History of the Palace
A significant landmark of imperial Russia, the building that now houses Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg was conceived at the beginning of the 19th century by a distinguished noble couple: Prince A.Y. Lobanov-Rostovsky, who was an aide-de-camp to Tsar Alexander I, and his wife, Princess Cleopatra Lobanova-Rostovskaya.
Historical records show that, in 1817, the lot where the palace now stands was “graciously granted” to the princess, and the couple planned to erect an elite apartment house. In fact, the majority of palaces in St. Petersburg’s city centre were originally used as apartment buildings.
With the design for the neighbouring St. Isaac’s Cathedral already receiving praise, even before its construction had begun, Prince Lobanov-Rostovsky hired the same architect, Auguste de Montferrand, to create a building that would enhance the square.
The first residents arrived in 1820. The building was not only a business success as an apartment house, but also quickly became one of the capital’s key cultural centres. Events and happenings at the palace were regularly featured in the society columns of popular magazines.
As times changed, the palace continued to play an important part in the history of the city and the country. From 1827 to 1917, the building was home to the Ministry of War – today, the Ministry of Defence. During the Soviet era, it housed a hostel, a school and a state-owned architectural bureau. Over the years, much of the interior was damaged and removed during renovations.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the building was passed to the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation, and a decision was made to revive this architectural monument as a hotel – leading the way to the creation of Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg.