The Hotel Astoria is one of those hotels which is steeped in history and which is legendary in its own right! Being lucky enough to stay here is a privilege for which you pay quite highly. But above all, this kind of pedigree somewhat heightens your expectations to a degree which is next to impossible to fully satisfy! Hence the "needs that little bit more"!
The Junior Suite that we were accommodated in was near perfect. The view of St. isaac's Cathedral to die for. The sleek Italian feel decor and furnishings simply sumptuous! The amenities up to par with any other five star hotel standards. The cleanliness as near perfect as can possibly be, most especially in the bathroom. The feel of the plush rooms and corridors is just right.
But unfortunately there are the usual gripes that cannot go unmentioned. There is no comprehensive directory of hotel services provided in the room. Internet / Wifi in the room is frighteningly expensive ( a much lower four star hotel in the same city provides very efficient wifi in the room absolutely free) This should be the norm in all hotels these days most especially five star ones. There were no luggage tables where one can place one's suitcase and not have it sprawled out on the floor. There was no TV in the bathroom. The supply of toiletries in the bathroom was erratic, loads of one thing and none of another - simple lack of attention and such a pity because these are very simple things to get right.
The hotel decor in all the public areas is absolutely beautiful and it does justice to the history and pedigree of this famous hotel. But again many little things can be substantially improved upon. The business centre is tiny, sporting only two relatively old pc's and no Macs and affording no privacy. The Exercise room is small and the equipment provided, particularly the weight station, is very limited. Having only one bench means that only one person at a time can be effectively using it. The Spa treatments are fine - the 90 minute relaxing massage was as good as they come and the therapist was truly excellent. But the Spa decor itself is lacking. It does not have an intimate and comfortable waiting area, the overall decor is itself not intimate and warm and welcoming. It is far too businesslike and not a cocoon of comfort as one would expect of a Spa in a five star hotel such as this one. There was also a lack of a Spa Menu which one could browse in the comfort of one's room. Only a laminated Menu is provided to you for consultation at the Spa reception.
And finally dinner at the Astoria Cafe was adequate having once again an excellence of service but a lack of originality and creativity in the menu and in the dishes. We dines in many a superior restaurant all over the city and at much more competitive prices although by no means cheap.
This is not a catalogue of failures but a genuine objective perspective as to how a seasoned traveller interprets this hotel. They do try, they truly do. The complimentary bottle of champagne and small birthday cake with a personalised card from the General Manager ( without any prompting or requests whatsoever) are very welcome gestures and help make one feel genuinely welcome. The extreme helpfulness of the Head Concierge is also worthy of mention. It is in the little things that this hotel stumbles and reviews such as this one must be seen for what they are - objective interpretations of their guests.
At this stage of the game it is imperative for the Astoria to make the extra effort and take a giant leap towards more perfection because only 50 metros away there has now been the much anticipated and awaited opening of the Four Seasons Lion Palace Hotel and if initial impressions are anything to go by, this Four Seasons hotel is set to decimate any other hotel in its vicinity, not just the Astoria but the Hotel Angleterre and the W as well.
Who said that competition isn't healthy?!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience the essence of Russia in the comfort and elegance of Rocco Forte’s luxurious Hotel Astoria. Situated next to the magnificent St Isaac’s Cathedral in the heart of St Petersburg, Hotel Astoria has played host to many distinguished guests from past to present. 169 rooms and suites at Hotel Astoria are carefully furnished with comfort and tranquility in mind. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Astoria Hotel St Petersburg
- Astoria St Petersburg