A 19th century Russian palace and St. Petersburg landmark has been restored as a luxury hotel bearing the Four Seasons brand name.
Known as the House with Lions, the palace -- which boasts a colorful history since ground was broke in 1817 -- has been renovated to evoke the spirit of Imperial Russia.
After being delayed several times, the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace will open its doors Sunday to reveal the laborious restoration efforts made to resurrect the palace’s European-influenced style and esthetic.
Materials used include neo-classic mahogany, hazelnut and cherry furnishings, black lacquer and chinoiserie motifs from Europe.
Ceilings, granite columns and plaster details of the grand lobby have been carefully preserved and restored, while the showpiece of the palace -- the sweeping staircase to the second floor -- is also original granite.
Rooms are swathed in luxurious fabrics and materials sourced from Europe such as velvet and silk, while fixtures and bathrooms include marble and granite.
Over the course of two centuries, the House with Lions -- named after the two marble lions which stand guard outside the palace -- served as the Ministry of War (today known as the Ministry of Defense) between 1827 to 1917.
During the Soviet era, the palace also served as a hostel, school, and state-owned architectural bureau.
Major hotel chains have set their sights on Russia for expansion, particularly with the 2014 Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup 2018 on the horizon.
The Hotel Indigo St. Petersburg-Tchaikovskogo, for instance, is slated to open this fall, and the Sheraton Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Hotel is scheduled to open later this month.