Wednesday, June 15, 2011

St. Petersburg's White Nights

St. Petersburg's beauty hasn't been waxed about as often as Venice's intrigue or Paris's romantic side, but that doesn't mean it's not alluring. And in summer? Even more so. A jewel in Eastern Europe and one that's rough-cut in comparison to its companions in the west, the city captured NYT travel writers this summer, who recommend visiting to experience Russia's “White Nights.”

A love affair with Russia can even start with a slight scent of gasoline in the air and the view of a gold-tipped cathedral in the distance. Despite a slightly rocky start to his journey, journalist Joshua Hammer with the New York Times muses:

"You’ll find celebrations of St. Petersburg’s White Nights in virtually every corner of this sprawling, watery metropolis. Dance clubs and 'beach clubs' — including the most exclusive, the Royal Beach Club on Krestovsky Island, a forested park that draws many of the city’s affluent young people — stay open until at least 6 a.m. on White Nights weekends."

Had you heard of the White Nights in St. Petersburg? They sound dizzying, stunning, and altogether mysterious to those of us who don't give much thought to daylight hours in places farther up north. Around 80 summer nights in St. Petersburg will be characterized by near 24-hour sunlight: The biggest draw isn't the natural phenomenon, however, it's the atmosphere that makes it particularly enticing.

"Russia’s booming economy has rejuvenated St. Petersburg, and the White Nights have become more and more lively," Hammer notes.

"Russian entrepreneurs have poured money into new bars, restaurants and hotels. Growing numbers of visitors from abroad, along with well-heeled Russian tourists — their wallets fat with petrodollars — and members of the increasingly mobile Russian middle class head here for summer vacations."

Planning a trip to St. Petersburg gets even easier when you already have leads on where to stay.

Booking Suggestions for Your Stay in Russia: St. Petersburg and Moscow

Grand Hotel Europe

The Grand Hotel Europe is a cultural and historical landmark for travelers, and it has been for an incredible 135 years. This hotel features charming Russian hospitality, complete with special amenities and nearby cultural gems in the city. Visit the Russian Museum and the theatre before retiring to your splendid room or suite

Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria

The Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria in St. Petersburg is a five-star wonder. Positioned in St. Isaac's Square close to the action, the hotel has 42 suites with contemporary facilities for your vacationing comfort. Authentic Russian cuisine can be had at the Davidov Restaurant on-site.

Arayat Park Hyatt Moscow

Why not surround yourself with beauty when you're enjoying the brighter summer nights in Russia? The Arayat Park Hyatt is located in the center of Moscow and is within the immediate vicinity of such grand city highlights at the Bolshoi Theatre, the Red Square, and the Kremlin. Views from the hotel can be of either courtyard or city, and the amenities within are top-notch, of course.

Ritz Carlton Moscow

This particular hotel is so perfectly positioned in Moscow that you can enjoy its beauty at any time of the year: Imagine what it's like to get the best at this hotel during the lazy days of summer. Ask a personal butler to help you plan a picture-perfect evening, or do it yourself--Moscow is laid out at your feet at the Ritz Carlton Moscow. This unforgettable hotel is situated just steps from the Red Square.

I don't know about you, but it sounds like these White Nights are a Bucket List-worthy addendum. Why not combine the wonders of St. Petersburg with a whirlwind trip around Russia this summer?

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