Set amongst a picturesque network of canals and bridges, St Petersburg is known as the Venice of the North - a city rich in art and culture, with a dramatic past that's waiting to be explored.
Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great as a 'window on the West', and named in honour of St Peter, St Petersburg is testament to the grandeur of Imperial Russia under the tsars. Built on a delta, where the Neva and the Fontanka rivers meet, the city is essentially a series of islands, rivers and canals, joined by magnificent bridges, a feature which has earned it the title 'The Venice of the North' or 'City with 101 Islands'. The architecture is on an ambitious scale, and the wealth of palaces and cathedrals, boulevards and colonnaded facades painted in Mediterranean colours cannot fail to amaze you.
So too will the riches of the Russian Museum, the Winter Palace and the Hermitage, home to some of the world's greatest works of art. Ballet lovers must not miss the Mariinsky (formerly the Kirov) Ballet, and there is music and drama in abundance in a city that was home to some of the greatest Russian writers and composers.
St Petersburg is enchanting under a blanket of sparkling winter snow and fabulous in spring as the Neva ice floes break up and flow through the city. But the city is arguably at its most beautiful during June and July when, because of its northerly location, darkness never falls and the city is intoxicating under the wonders of the 'white nights'.
All these sights are on the doorstep of Angleterre Hotel. The hotel itself is within the Fontanka and overlooks St Isaac's Square and the fine cathedral, and is just a few minutes' walk from Nevsky Prospect - the thoroughfare which carves its way through the centre of the city. Laid out to the left and right of this thriving and exciting road you will find the treasures of St Petersburg, including the Hermitage Museum, the Winter Palace and Admiralty, the Kazan Cathedral, Bronze Horseman, the Russian Museum, and Mariinsky Palace. Click here to find out where to go.
The hotel itself is steeped in Russian and Soviet history. Founded in the 1840s by Napoleon Bokin, it was known as Napoleon's. In 1849, the young Leo Tolstoy stayed there when he came to join the city's university, and one of the hotel's darker claims to fame is that the brilliant young poet Sergey Esenin took his own life in room 5 in December 1925. He is commemorated in a picture in the Borsalino Brasserie.
Like St Petersburg, which has in turn been called Petrograd and Leningrad, the hotel has had several identities. At the end of the 19th century, it became known as the Anglia and finally, after the Second World War during which the German army notoriously bombarded the city for 900 days, it was named Angleterre Hotel.
In 1997 Forte Hotels carried out a major refurbishment of the hotel and now runs Angleterre Hotel under Western management. With its elegant arc-gallery, Russian works of art and Italian marble, it is one of the most luxurious and comfortable places to stay in this beautiful city.