Until Four Seasons moved in, the Lion Palace Hotel was known more modestly as the ‘house with lions’. Not that it is modest at all. A huge triangular mansion with yellow façades and gleaming white columns, it looks like an enormous slice of neoclassical lemon meringue pie.

The lions are two statues that have stood at the grand entrance since the house was built in 1820; they are known to all Russians because they figure in Pushkin’s great poem The Bronze Horseman. Four Seasons has done everything possible to showcase this piece of literary and architectural history with an utterly sumptuous reinvention of 19th-century opulence.

The Lobanov Presidential Suite even has a heated balcony so you can go out in your slippers in winter and admire the golden dome of St Isaac’s Cathedral and the aquamarine frontage of the Winter Palace. But you could just as happily stay indoors and enjoy the foodie comforts: the Tea Lounge with its glass roof; the Xander Bar where you can sip a vodka cocktail and sample a few zakuski (the nibbles with which Russians like to take their drink); the pan-Asian Sintoho restaurant; or the Percorso, where chef Andrea Accordi (whose Prague restaurant won Eastern Europe’s first Michelin star) serves spit-roasted duck with cherry and pink-pepper compote.

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