I opted for a taxi, which is still more than my usual bus or train.
About 10 years ago, I had done a story on the W when it had its grand opening in Chicago. So I was familiar with its mod style of fun and that trendy atmosphere.
After my 13 or so hours of traveling it was a welcome refuge to come to a posh, clean, and comfy place to rest my weary bones. And although I usually travel in more affordable spheres, I have to admit, this slice of luxury was heavenly.
The one-year-old W Hotel St. Petersburg is the first of its kind in all of Eastern Europe and first designer, luxury hotel in the city. It may forever change the hotel landscape in Russia with its 137 modern, white-on-white guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, and, an amazing roof top bar with direct views of St. Isaacs Cathedral right across the street. Already popular with locals is the signature restaurant, by three Michelin star chef, Alain Ducasse, and a wood cabana-style rooftop bar, perfect for enjoying the warm summer months and white nights.
The Bed: This all white fluffy, cloud-of-a-bed was heavenly for my jet-lagged body when I crashed after a 9+ hour overnight flight from Chicago…and really every day. The all-white, some high number thread-count sheets may have been my favorite part.
The ipod dock and speakers: I love the ease of being able to charge my iPod and listen to my tunes with a handy remote. It meant that I never once turned on the white flat-screen TV that was in the room.
The Lighting: Accent and task lighting for every need, just needed a little figuring out what every switch would do.
The shower was nice big, natural stone stall with rain shower and lovely Bliss products
The desk: It’s no surprise that I work when I travel, so the white, clean desk with a view was definitely appreciated.
The Fruit: Upon check-in, I was welcomed with a lovely full bowl of fresh fruit – a mini-pineapple, a tangerine, banana, grapes, plum, apple and I ate every bit of it over the course of my 5 days, for a cheap light breakfast.
Caramels! I’ve never been a huge caramel fan. I love that flavor, but don’t like that tough, sticky consistency getting caught in my teeth making me feel like I will need to schedule a dentist appointment for the next day for the impending cavities. But perhaps, I’d just never had a good caramel. Sitting on the desk in my room was this little plastic baggy of sea salt caramels from MixUp, the restaurant here. And, wow. These little gooey morsels were sublime – sweet, soft, and just enough salt to tickle your tongue. What a great treat after a day of pounding the pavement outside.
There were really few negatives I could find.
Noise: There was some noise, but only because I was on the 8th floor and right above me was the roof bar. So the thump thump sounds of the DJ wafted down through the air and I could hear this a bit, on the weekend, but even that was not too bad.
Nickel and dime you: Unlike hostels or some family-owned pensions, nothing is free here (except that fruit in my room). Everyday in the lobby there was a very small assortment of rolls and croissants. I wrongly assumed they were free. But apparently, I stole one on the first day or the guy behind the counter decided not to charge me. Because the second morning, I was sternly asked to cough up some rubles for my flaky breakfast snack. When I got my bill, it turns out he ended up charging me wrong for an entire breakfast buffet. Boo.
But despite any tiny issues, overall the W St. Petersburg is a luxurious stay and something I could use a bit more of in a busy city hit that I’m traipsing around everyday with a heavy camera in hand.
Disclosure: During my time in St. Petersburg, I was a guest of the W Hotel, as always all writing and opinions are my own.