History of Belmond Grand Hotel Europe

A national and cultural landmark in the heart of St Petersburg, Belmond Grand Hotel Europe is set in a series of buildings dating from 1824-5. The historic façade was designed by prominent Italian architect Carlo Rossi as a part of an architectural ensemble, blending with the nearby Mikhailovsky Palace (now the Russian Museum) and Arts Square.

  • The first hotel – the Kuolon – to occupy the site opened in 1830. It was located in the building facing the square, while the rest of the property was filled with trading companies.
  • In 1872, the Evropeyskaya Hotel company was formed to transform the entire building into a luxury hotel. Three years later in 1875, following restoration, the Grand Hotel d’Europe opened, soon becoming one of the world’s foremost hotels.
  • In 1905 architect Karl Mackensen designed the interiors of L’Europe restaurant and main staircase.
  • Between 1908 and 1914, Swedish-Russian architect Fyodor Lidval remodelled many of the hotel’s interiors in stunning Art Nouveau style, including the Lobby Bar, Caviar Bar, Billiard Room and Krysha ballroom.
  • During the First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution, the hotel was used as an orphanage. After the establishment of the Soviet Union, it returned to being a hotel called the Evropeyskaya.
  • With the arrival of the Second World War and the siege of Leningrad, it changed purpose again, becoming a hospital of 1,300 beds. It reopened as a hotel after the end of the war in 1945.
  • Fast forward to 1989 and the hotel closed for complete renovation. The aim was to update it fully with contemporary comforts and technical innovations while preserving its precious heritage.
  • In 1991, it relaunched in renewed glory bearing the name Grand Hotel Europe once more. As the first five-star hotel in Eastern Europe it attracted visitors from all over the world.
  • Belmond (then called Orient-Express Hotels) took over management of the hotel in 2005.
  • In 2019, Belmond became part of the world’s leading luxury group, LVMH.

266 suites and guest rooms reflect the ambience and levels of luxury enjoyed by the Tsars. The Historic features 10 unique Historic Suites, each with its own name, from Dostoevsky to Stravinsky. The new suites in the Presidential wing are devoted to Russian avant-garde art.


Gastronomic traditions are lavishly brought to life in hotel’s five restaurants.

L’Europe restaurant has been welcoming diners since 1905. The restaurant was designed in Art Nouveau style by architect Karl Mackensen and decorated with arresting stained glass mural of Apollo on his chariot created according to a drawing by Leon Benois.

In the Caviar Bar, a vodka sommelier pairs the finest caviar with ice-cold vodka.

The Lobby Bar with its stunning Art Nouveau interiors dating to 1908-1914 and live entertainment every night, is open round the clock.

The Mezzanine Café, the first atrium in St Petersburg constructed in 1991, serves light dishes, including treats from the hotel’s own chocolate factory.

AZIA is the hotel’s newest creation, designed by a Japanese architectural bureau Super Potato.

Prominent guests

The hotel resounds with the echoes of gatherings staged here over the decades.

Tsar Nicolas II entertained the King of Siam in the Krysha Ballroom; young Dmitri Shostakovich played a sonata to Sergei Prokofiev, and Grigori Rasputin was often spotted carousing with friends in L’Europe restaurant. In memory of the great composer who twice stayed with us, L’Europe hosts weekly Tchaikovsky Nights featuring an acclaimed ballet duo. More recently, in 1979 Elton John gave an impromptu concert in L’Europe restaurant, while Whitney Houston delighted Lobby Bar guests with her singing in 2009.