(Moscow, St. Petersburg)
Fit for a Tsar, this opulent red carpet adventure takes you behind the scenes of Russia, offering a VIP look into one of the world's most dramatic and decadent countries. Delve into the highlights of Moscow and St. Petersburg in luxury with expert private guide, chauffeur, a little caviar and a lot of champagne! From cocktails in the flag tower of St. Peter and St. Paul's fortress, to a private performance at St. Nicolas' Church, a backstage tour of the Bolshoi theatre and encounters with Russian elite, to a private before hours Hermitage visit, access to Voltaire's library, a tour led by Dostoevsky's Great Grandson, a private tea party at Pavlovsk Palace and feasting on the Tsar's favorite dishes at impossible-to-access restaurants, this is Russia at her richest. The jewel in the crown of this avant-garde journey? Stay at the same 5* hotels as Pavarotti, Queen Elizabeth and Tchaikovsky!
A Kensington Elite travel immersion gives you access to unique locations and exclusive experiences in true VIP style, our best take on the best that the world has to offer.
We will provide you with a letter of Invitation for your Russian Visa. Once payment has been received, the letter along with other important documents will be sent to you.
Upon arrival into Moscow airport, you will have a VIP Fast Track service in order to get you through customs as quickly as possible.
Upon arrival at Moscow airport, you will be met by your English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel. Porterage assistance is included.
A welcome package with your detailed itinerary, vouchers, a city map, train tickets (if relevant) and any other touristic information that you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Familiarize yourself with the city centre of Moscow as you accompany a private guide on a walking tour. Get your first glimpse of the Russian capital: the Red Square, the oldest and largest square of the city with the magnificent St. Basil’s Cathedral, visit of the GUM - an elegant shopping centre built in Art Nouveau style, then take a walk in the historical city centre and absorb the atmosphere of Kitai Gorod, the district of merchants and handicrafts artists, the Zaryadie district, the Boyars’ palace, and St. Trinity church in Nikitniki. (no entrance fees included).
Enjoy dinner this evening featuring Russian specialties in a typical restaurant located in the city centre.
The Ritz Carlton (5*) lies at the edge of the famed Red Square – the site of countless coronations and celebrations. The 11 storey five star hotel boasts polished, dark cherry and burl wood decor and bathrooms finished with marble from Portugal and the Altai mountains. The property features a Spa by ESPA with indoor pool, hotpool, sauna and steam rooms and has all of the amenities one would expect of a leading, first class hotel. Figuring on the Conde Nast 2012 Hotel awards as well as "World's Best Hotels 2012" with Travel & Leisure, it is quite simply "the" place to stay in the city! Savor the selection of the many fine dining options available onsite and prepare your senses for a culinary experience like no other. One of Moscow’s Hot Spots, the O2 Lounge is the ideal venue for cool cocktails and finest sushi with breathtaking views over Red Square and the Kremlin. The Ritz Carlton Bar & Lobby lounge offers a relaxed and sophisticated ambiance to enjoy pre or post dinner drinks while the Cafe Russe offers Authentic Russian dining experience with world-famous dishes and boasts over 350 vintages.
Visit Stalin’s bunker for a taste of Second World War History. During this visit, you will have the unique chance to see the Hall of the Supreme Commander in Chief of The Red Army, Stalin’s working cabinet, and the dining room. This site was opened for tourists in 1996.
The next place on the agenda today is the Treasure Chamber of the Tretyakov Picture Gallery (Russian art museum). The State Tretyakov Gallery is a national art museum which boasts the world's largest collection of Russian art. In the Soviet period, the collection grew up to 100.000 works, part of them are kept in the New Tretyakov Art Gallery. Among the exhibits are the most famous Russian icons including the "Holy Virgin of Vladimir" of early 12th century, Andrey Rublev's "Holy Trinity", masterpieces by Repin, Surikov, Shishkin, Savrasov, Aivazovsky and others.
To finish off the afternoon, there will be a Private concert of orthodox chants by the choir at St Nicolas church performed in your honour. At days end, your driver will bring you back to your hotel in Moscow.
This evening you will get to take a tour of the metro of Moscow where some of the stations look like gala rooms, before your arrival at Pushkin Square. Take a short walking tour of the main street "Tverskaya" in the company of your guide before they will drop you off at Pushkin Café , one of the most prestigious restaurants of the city, to enjoy dinner (3 courses with drinks(mineral water, tea/coffee and a glass of wine included). Return to the hotel independently once you are ready to make for home.
Enjoy a 4 hour walking tour today taking in the Kremlin - the historic cradle of the city, and a visit of the three beautiful churches in the Cathedral Square - among them the Assumption Cathedral where the Tsars of Russia were crowned. Visit the Treasure Chamber of the Kremlin within the Armory Palace before continuing with a visit of the Diamond Foundation with its famous imperial collection of diamonds.
Enjoy a tour of the Bolshoi theatre in the company of a private guide. The company of the Bolshoi was originally founded in 1776 by Prince Peter Urusov and English impresario Michael Maddox as the Moscow Public Theatre. The building itself is one of Moscow's most symbolic sites, a truly impressive example of Russian Classical architecture that faces the Kremlin walls, and is the second biggest opera house in Europe (after La Scala). After the Revolution, the theatre initially faced hostility from the Bolsheviks as a superfluous symbol of elitist bourgeois culture, and funding was cut dramatically. But traditions survived and, after the Second World War, the Bolshoi became a dominant force in ballet not just in Russia but throughout the world, producing star after star including ballerinas Galina Ulanova, Maria Plisetskaya, and Ekaterina Maksimovna, and male dancers such as Vladimir Vasiliev and Maris Liepa.The Bolshoi takes its role as Russia's national theatre seriously, and the policy is to ensure that 70% of its repertoire is made up of Russian masterpieces. In recent years the company has made every effort to increase the number of works by 20th century Russian composers not performed or little performed in the Soviet Union, and some of the most exciting recent additions to the repertoire have been ballets and operas by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, etc. Both the ballet and opera companies perform a range of Russian and foreign works here.
Consider attending a performance at the Bolshoi theatre during your stay in Moscow. Please speak to your Sales Advisor for information on performances during your time in the city.
Relax on the short private train station transfer in Moscow.
Let a porter look after your luggage today.
Watch the changing landscapes on your fast speed train ride from Moscow to St. Petersburg, departing in the afternoon.
Avail of a private train station transfer with private vehicle and driver (local language speaking) in St Petersburg and take in the main sights on a panoramic city tour before being dropped off at your hotel.
Positioned on Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg's most splendid avenue, Grand Hotel Europe (5*) is surrounded by some of the world's greatest cultural treasures, including the Russian Museum and Mussorgsky Theatre Grand Hotel Europe. Discerning travelers are charmed by the hotel's warm Russian hospitality, impressive architecture and exceptional service. The Hotel offers spacious, tastefully decorated accommodations with antique furniture and period touches, but also incorporates all the comforts a modern traveler needs. The hotel has a wide range of dining options, including its own chocolate factory. The Grand Hotel Europe offers its guests gracious elegance and luxurious comfort, such as in the era of the Tsars.
Take a panoramic city tour and get acquainted with the main architectural and historical monuments of St Petersburg, ride along its main streets and prospects, and enjoy its splendid parks and gardens. Drive along world famous "Nevsky Prospect" lined with marble palaces of Russian royalty and aristocracy, with most fashionable boutiques. View Monastery of Alexander Nevsky with its magnificent Trinity Cathedral and its cemetery where Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky and other world celebrities were buried.
Visit St. Peter and St. Paul's fortress, and enjoy a special cocktail in the flag tower which you will have on an exclusive basis, to watch the ceremony of the cannon shot traditionally given at noon daily by the Fortress governor since the time of Peter the Great. Continue on in style with a unique visit of Voltaire’s library which is normally closed for public access. During this visit you will discover the invaluable collection of Catherine the Great including pieces by the great encyclopedic philosophers and writers like Voltaire and Diderot great! (total: 4hrs)
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
St. Petersburg’s restaurants are as diverse as the food they serve. The city continues its historical mission as a ‘window to the West’ so besides traditional Russian fare, you can find cuisine from just about every other country here.
Take a stroll to the prestigious Russian Empire Restaurant located in the Stroganov Palace on Nevsky Prospect - one of the oldest and most luxurious mansions of St. Petersburg. An English speaking escort will accompany you to the restaurant and drop you off to enjoy a wonderful 4 course set menu dinner including mineral water, coffee/tea and a glass of wine).
This restaurant has been called the most exquisite in Russia for good reason. Three luxurious dining rooms each have their own individual atmosphere and all are decorated in the finest style. Diners eat from Gianni Versace porcelain plates and drink wine out of Bohemian crystal glasses while surrounded by 24-carat gold ornaments. Many dishes were created according to the tsar’s menu recipes: Gold and white caviar, Cigal Lobster, Imperial oysters and the Count’s beef Stroganoff. The wine cellar boasts one of the finest wine collections in Europe.
Fully sated, you may like to walk back to your hotel independently or take a taxi.
Enjoy a privately guided 2.5 hour tour of the Hermitage and admire the gems of the collection - with the first hour of your tour being before regular opening hours. During the tour you will see the State Rooms of the Winter Palace, a part of the collection of paintings of Old Masters and other exciting exhibits and works of art. Take in the splendour of the Gala stair-way, Peter's Memorial Hall, the Armorial Hall, the Gallery of 1812 with its numerous portraits, the Pavilion Hall and its various amusements and other gala rooms.
The Treasure Gallery, one of the most interesting collections of the museum, got its name in the 18th century during the reign of Catherine the Great. It consists of two sections. The first, called the Gold Room has works from Eurasia, the Black Sea Littoral in antiquity, and the Orient. It consists of around 1,500 works made from gold and dating from the 7th century B.C. to the 19th century A.D.
The main idea of the second section, which is called the Diamond Room, is to show the development of the jeweler's craft over the course of mankind's many centuries of history from the third millennium B.C. to the start of the 20th century. Entrance fee to Hermitage Museum is included in the tour price.
You are in for a treat today as you'll get to enjoy a half day walking tour strolling around St. Petersburg in the districts where Fedor Dostoevsky lived as well as those where the episodes of his numerous novels took place - in the company of none other than the Great Grandson of Dostoevsky himself! The backdrop for most of Dostoevsky’s writings is the city of St. Petersburg which he both loved and hated. Learn about D.A. Dostoevsky's ancestor’s life during the walking tour before finishing up in the writer’s memorial apartment.
Enjoy an excursion out of the city today (approx. 50 mins drive from the city centre) to one of the most beautiful summer residences of the Royal family, Peterhof. A fun way to get there is by hydrofoil which leaves from the Hermitage (which you will be dropped to by private vehicle). The world-famous palace, fountain and park is an outstanding landmark of Russian artistic culture of the 18th-19th centuries. It was founded at the very beginning of the 18th century by Emperor Peter the Great.
Visit the Great Palace, which is the structural center of the Upper Gardens and the Lower Park, the high terrace, adorned with gold statues, the crystal jets of the Great Cascade and the terrace fountains. Learn from your private guide about the fate of the palace and the parks during the World War II, see the pictures representing the palace and in process of restoration works. Enjoy the spacious and airy rooms of the palace, adorned with rich moldings, splendid parquet flooring, exquisite carving, painted ceilings and canvases by great masters.
Walk around the various individually sized fountains in the lower Park, and admire the beautiful gardens, before being met by your driver for the return private transfer back to your hotel.
Because there is so much to see in the Peterhof Palace complex, we have not included entrance fees to all areas but rather, prefer to let you know that entrance fees can be arranged in advance if you would like a guide visit. Options include the Treasure Chamber, The Tsarina's Estate, My Pleasure Palace, Catherine Pavillion, The Baths Pavillion, Hermitage Pavillon, Palace of Nicolas I (The Cottage), Museum of Cards, as well as the smaller museums including the Palace of Peter I in Strelna, Museum of Private collections, Museum of Imperial bicycles, Museum of Imperial yachts and The Chapel. More information can be found at http://peterhofmuseum.ru/?lang=eng. Please note that all privately guided visits in Peterhof need to be booked in advance and as such, you would need to let your Sales Advisor know if you would like to have a private guided visit of any of these areas.
What better way to learn about Russian Ballet or Opera than from one of the Professionals! Spend a unique evening over a 3-course dinner with a Ballet dancer or Opera soloist and gain insiders knowledge into this artistic side of life in St Petersburg. Dinner will be in one of the restaurants in the Theatre district (but of course!). Please let your Sales Advisor know if you have a preference of the Artists discipline. Please note that this is based on an Artists availability for the date in question.
Today is spent taking in the splendours of Pavlovsk and Pushkin.
Pavlovsk is the site of the only fully-restored former Imperial Palace following the Nazi’s ravage. The palace-and-park ensemble was presented by the Russian empress Catherine the Great to her son Paul on the occasion of the birth of his first son, Alexander. The palace's Greek Hall is adorned with green Corinthian columns making the ballroom the most elegant interior of the Palace in Pavlovsk.
Visit the restoration workshops of the Palace to see the intricate work that is required in the upkeep of the antiques and works of art.
The park of Pavlovsk is the largest park in Russia with ponds, valleys, waterfalls and various statues laid out at the end of the 18th century and the perfect spot for a contemplative stroll.
Pushkin, originally named Tsarskoe Selo (Tsar's Village), is famous for the marvelous Catherine Palace and park. The town, also known as Pushkin, in honour of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, was the main summer residence of the royal family. The collection of the palace includes a large number of precious works of art, such as furniture, porcelain, statues, canvases, including personal belongings of Russian emperors and members of their families. Your private guide will tell the story of the Catherine Palace's construction, and will get to know about the tragic moments in the palace's history, connected with the Nazi occupation during the World War II.
Visit the Amber Workshop where the Amber room (one of the most remarkable interiors of Catherine Palace) was reproduced. See how the craftsmen work with amber, how they cut and color it. Hold the raw amber in your hands, and under the tutelage of one of the artists, you'll forever be able to tell natural and unnatural amber apart.
General entrance fees to Palace of Paul I and Park (Pavlovsk Palace) and Catherine Palace and Gardens (Pushkin) as well as access to both workshops are included in the tour price.
A Russian tea party will be arranged specially for you in one of the wings of the Pavlovsk palace overflowing to the superb park surrounding the palace. Enjoy authentic samovars, pirozhki and sushki (typical Russian pastries) as you take in the beautiful surroundings!
The theatres in St Petersburg have busy schedules throughout the year so there may be an opportunities to catch a performance in one of the majestic theatres in the city during your stay. Please let your Sales Advisor know if you are interested in the possibility of attending a performance and you will be provided with options.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer in St Petersburg.
Citizens of other countries may require a visa. Please ask your Sales Advisor. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of Russia for the most up to date visa information.
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