The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan Staycation – This is Shanghai
The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan has quite a history.
John Jacob Astor IV, a prominent member of the Astor family, was a business mogul, real estate developer, investor, writer, and lieutenant colonel during the Spanish American War. He was also the richest man aboard the RMS Titanic.
He descended into the ice brine on that fateful date of April 15, 1912. After placing his wife in the last lifeboat, he was last seen smoking a cigarette on the starboard deck wing. He was found 10 days later, floating in the water, a small fortune on his frozen person.
Eight years before his unfortunate iceberg incident in 1904, John Jacob Astor IV built the St. Regis New York, a sister property to his Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, “the most luxurious hotel in the world.” The height of opulence and technological advancement, each room had its own telephone. (We’re talking about 1904 – before they made us jerks – so be impressed).
Fast forward to the present day, and what can one – in a nutshell – expect from the St Regis Shanghai, built as it is in the vision of John Jacob Astor IV?
Glorious old school greatness.
Start your stay in the chic style of the mother of John Jacob Astor IV. New York Grand Dean Caroline Astor has taken afternoon tea to a new level by introducing ritual at dignified gatherings – an exhilarating prelude to her most notable formal social events.
Served in the drawing room, with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing natural light to penetrate from the garden, enjoy a sophisticated two-tiered tray, with crispy white starched napkins and custom-designed soft china to complement the elegant setting .
Discover a wide selection of aromatic teas, gourmet coffees and appetizers, including savory ones like foie gras balls, spring rolls with Kalimeris salad and white asparagus panna cotta, and sweets like baked tiramisu, le mascarpone cake with amarna cherries and mini linzer. And it wouldn’t be an Afternoon Tea without delicious freshly baked scones, served with traditional sour cream and jam.
Best Advice: You don’t need to be staying at the St. Regis to enjoy its Afternoon Tea; it is served every day from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at The living room. Go ahead and enjoy it!
In the room … an executive Skyline room. We’re talking about views from Beijing Xi Lu, over Shanghai Sculpture Park and People’s Square, to the Huangpu and Lujiazui River, with its sparkling skyscrapers.
As for the interior, it’s more of that old-fashioned grandeur, but with modern touches – high-speed internet, 55-inch flat-screen TV, and smart toilet. I love these smart toilets.
There’s also an LED tub mirror TV, and – get this – a butler will come and draw you a bubble bath. Butler service, baby! “24 hour anticipation” the butler will also unpack and wrap your bag, iron your shirts, polish your shoes, provide beverage service and generally jeeve to your Wooster.
After a bit of R&R in the bedroom, it’s time for the show in the lobby. Saber Champagne Show. A traditional St. Regis ritual that marks the passage from day to night, the top of a bottle of champagne is ceremoniously cut by sliding a saber through its neck.
Your humble servant received the honors on the evening of our stay and was advised to pull up the bottle line for a miracle one-shot beheading. Take their heads off!
The St. Regis Shanghai has three restaurants: Social for an all-day meal and a signature Sunday brunch, Yan ting for modern Shanghainese and Cantonese and Seki Tei for Japanese.
We opted for the latter and enjoyed a full menu combining fresh sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki and all that good stuff. And for good things, we definitely include a hot sake bottle.
Did someone say cocktail hour? After dinner, it would be rude not to go to The St. Regis bar. Paying homage to the famous King Cole Bar, a New York institution, it’s time for another interesting story.
In 1934 – the year following the end of Prohibition – bartender Fernand Petiot invented a drink at the King Cole Bar which he called the Red Snapper. It went on to become famous around the world as Bloody Mary and is the signature drink of Bar King Cole.
Well, the St. Regis Bar Shanghai sees the famous St. Regis Bloody Mary from the King Cole Bar (which of course also serves) and gives it a Mary Jing. This local take on the drink features unique Shanghai spices and local ingredients, with fig infused in vodka and dried osmanthus flower honey.
As they say, with a story like that, it would be rude not to …
Is there anything more decadent than breakfast in bed in a huge, well-appointed hotel room with stunning views? There actually is. Two breakfasts in bed in a huge, well-appointed hotel room with stunning views
After a good night’s sleep, rolled into buns what can only be described as a man’s angel with a huge cart sporting a breakfast of fresh fruit on top, and a couple of hot breakfasts keeping warm in his guts.
If I were to die now, they could say of me, “He lived. He really lived. ”
As tempting as it might be to pass out into an eating coma after that outrageous act of self-indulgence, there was one last stop before reluctantly leaving. The Athletic Club offers the latest Tech Gym machines and an individual yoga room with 24-hour access, but for me it was the glass-ceiling, sun-drenched indoor pool that was calling me.
So how – in a nutshell – do we describe the experience of staying at The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan?
More than epic …
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