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Russia: Steeped in Culture, Superb in Service, Rich in Personality

A lot of hearsay and negativity tends to plague our ears when considering a trip to the largest country in the world. Sienna Charles recently visited Russia and very much recommend it as an excellent destination for luxury travelers. The country is steeped in rich history, flavors and personalities.

The obvious first choice is spending a better part of the time in St. Petersburg. We stayed at the Four Seasons Lion Palace, in a suite facing St. Isaac’s Cathedral. The enormity of the views is breathtaking for such a lively city, and the nearby historical sites are seemingly inexhaustible.

While there are plenty of excellent restaurants in St. Petersburg, we found the Tea Lounge in the Four Seasons to be our go-to spot. The breakfast buffet features local delicacies to sample, and lunch consisted of caviar and off-menu regional dishes made fresh for us by the chef. On property there is also a Russian-style bar, an Italian restaurant, and Sintoho, a contemporary Japanese eatery that serves up surprisingly good cuisine. The on-site Luceo Spa is staffed with well-trained masseuses and uses only organic products.

Even if you’re not much of a sightseer, we still highly recommend a private trip to the Hermitage Museum, a bastion of art and culture in St. Petersburg. Our highlight was the private tour of the Diamond Room, a collection of luxurious jewelry of the former Russian Empire. It becomes quickly apparent how meticulous, creative and passionate the Russians are regarding their way of life, arts and culture.

There is more than enough to see and do to accommodate Russia as a standalone trip, or it can be a point of interest coupled with other places in Europe. Still, a trip wouldn’t be complete without a quick pass through bustling Moscow, which serves as a stark contrast to St. Petersburg. Secure a first-class ticket on the train and enjoy a lovely four-hour journey to the heart of the country.

The Red Square is monumental for first-time visitors, and there are plenty of excellent restaurants to choose from. We’ll still suggest you stay at the Four Seasons again, though the Moscow hotel is a bit flashier than refined St Petersburg. That being said, its location—in proximity to the Kremlin and Red Square—can’t be beaten, and the service still remains impeccable.

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