Sadly, perhaps as good as it gets. A review of Angleterre Hotel
What you think of this place likely depends on whether you scale it against
the horrendous local competition, or actually consider it as the high-end hotel it claims to be. Having endured several grim mosquito-ridden towers in St. Petersburg, it was an enormous relief to be in a clean cheerfully-decorated room, with a multi-lingual reception staff. In fact, everyone on the ground floor of the hotel, including porters and bellboys, can at least get by in English (and often also in German, French, Spanish, or Italian), and all of them give the impression of being genuinely interested in assisting patrons. The concierge desk could do the standard tasks well --arrange tours, help with airport transport, recommend restaurants. They were impeccable in dealing with wake-up calls, sending ironing boards to the room, and the like. They also seemed to be doing their best in preventing or reacting to the various hassles that can occur in St. Petersburg. Several guests had problems with police or thieves in the city; from what I could tell, the hotel was making a solid effort (probably futile) to lend a hand in all cases.
The location is perfect and the beds are comfortable. And did I mention that the temperature controls in my room all worked perfectly?
OK, I want to move on to the bad news. For all their good intentions, the hotel is still on training wheels. Reservations seemed to get mangled often -- in my case, it took them two days to figure out that the room was prepaid,
and I met a few other guests who arrived to find room sizes and number
of beds that were different from their reservations. Once they get off their basic script, many of the staff are pretty clueless -- when thrown a question they haven't covered in rehearsal they react by simply ignoring it and asking something in their script ("Can I take a reservation for dinner?"), or respond that this question must wait for a "manager" ---apparently, a code word for someone who actually understands the workings of the hotel. Waiting for a manager to figure out something about your bill might take you a day (or two if it's a weekend), so I definitely wouldn't book here for a short stay. Worst of all, when asked something out of their ken, many of the staff seemed to just make an answer up out of thin air.
On check-in I was reminded persistently of the location and time of the breakfast buffet, which is a nice spread that included salmon and caviar. It wasn't mentioned that the buffet was not included in my room rate, and that they were charging an outrageous 30 euro for it. I figure the hotel "spa" is mostly symbolic --- it included a kiddie pool and two sauna rooms, which doesn't go very far in a large hotel with a lot of suana-happy patrons. The one time I went it was managed by a dour attendant who could manage a few cryptic phrases of english ("sauna 1 man. pool 25"-- the latter number refers, I think, to the temperature).
Many people have told me that this is the best hotel in St. Petersburg.
I couldn't prove them wrong. But if so, it says more about the city
than the hotel.