With social distancing restrictions easing across the city, it looks like Hong Kong’s beginning to emerge from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, with the city’s borders still firmly shut, travel still seems like a long-off pipe-dream for most Hongkongers. So, it looks like we’re gearing up for another summer of staycations. Hotels across town are putting on all sorts of offers on to entice residents to check in for a night or more. Vaccinated? You get a discount! Staying longer than a night? You get these freebies! Still, from its perch in Wanchai, the lavish St. Regis Hong Kong, offers a tranquil escape that’s full of luxury and upscale treats, but without the bustle and crowds of some of the city’s biggest hotels.
The St. Regis brand refers to itself as the House of Astor, a reference to its owner – John Jacob Astor – and his intention to create a properly that mimicked welcoming guests into his New York City home at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s no wonder, then, that arriving at the hotel does feel like coming home – albeit a home that’s thoroughly opulent and design-forward, thanks to an exquisitely luxurious yet understated aesthetic created by designer André Fu.
Guests arrive in a covered portico and are quickly whisked up to the serene lobby area which is resplendent in marble, gilding, vertiginous ceilings, and an echo of Art Deco sensibilities.
These design aesthetics are carried through the property, including the Premier Room we check into. Here, the minibar shelving, plush seating, and marble-topped table all have echoes of opulent Art Deco style, as does the spacious marble bathroom and its elegant fittings. Comfort and modernity are key, though, so there are also Frette linens, robes, and slippers, and drapes that open and shut at the touch of a button located in the nightstand. It’s the little touches that make a difference, though, such as a massive standalone tub in the bathroom and eye-masks left on the nightstands during turndown.
Did we mention the 24-hour butler service? On a longer trip, the attentive butlers would be happy to pack and unpack or take care of whatever other need you might have during your stay. But, for a quick one-night staycation, there’s only so much you really need. Still, being able to order a barista-made coffee first thing in the morning (or in the middle of the afternoon) is a treat—despite the fact that there’s a Nespresso machine in the room—and having our outfits for the evening ironed while we’re lounging by the pool is very useful.
After checking into our room and enjoying a coffee, the first order of business is to treat ourselves to a little relaxation with some pool time and a spa session. I’m booked in for a Signature Flow Performance facial, so I wander down to the health club to kick things off. Because the St. Regis Hong Kong is a decidedly urban property, there isn’t a full-on spa per se. Instead, there’s a menu of rituals available on-demand and—at least right now, during the pandemic—several guest rooms have been transformed into very spacious and fancy spa suites. Once I arrive, my therapist does a quick consultation and explains the procedure. This particular facial incorporates eastern and western wellness traditions with indulgent products from London and Chinese gua sha massage techniques delivered with tools. I won’t lie—it’s uncomfortable. Gua sha helps with lymphatic drainage, so the therapist really digs into your face during the facial massage. Still, it’s very effective. When I finally look at my face an hour later, I suddenly have cheekbones and a more defined jawline.
To kick off our evening, we head to the St. Regis Bar for sundowners. The bar is utterly luxurious and intimate, but with the weather holding, we head outside to the terrace for our pre-dinner tipples. Despite the bar serving small snacks with the drinks, we’re asked to order yet another snack to meet the current Covid-19 restrictions. It’s confusing, because the guidelines don’t seem to be clear—I certainly haven’t been asked to do this in the several bars I’d been to in previous weeks. But, we can’t say we were made about the fries.
Any stay here should include dinner at one of the two Michelin-starred restaurants, and luckily, we’ve got a table at Rùn, the one-Michelin starred Chinese restaurant led by renowned local chef Hung Chi-Kwong. The meal is a surprisingly delicate symphony of seasonal dishes—the Deep-fried cod fish roll with green apple is a delightful surprise, while the Pan-fried spicy pigeon fillet with dried figs and pear sauce was light and flavorful.
After a great night’s sleep, we hit the spacious, well-equipped gym for a sweat session then head back upstairs to enjoy breakfast in the room. Be warned—the brekkie sets here are enormous. We share the Continental, which included fruits, a selection of pastries, and a choice of eggs (the Eggs Benedict here is top-notch). With the weather still holding, we then head down and snag a cabana by the pool to enjoy a little r’n’r. I’ve stayed at the St. Regis Hong Kong four times now, and this is the first time I’ve managed to get the pool—it’s a real treat. It’s small but well-appointed.
Rounding out the stay, we head to L’Envol for lunch. The sumptuous French restaurant helmed by chef Olivier Elzer was upgraded to two-Michelin star status in January, and we can certainly see why. Elzer’s creative pairings and laser-like technique are obvious throughout the meal, from the Grilled red prawn “carabineros” with caviar and Amontillado jelly to the Brittany blue lobster cooked ” a la nage” in a uni emulsion and lemon zest. Of course, the service is second to none, which seals the deal for one of Hong Kong’s most exquisite dining experiences.
If you’re looking for an urban escape where you can just check-in, indulge in some good food and drinks, and real R’n’R, then you’ll want to book a stay at the St. Regis Hong Kong quick-smart. It’s a sumptuous escape that’s the perfect break from reality. The hotel manages to offer luxury with a studied restraint that allows guests to enjoy the experience without being overwhelmed by grandiosity.
It’s also worth mentioning that service counts, especially in a city like Hong Kong where staycation options abound. The St. Regis Hong Kong also delivers on this front, with staff that is friendly and knowledgeable that offers attentive but not intrusive service. This is definitely a place where everyone knows your name and can organize things for you in the blink of an eye.
Written by The Loop HK for The St. Regis Hong Kong
The author was a guest of The St. Regis Hong Kong.