My wife and I have a tradition — well, we have good intentions about making it a tradition, but the truth is, until this year, we kind of let it slip for a few years. Our tradition is to celebrate the holiday season by having a cup of hot cocoa in the bar at the Belmond Grand Hotel Europe in the center of St. Petersburg. Formerly known as The Grand Hotel Europa, the 140-year-old hotel takes up an entire city block in a city and in a country where blocks are massive.
When the streets of St. Petersburg are bustling, the old bar in the hotel is not just a quiet nook where one can temporarily escape the crowds. It’s so much more than that. It’s an injection of art, of elegance, of extravagance and of sophistication.
Beautiful, right? But what does this have to do with the holiday season you may be asking? I’d answer back, what does the Waldorf Astoria have to do with the holidays? Kevin McCallister of Home Alone fame certainly knew.
But don’t take Kevin’s word for it, The Grand Hotel IS Christmas and New Year all wrapped up in a cup of hot cocoa.
The streets of St. Petersburg are equally cheerful this time of year.