ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA — The festival that inspired the writings of Pushkin, Gogol and Tolstoy in the city that has been called “Russia’s Capital of Culture,” White Days in St. Petersburg is the single most significant festival for the true lover of the arts. Rocco Forte Hotel’s five-star luxury resort, Hotel Astoria, has become a part of the tradition of culturally rich winters of St. Petersburg. Located directly in the heart of St. Petersburg, Hotel Astoria directly overlooks St. Isaac’s Cathedral, The Mariinsky Palace and St. Isaac’s Square. The finest cultural establishments in the city including the State Hermitage Museum, the Russian Museum, the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Shostakovich Philharmonic Hall, the Yusupov Palace and Nevsky Prospect, are all just a short stroll from the hotel’s doors.

A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the Astoria has recently been completely refurbished and now features contemporary design with the highest level of comfort and style in a historic setting. The hotel is a classic study in the Russian version of Art Nouveau, featuring trademark rounded corners and graceful swirling plasterwork. The Astoria’s restaurant, Davidov, offers an award- winning array of exciting Russian cuisine accompanied by a wide range of fine wines. The finest caviar in Russia is served in the Davidov Vodka and Caviar Bar. With its 223 luxury bedrooms, full Turkish bathhouse and its renowned Winter Garden Ballroom, the world-class Astoria is the unmatched definitive hotel of St. Petersburg. Special rates from November 2005-March 2006 range between $180-$360 per night.

During these winter months of White Days, St. Petersburg is vibrantly alive and genuinely shines as the Russian “Window to the world.” Seeing the city in the snow is the only way to have an authentic Russian experience. At no other time of the year is the city so full of cultural activity. This year, the White Days festival will feature “A Fairy-tale Week in Mariinsky.” This festival is devoted to Maslenitsa (Pancake Week) in March, and will include opera and ballet performances by the famous Russian composers Glinka, Chaykovsky and Prokofiev. The annual festivities of White Days include international art exhibitions in the Hermitage Museum, the Festival of Ice Sculptures in the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Gogol Festival in the Mariinsky theatre, traditional Russian ballet festivals and nightly classical music performances. For more information and a full calendar of events please visit the White Days web site: www.whitedays.com.

The Astoria has for many years been a partner of many of the city’s most famed institutions. A special relationship with the Kirov Opera, where The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker were debuted, and the Philharmonic where Tchaikovsky’s Symphnoy Pathetique first stunned audiences, allows guests special access to the world’s most renowned cultural performances. Guests at the Astoria become immersed in the high culture of St. Petersburg. A winter holiday in St. Petersburg is certainly like no other.

For further information and reservations please visit the Rocco Forte Hotels website: www.roccofortehotels.com or call The Leading Hotels of the World at 1-800-223-6800.

Rocco Forte Hotels was established in 1996 to create a collection of luxury hotels in Europe. The hotels have individual styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, with each hotel reflecting its nationality and location. The collection is linked together under the Rocco Forte Hotels brand, which guarantees attention to detail, quality and service delivery.

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