Varun flies into Russia’s ‘second city’ St Petersburg and immediately heads to the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St Petersburg – widely regarded as one of the finest hotels in the world.
After meeting and interviewing the hotel General Manager, Martin Rhomberg, Varun settles into The Presidential Suite … palatial but still quite homely!
He is taken by the city’s finest concierge, Olga Kachalova, on a boat trip around the city – the “Venice of Russia” taking in some amazing palaces and landmarks.
Back at the hotel, Varun meets up with the hotel’s sommelier, Denis Leonov, for a masterclass in fine vodka.
Fashion is a relatively new industry in Russia but at its forefront is Anatoly Bisinbaev and his daughter Alexandra Pogoretskya. Varun meets them at their atelier to talk fashion AND history!
It’s then a cooking masterclass from Andrea Accordi, Executive Chef at the Four Seasons where Varun learns to create a traditional Russian dish which includes caviar.
Russians love their art and Varun meets one of the country’s top art dealers Marina Gisich – who takes him on a historical journey through Russian classical and modern art scenes.
Finally, it’s a night/day visit to the famous Mikhailovsky Theatre.
In the evening, Varun is allowed back-stage at a performance of Mascagni’s La Cavalleria Rusticana – where he meets with one of the lead performers and wanders around the set.
The next morning, he is invited back to meet one of the greatest dancer/choreographers in the world – Nacho Duato during rehearsals. He invites Varun onto the stage to teach him a basic dance with a stunningly beautiful ballerina!