Karelinn Hotel — St Petersburg, Russia
The debut of the Karelinn hotel in St Petersburg is a hopeful harbinger that more of the city’s fabulous stock of period architecture will be repurposed with equally pleasing results.
Built in 1843 by the architect Yakov Reimers for a well-heeled merchant named Pavel Karelin, the grand pile in Vosnesenckiy – a few blocks from the Yusupovsky palace – has been reimagined by Aglaia Zarubaeva of local studio Hotelsonly into a modern, brightly lit bolthole. Or, at least, the first floor has – which, along with the peculiarities of the building, does mean that Karelinn’s amenities and services are limited to a continental breakfast and an enclosed yard.
The hotel’s first phase opened last summer during the FIFA World Cup, the architects and designers taking advantage of the hiatus to fine tune the spaces and to work on the original ceilings, some of which were in poor condition and required extensive restoration. The result was worth the wait.
With just 26 rooms, the hotel’s intimate vibe is balanced by the high ceilings, bold graphic art, and a palate of bright hues mixed with muted greys and burgundy. The original arched ceilings, meanwhile, served as an inspiration for the geometry of the curvilinear furniture.§