Hotel mirrors St. Petersburg history By Paul Felt / September 05, 2001 Share 1 -- ST. PETERSBURG -- The Radisson SAS Royal Hotel St. Petersburg opened in July with 164 rooms, including 17 suites. The $30 million property -- located in the heart of the city at the corner of Vladimirsky and Nevsky Prospekt -- is a reconstruction of an historic building.The structure dates from the mid-1700s and originally was an apartment building owned by noble families.In 1879, the building was purchased by a Russian merchant, who turned it into one of St. Petersburg's finest properties -- the Hotel Moscow.Although the hotel closed in the late 1920s -- a casualty of the 1917 October Revolution -- the building's restaurant continued to operate.In the early 1960s, a corner cafe on the site, known unofficially as 'Saigon,' "was the legendary place for St. Petersburg bohemia and underground life," according to Dina Kevra, executive manager with Russian National Group, a tour operator based in New York.During the site's recent renovation, the interior of the seven-story building was gutted, but its facade, under state protection as an example of architectural classicism, was restored to its 1880s appearance.The Radisson SAS Royal Hotel's is just over a mile from the Hermitage, according to Olga Kholmogorova, the hotel's revenue manager."We are located on the main street, so it is a direct path to the Hermitage. You can walk there, but it's better if one saves the energy for walking through the rooms of the museum," she said.Kholmogorova said the hotel's own taxi will cost $15, including tip, for the ride to any of the city museums.Rack rates for standard rooms are $290, single, and $310, double; superior rooms are $310, single, $330, double.Business class rack rates are $350, single, and $370, double. Suites are $450, single or double. Breakfast is included in business class and suites' rates.A 20% VAT and 5% sales tax also apply. Agency commission is 10% on the net room rate, before VAT.Through the Russian National Group, standard room rates are $239, single, and $269, double. Superior room rates are $299, single, and $329, double.The Russian National Group's rates include buffet breakfast and all taxes. Agency commission is also 10%. To book, call (212) 575-3431.The Radisson can be booked through the CRSs, by calling (800) 333-3333 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.