GBA Lifestyle News
City Living Section
By Gayatri Bhaumik | April 23rd, 2019

A new hotel has opened in Wan Chai, and it’s a big one. The luxurious St. Regis brand made its debut in the Harbor City on April 11 with the opening of the St. Regis Hong Kong at 1 Harbour Drive in Wan Chai. We checked into the hotel during its first week of operations to see what all the fuss is about. Spoiler: we loved it.

It feels like coming home

The original St. Regis opened in New York City in 1904. Developed by businessman and real estate tycoon John Jacob Astor IV — who later became one of the unfortunate fatalities when the Titanic sank in 1912 — the hotel was designed to mimic the feel of the high society mansions of early 20thcentury New York.

And stepping into the new St. Regis Hong Kong certainly feels like walking into your very own mansion. Guests are met at the porte cochère by their personal butler and whisked straight up to their room to relax (and handle check-in at the same time). Guests can then wander into The Drawing Room for snacks and afternoon tea, the St. Regis Bar for an aperitif, and their personal dining rooms (read: the hotel restaurants) for meals. Though perhaps the homiest thing of all is ordering breakfast in bed — we highly recommend the eggs benedict — while lounging in your room.

St. Regis Hong Kong
The Lobby & Drawing Room.

The design

With design maestro André Fu overseeing the hotel’s aesthetics, you already know this is a beautiful hotel. The opulent yet tastefully restrained interiors are best described as New York Art Deco, but subtle touches pay tribute to Hong Kong. Take, for example the gate-like floor-to-ceiling structures that anchor the lobby and Drawing Room – they’re classic American Art Deco, but also reminiscent of Chinese framework.

St. Regis Hong Kong
A Permier Harbour Room.

The Rooms

There are 129 rooms here, making this a smaller big-brand hotel for Hong Kong. But don’t for a second think there’s any scrimping going on. Each massive guest room is smart, opulent but comfortable and offers an oasis in a city that’s often maddening. Our Premier Harbour Room came with the plushest king-size bed, a cozy armchair for reading, and a sitting area with an expansive table for working and eating. The huge marble bathroom also featured double vanities, a separate shower and soak tub, and all the Rémede amenities you could want. Technology is everywhere here, from the high-end TV and sound system to the button-activated drapes and full range of charging options on either side of the bed. Oh and let’s not forget that the sheets, robes and slippers are all by Italian label Frette.

The bespoke service

You won’t be another nameless guest when you stay at the St. Regis Hong Kong. This is very much the kind of place where everybody knows your name. Butlers greet you by name when you arrive at the hotel’s porte cochère — as do all the staff you encounter during your stay. After our spa treatment, my therapist even wrote a note to say thank you for visiting the spa. Of course the butler service is a St. Regis signature, and a team stands ready to attend to your ever need. Need a dress pressed? You’ll have it back within the hour. Want a bath at midnight? No problem – after drawing one for me, my butler even let me know that she was about to go off duty; the overnight team would be all male, so if I needed anything else I should ask her now.

The sustainability element

Sustainability is a bit of a buzzword in the hotel industry these days. But the St. Regis Hong Kong does more than pay lip service. We noticed several elements where thought was put into going green — think chic metal straws in cocktails, discrete recycling bins in guest rooms, and bamboo toothbrushes in amenity trays.

St. Regis Hong Kong
The cozy St. Regis Bar.

The F&B

Food and drinks are hardly an afterthought at the St. Regis Hong Kong. The hotel’s signature Chinese restaurant, Rùn, is led by renowned local chef Hung Chi-Kwong, and a dim sum lunch here elevates the classic Hong Kong experience to exquisite levels — start with the delicious har gao and sui mai, and be sure to order the Wagyu puffs, fried diced tofu with seven spices, and barbecued char siu.

Award-winning French chef Olivier Elzer has a collective 18 Michelin stars to his name, so we’re sure his latest venture with the hotel, l’Envol will be an equally decadent experience — be sure to take a peek at the cheese room. The Drawing Room is where you’ll find afternoon tea — once again, this St. Regis signature ritual has been elevated with the use of dim sum trolleys and a pick-and-mix service where guests can select eight items of any combination (an all-you-can-eat option is available, too).

Rounding out the hotel’s F&B offerings is the swanky St. Regis Bar, which has already become a go-to destination. A cozy enclave that spills over into The Drawing Room and adjacent terrace, this chic cocktail divan offers a wide range of wines — many of which you won’t find anywhere else in Hong Kong — along with a “tale of two cities”-style cocktail menu inspired by the New York subway and the Hong Kong tram line, both of which were opened in 1904 (the same year as the original St. Regis New York, in case you weren’t paying attention). Make sure to try the refreshing A Tie on Lennox Avenue, a blend of Plantation dark rum, rose, lychee, pistachio, fresh mango and lime, and order the utterly decadent truffled croque monsieur finger sandwiches to soak up your drinks.

The rituals

If you know anything about the St. Regis brand, you’ll know that there are a number of time-honored rituals that the brand applies to every one of its properties. The St. Regis Hong Kong is no exception. Afternoon tea, is of course, the most well-known, and a lasting tribute to Astor’s mother, Caroline, who was a big fan. At 530pm each evening, guests are invited to watch the saberage ritual in the dining room, where a bottle of Ruinart Champagne is popped open with the skilled swish of a sword to mark the transition from afternoon to evening (guests get a little bubbly to sip on, of course!).

Each St. Regis hotel also puts its own spin on the Bloody Mary — here, the Canto Mary is a delightfully exotic and piquant cocktail. The hotel will also offer its very own ritual — Violet Hour — where bar carts of bespoke gin and tonics will be carted around The Drawing Room for sundowners…but it’s only been two weeks since the hotel opened, so give it a little time before you rock up for this one.

The wellness

For guests looking to stay fit while on the road, the St. Regis Hong Kong features a huge onsite gym stocked with seriously state-of-the-art equipment and all the amenities you could want. Once the weather gets better, guests will also be able to enjoy the hotel’s smart pool deck (and the bar besides it). Currently, there’s only one treatment room offering a range of bespoke massages and facials – ask for Yuri, she has magic hands – but the hotel plans to expand this soon. In the meantime, guests can also request in-room treatments.

The stories

By now, it’s probably clear that nothing is done without reason at the St. Regis Hong Kong, and that everything has an intriguing story behind it. We’ve already mentioned the “tale of two cities”-style cocktail menu, but you’ll want to ask your bartender about the expansive mural that sits behind the St. Regis Bar (hint: it’s very inspired by Hong Kong). Then there’s the fact that you’ll notice subtle diamond-shaped accents everywhere — from the bedsheets and towelling to the glasses and lamps. Why? Because Astor’s mother, Caroline, was obsessed with the gem. If anything catches your eye while you’re at the hotel, just ask the hotel staff – they’re guaranteed to spin you a good yarn.

The attention to detail

Absolutely nothing is above notice at the St. Regis Hong Kong. Every little detail has been carefully and meticulously planned. The St. Regis Bar uses a range of bespoke glassware that are inspired by classic Art Deco aesthetics, and feature the St. Regis branding in subtle ways. In the rooms, minibars are stocked with exclusive St. Regis-branded gins that are specially made in France. It’s subtle touches like this that really make a stay at the St. Regis Hong Kong a memorable experience.

Note: The author was a guest of the St. Regis Hong Kong.

Looking for more in-depth stories about Hong Kong? Check out our city living section.