St. Petersburg In Your Pocket talks to Olga Molchanova, Head Concierge at Astoria Hotel.
- Tell us a few words about your career. What do you like the most about being a concierge?
- Telling you that I have worked as a concierge for more 10 years might sound boring to you - but not to me! I am grateful to Hotel Angleterre, Sokos Palace Bridge and my beloved Astoria for the experience, incredible stories and interesting people I have met. Being now the head concierge of the Astoria and Angleterre hotels, I try to carefully follow the basic pillars of the Rocco Forte Hotels Group, which means that the employee represents the unique city and the hotel.
- Each season has its advantages, what would you recommend to tourists for a real Russian summer experience?
- Summer in St. Petersburg is short but full of events, so everyone can find something to experience. When you are in St. Petersburg, you definitely have to go on a boat trip! The captain will take you with a breeze under all the bridges and watch with a smile as you admire the beauty of the city from the water. Those who are especially brave can try out the trendy SUP boarding along the Neva River and the canals. You can also ride a bike in the Central Park of Culture and Recreation or take a walk along the ponds of the Tavrichesky Garden. And do not forget to ask for “okroshka with kvass” in any restaurant of St. Petersburg.
- Which touristic city route and trips around the city would you advise to guests who come only for a weekend?
- It is important to have time to see the domes of St. Petersburg’s cathedrals during the day and the warm illumination of the palaces and bridges in the evening. Make sure to leave time to take a look at the Raphael loggias, Dutch Art and the Rembrandt Hall in the Hermitage. On Sunday try to explore the wonderful suburbs: either Peterhof or Pavlovsk. Each one is beautiful in its own way.
- Summer is the high season for cultural events in St. Petersburg. What is at the top of your list of July and August events that guests of the city should definitely attend?
- Along with all the culture, St. Petersburg is also expecting to host important sporting events. One of them is the International Marine Festival (on July 28). Guests of the festival will be able to see huge sailing ships and fast sailing yachts and take part in adventure games. In the middle of summer, during the International “Opera for Everyone” Festival (July 12-21), the nearby venues comprised of stunning architecture ensembles will be transformed into stages for magnificent opera pieces performed by the best orchestras, choirs and leading soloists of famous theatres from St. Petersburg, Moscow and Europe.
The “must see” event in August is the Dresden Opera Ball (August 31), a meeting of two great cultural nations and an incomparable experience in the presence of outstanding personalities and artists from Russia and Germany, as well as many international guests.