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Christmas and New Year 2012-13

St Petersburg has been called a city of dreams, a living theatre, a film set…. And this Christmas and New Year not only will the city be glowing like Tinseltown but at the Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 we are turning ourselves into producers of magic and fantasy.

It’s all very theatrical: our cast of characters who will be entertaining our guests has been sneaking out of the theatres from all over the city where they are rehearsing for Nutcracker, and are moonlighting throughout the hotel!

All sorts of gaily costumed creatures have been glimpsed gadding about – the Nutcracker himself has been marching up and down outside the entrance to the hotel practicing for the moment when he will be greeting families from all over the world, loving couples and self-confident singles; Clara has dried her eyes and is dreaming of her prince (he arrives on New Year’s Eve); the Mouse King and his Mouse Attendants have been planning a raid on the kitchens where our French chef Didier Reibel is creating wonders with their favourite marzipan. Drosselmeyer has cast a spell over the gingerbread house we are building in our Tea Room because some of the residents in the Kingdom of the Sweets cannot resist temptation!

Christmas we think has to have a cornucopia of fabulous sights and delicious smells: we have the most perfect tree one can imagine arriving in our Lobby, and this year our hotel staff is going to be decorating it with the most gorgeous baubles our guests have ever seen. It’s a very Russian tree, with a hint here and there of German Christmas, some English traditions, a sprinkling of Mediterranean style, rather like the atmosphere in the hotel – a sharing of European traditions in the cultural capital of Russia.

When our guests walk around the hotel they would be right in thinking that a very talented set designer has had a hand in the decorations. Not only do we have the traditional Christmas tree we also have our seasonal tree decorated with candy snow, candy apples and all sorts of wonderful goodies that really are good enough to eat! The faces of the children light up when they see that the ‘snow’ tastes so sweet!

In the rooms there are very special festive treatments and a wonderful aroma of… “Mmmm that reminds me of the Christmas we used to have…”

We are planning quite a Christmas party (actually, lots of parties…); if you have visited us before, during the holiday season you will know that we are seasoned party givers! It’s a wonderful mix of childish wide-eyed excitement and casual sophistication; the heady aromas of our mulled wine have been wafting around, as our bar staff set up an Aladdin’s cave of spices and fruits. We have invited our friends and neighbours from the Golden Triangle – that’s where we are located – and already people are asking us, “Are you going to be having that wonderful children’s choir again to sing in the late afternoons? Yes. “And are you going to be serving that wonderful festive tea?” Yes, and yes we are going to be selling all those wonderful cookies and muffins everybody wolfed down as soon as they set eyes on them!

Our New Year’s Eve extravaganza in the Bellevue Brasserie has become quite a fixture in the end-of-year social calendar; of course the setting is absolutely perfect, with that almost unbelievable panoramic view of the entire snow-clad city laid out before you through the frosted windows. We know that you appreciate the little elegant European touches like welcome cocktails in the lobby before we start the evening’s entertainment; and if we save the description of the food and drink for last that is only because one should always finish with a flourish! Chef Didier has shooed us firmly out of the kitchen but for certain we saw foie gras, oysters, caviar, lobster, Ruinart champagne…

Some people enjoy themselves so much that they are still celebrating when we lay out the brilliant breakfast that Didier conjures up on New Year’s Day.

Tempted? One should never resist temptation.