CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Hotel Astoria; Century Furniture Chest; An interior detail of Peterhof Palace; DVF Rug Company rug. 


Russia’s Peter the Great created magic when he built his dream city, St. Petersburg, at the mouth of the Neva River. But today the only way to see this post-Glasnost gem is with a private guide. Our advice: Place yourself in the hands of Exeter International, Russian travel specialists headed up by the charismatic Greg Tepper (when Travel + Leisure heads to Russia, it turns to him and his top-notch team). After you’ve scampered about the city’s sights, savor the flavor of this madcap metropolis by staying at the Hotel Astoria, a fabled hostelry overlooking St. Isaac’s Cathedral that’s just moments away from the main shopping street, Nevsky Prospekt. Exeter International, 800-633-1008; Hotel Astoria, doubles from $430; 888-667-9477;

Bring the look home: Capture a bit of the hotel’s heady charm with the Rug Company’s Royal Leopard hand-knotted Tibetan wool rug by Diane von Furstenberg ($4,725), and pair it with Century Furniture’s Oscar de la Renta parrot-green chest ($2,775)—a nod to the Orientalist tendencies of Peterhof Palace, just outside the Venice of the North. Rug Company, 88 Wooster Street, 212-274-0444. Century Furniture available to the trade through the Century Furniture Showroom, 200 Lexington Avenue, Suite 200, 212-479-0107.

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