Delightful Visit A review of Angleterre Hotel
If you are the sort of person who is made uncomfortable by tales of suicide (and I am not), best not check into the Hotel Angleterre.
But it was such a romantic suicide. The Russian poet Sergei Esenin (1895-1925), whose stormy marriage to Isadora Duncan was brief, hanged himself at the Hotel Angleterre on the 28th of December.
With his own blood, on a wall of his hotel room, he wrote his last poem:
Goodbye, my friend, goodbye
My love, you are in my heart.
It was preordained we should part
And be reunited by and by.
Goodbye: no handshake to endure.
Let's have no sadness - furrowed brow.
There's nothing new in dying now
Though living is no newer.
It's unlikely that Mr. Esenin's ghost haunts this 4-star hotel. The place was entirely refurbished in the late 1990s and ghosts do not remain in spaces with which they are not familiar.
Just as the first rule of residential real estate is 'Location. Location. Location.' so it is with a hotel. The Hotel Angleterre is situated in the best possible location, St. Isaac's Square. It's a pleasure to walk out the door to see the grand Cathedral of St. Isaac, the monumental bronze to Tsar Nicholas I, and the fine park that stretches between them. Try to visit in late spring when the fragrance of the park's lilac bushes perfume the air. Ten minutes away is the Winter Palace and the Hermitage facing Palace Square. Two minutes away is the city's emblem, Peter the Great on horseback, known as the Bronze Horseman. And beyond that is the River Neva and its beautiful vistas. As we did, you can easily walk to the Mariinsky Theatre where you will be dazzled by the magic of the ballet.
The spacious lobby is understated. The staff is efficient and responsive to your needs (an iron and ironing board was brought to room in an instant). The hotel's restaurant, the Borsalino Brasserie, hosts the filling, wide-ranging complimentary breakfast each morning, and diner there is very good. Or you can linger over coffee and pastry as you gaze out over the square in the gallery portion of the restaurant.
If the suites that face the square prove to be a budget buster, request a room on the interior courtyard with a fine view of the dome of St. Isaac's, such as the one we enjoyed. The bed was very comfortable, the room clean and pleasant with plenty of closet and shelf space. The white marble tiled bathroom was equipped with a pleasantly, and an unexpectedly, deep and wide sink, a warm towel rack, and shelves for stowing toiletries.
The Hotel Angelterre is a very fine value, but don't write on the walls in your own blood; it has been done.