Rocco Forte Hotels

Supported by WATERFUL spring water and Maison Pol Roger Champagne


Over the past 100 years and more, Hotel Astoria has attracted a dazzling array of stars from cinema, music, politics and the arts to take up residence, all contributing to the magical charm of its history and inimitable style.


To celebrate the extraordinary guests who have graced the hotel throughout their travels, Hotel Astoria invited art aficionados at all levels, both amateur and established, to create their own artworks to demonstrate what ‘travel’ truly means; symbolising unusual experiences and the hotel’s legendary passion for providing hospitality of exceptional quality. The painting competition was open to all, welcoming all styles and techniques.


To judge the 200 superb artworks we received, we invited Olga Polizzi, Rocco Forte Hotels’ Director of Design, to join a stellar panel of long-time friends and partners of the hotel who specialize in art, travel and experiences;

- Teresa Mavica, head of V-A-C Contemporary Art Foundation, Commissioner of the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale

- Karina Dobrotvorskaya, President and Editorial Director Brand Development and writer and theatre and cinema critic at Conde Nast International

- Gennady Jozefavicius, travel and gastronomy expert, journalist and TV host

- Igor Garanin, Chief Editor of GQ Russia

- Marina Gisich, gallerist and designer, founder and owner of Marina Gisich Gallery of Contemporary Art

- Vladimir Fridkes, renowned photographer and member of AES+F art group


An exquisite virtual dinner was hosted by Pol Roger champagne and WATERFUL spring water to announce the winners, featuring a live-cooking demonstration led by Hotel Astoria Executive Chef Marius Ackermann, who hosted thirty jury members, partners and friends of the hotel from Moscow, St Petersburg and London.


The superb winning paintings will be made into limited edition suitcase stickers which guests of Hotel Astoria will receive as a welcome gift upon arrival throughout 2021, alongside a catalogue celebrating the wonderful artworks we received. Images of the paintings can also be admired on our website and social channels. A huge thank you to everyone who took part in this creative celebration of travel and experience.


The winners

“I have always enjoyed drawing just for leisure and have only been showing my works to immediate family and friends. It was only very recently that I decided to start sharing it on social media and to give 100% of my time to illustrating. And it turns out I was right! I am very inspired by contests like this, it is a very atmospheric one, with the objective to symbolise an epoch. I wanted to read and see as much as possible on 1920s works like ‘The Great Gatsby’ or ‘Midnight in Paris’ in order to feel the atmosphere of those years. I could not stop drawing and suddenly it was a whole series of illustrations!”

Anna Rogacheva, ‘Unloading luggage from the car’


“I have always been inspired by architecture, and I wanted to draw Hotel Astoria for a long time. In my image for the contest I wanted to feature not only the building, but also the spirit of St Petersburg, that is why I chose a round, closed-in image, reminiscent of St Petersburg courtyards. The seagull is meant to accentuate the connection with the city even further, as it’s difficult to imagine St Petersburg without these birds. I live and create in St Petersburg, and in my creations I like to make the world a little brighter, more magical; to tell its stories. I always pay attention to details because I believe that my drawings’ soul is hidden in them.”

Maria Pesotskaya, ‘Panoramic image of the hotel with a seagull’


“I have chosen the carriage because I believe in magic and think that life is a fairytale. I wanted to show the magic of life in my drawing. It is also a symbol of traveling, as in my illustration the hotel is “the passenger” of the carriage. Plus, the carriage is a historical symbol, a classical one, and a ceremonial one. And that is how I see Astoria - with its traditions, art, spirit and atmosphere.”

Natalia Barantseva, ‘Silhouette of the hotel inside a symbolic carriage’

You may also like

René Magritte, Painted into the Story of Brussels

When considering the wonderful, whimsical world of surrealist artist René Magritte, Brussels lies at the start. Belgium’s capital is where he won his first solo exhibition, where a chance meeting led him to the love of his life, and where he spent the majority of his prolific career. The two are irrevocably intertwined. 

Celebrate Christmas Like a Bright Young Thing

To help you get into the holiday spirit, we’ve rounded up a few of the supper spots, bars and shopping districts attracting a younger crowd in London, Rome and Munich.