The Hermitage, located on the corner of Petrovsky Boulevard and Neglinnaya Street, was one of Moscow’s most fashionable restaurants and a favorite among Chekhov’s circle of friends. On February 6, 1895 Maria Chekhova found herself having dinner with the writer Dmitri Mamin-Sibiryak at the Hermitage after an impromptu visit to the circus. At the restaurant Mamin-Sibiryak went into a rage when Maria started praising Levitan and dared to call him a “Russian” landscape painter. It was not unusual for critics to disparage Levitan as a Jew incapable of being a truly Russian artist. Maria wrote her brother: “When you come, I’ll tell you everything. He really gave it to me!”
On March 22, 1897 Chekhov met his editor Suvorin for dinner at the Hermitage. Soon after they sat down to to eat, Chekhov began coughing up blood from his right lung. He was taken to Suvorin’s room at the Slavyansky Bazaar Hotel. A doctor was called but Chekhov refused to go to a hospital. Eventually he agreed to be admitted to a private clinic near Novodevichy cemetery. He was discharged on April 10th and told by his doctors that he must move to a warm, southern climate from the fall to the spring.
Since Suvorin always stayed at the Slavyansky Bazaar Hotel when he visited from Petersburg, Chekhov often dined with him and their friends at the hotel’s ornate restaurant on Nikolskaya Street not far from Red Square (Chekhov preferred to stay at the Great Moscow Hotel). In the final scene in “The Lady with the Lapdog,” Gurov comes up to his mistress Anna Sergeevna’s room at the Slavyansky Bazaar. They order tea to be brought to the room:
“…while he was having his tea, she stood there turned toward the window… She wept because she was agitated, because she was bitterly conscious that their life had turned out to be so sad: they could see each other only in secret; they had to hide from people, like thieves! Was not their life ruined?”