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Parasol Places – The Belmond Grand Hotel Europe

In line with our new website launch, Parasol Store would like to introduce Parasol Places.

Parasol Places will be a blog that brings you nuggets of knowledge on the most iconic and interesting hotels, restaurants, and landmarks across the globe. The obvious classics will definitely be making appearances, but also look out for lesser know gems from further afield.

Given that the Football World Cup got under way in Russia yesterday, it seems like the beautiful city of St. Petersburg is a good place to start our blog journey.

This week, we will be focusing on the iconic Belmond Grand Hotel Europe.

The hotel, one of the truly iconic buildings of St. Petersburg, has played a central role in the city’s landscape since it opened over 143 years ago. A technological pioneer, it was the first hotel in the city to boast electric light bulbs. Absolute luxury indeed.

The hotel has witnessed much change in it’s relatively short history, and has played many a role in it’s lifetime. It began as a cultural attraction in it’s own right. A hotel known for it’s ornate beauty, vast art collection and of course it’s many light bulbs. However, this all changed after the October Revolution with St. Petersburg, now Leningrad, changing drastically. The hotel was no more, and instead in it’s walls, were both a hospital and an orphanage. It’s initial grandeur and status somewhat fading into the abyss.

The Belmond Grand Hotel Europe did not rediscover it’s initial grandeur until the thawing of the Cold war in 1980. The hotel underwent a significant renovation, and to the amazement of the renovators, a priceless art collection was found in it’s basement. It is believed that this collection was purposefully hidden away by wealthy Russian aristocracy, so it could not be taken by the authorities. This art collection was the making of the re-birth of the hotel, with much of the art now hanging in the hotel’s suites and common areas.

The hotel was not officially re-opened until 1991, the same year that St. Petersburg re-embraced it’s initial name. This has led to the hotel being a great symbol of the post cold war era for the City.

I think you will agree with me that if you are ever in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg the hotel is most certainly worth a look. Even if England do not make it past the group stages…..