Four Seasons Prepares to Open
Published: November 16, 2011 (Issue # 1683)
The front of the restored Lobanov-Rostovsky mansion, soon to open as a hotel.
The Four Seasons Lion Palace Hotel, set to open in the historic Lobanov-Rostovsky mansion, has entered the final stages of preparation for its opening in St. Petersburg early next year.
Tristar Investment Holdings, in charge of carrying out capital repairs and construction to transform the celebrated Lion Palace building into a hotel, and Uralsib Financial Corporation, the projects’ financial partner, have announced they have entered the final stages of construction and begun the gradual handover of the hotel to the operator, Four Seasons Hotels Resorts.
Four Seasons will soon begin recruiting and training personnel. The commissioning of the building is projected to create more than 300 jobs.
Isadore Sharp, founder of Four Seasons Hotels Resorts, expressed his enthusiasm for the project during a recent visit to St. Petersburg.
“From the beginning we shared the vision of transforming this grand building, with its 200-year history, into a modern hotel that meets all of the Four Seasons’ standards,” said Sharp. “We’re very proud to be associated with this unique and outstanding project, working alongside the developer, the financial partner and the owner.”
The property is owned by the Department of Presidential Affairs of the Russian Federation. Vladimir Kozhin, head of the Department of Presidential Affairs of the Russian Federation, said the reconstruction of the Lion Palace was “a fine example of a successfully implemented project, when the developer, investors and partners all contributed to preserving the cultural heritage and historical appearance of the city.”
During the restoration process, archived documents were used to recreate historical details as accurately as possible. Architect Auguste de Montferrand’s grand staircase has been returned to its original condition, requiring the marble, stucco and gilding to be restored. Sculptural moldings were reconstructed, and the paintings on the ceiling of the main entrance were recreated to match the originals. Two white marble lions, carved by architect and sculptor Paolo Triscorni, have been repaired and placed once again by the front entrance.
Completed in 1820 as Princess Lobanova-Rostovskaya’s residence, the palace was the work of Montferrand — who also designed the neighboring St. Isaac’s Cathedral — assisted by the Italian sculptor and architect Triscorni. The building has always been known as the Lion Palace, in honor of the two white marble lions guarding its main entrance.
The St. Petersburg landmark has been depicted in many period paintings and literary works, most famously, in Alexander Pushkin’s celebrated 1833 poem “The Bronze Horseman.”
Evolving with the various eras of Russian history, the palace has housed government offices, a hostel, a telephone exchange, a school and a design institute.
The new hotel will have 183 rooms, as well as two restaurants, a bar and a tea lounge in a glass-roofed winter garden. There will also be a spa, a fitness center and a pool.
For large-scale receptions and business conferences, the hotel is equipped with a ballroom, six meeting rooms and a formal boardroom.