January 10th, 2012

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The entrance to the St. Regis Beijing.

This is an installment in my series on my January 2012 trip to China. Posts include: Help Me Plan My Trip To ChinaFlight Review: American Airlines 777 International Business Class to BeijingHotel Review: St. Regis BeijingBeijing Overview: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Peking DeckA Great Day at the Great Wall of China,  Flight Review: Air China 777 Domestic Business ClassHotel Review: Andaz ShanghaiTrip Report: Terra Cotta Warriors and a Wild Goose Pagoda in XianHotel Review: Sheraton Xian, and My China Trip Wrap Up: China Eastern, Hainan Airlines and the Westin Beijing.

So far, my trip to China has been a completely fantastic whirlwind. I already told you about my experience flying American Airlines 777 international business class. My first stop was the country’s capital, Beijing, where I stayed at the St. Regis Beijing. Here’s what I thought.

A Little Background

The hotel was actually opened way back in 1997 as part of Sheraton’s Luxury Collection. Then it was rebranded as the St. Regis (the first in Asia-Pacific) in 2000. It has 258 rooms and suites, all of which have St. Regis Butler service. There are a lot of Starwood hotels in Beijing, but I decided on the St. Regis because they offer a lot of Platinum perks (see below) and the location was decent–near the metro and not too far from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

The Rate

I chose to stay Starwood in Beijing because I’m going for SPG Platinum again in 2012, and I managed to score a nightly rate of 1,300 RMB ($206), which I thought was reasonable. This is a Starwood Category 5 property, so it would cost 12,000-16,000 Starpoints for a free night award, but from what I can tell based on the availability calendar even 6 months out, the Cash & Points option is not available, which isn’t unusual for St. Regis hotels. I generally don’t like using free award nights unless I stay for at least 5 days and can score the 5th night free. With no Cash & Points available, I opted to pay.

The living room of my Statesman suite with a couple couches, coffee table, work desk, and fruit and water welcome amenity.

The Room

I booked a standard Deluxe Room, but thanks to my Platinum status, I was offered an upgrade at check-in (without prompting) to a Statesman Suite, 3 room categories higher.

All the rooms come with 24-hour butler service for various low-key needs, and I was offered garment pressing for 5 items when I arrived, but nothing was too wrinkled, so I declined. It also included complimentary coffee and tea service at any time during the day, packing/unpacking services and complimentary shoe shine.

The room was spacious at nearly 650 square feet, with a tiled foyer, a large living room area with a sofa and some armchairs, a dark wood work desk, a flat-screen television cabinet and the minibar.

The bedroom was separate and had a king-size bed, a walk-in closet and a wardrobe and another 42-inch flat-screen with a DVD and CD player. One feature I really liked and would love to see in all hotels at this level was the laptop-sized safe with a power port inside it so I could charge my computer while I was out of the room and it was safely locked up.

The St. Regis Beijing's lobby bar.

Elite Status

In addition to the upgrade, which looks like it would have cost me only about 300 RMB, or just $50, my Platinum status also got me free WiFi (otherwise $12-13 a day), breakfast every day from the amazing spread in the hotel restaurant, and free cocktails and snacks in the club lounge every evening from 5:30-7:00 pm (though I was too busy to go, unfortunately!).

While several readers cautioned against the St. Regis for being too stuffy, I had a good experience. The only bizarre aspect of my stay was arriving at 1am and there not being a single person outside the hotel or in the lobby at the check-in desk. I had a “what the heck” kind of moment as I walked around the empty lobby for a couple minutes until someone scurried out from the back office and began to check me in. Not quite the service I’d expect at a 5 star hotel, but I let it slide and the amenities and suite upgrade made up for the minor inconvenience.

While the St. Regis is tucked away on a quiet street, I was able to walk to Tiananmen and the Forbidden city in about 25 minutes and getting cabs was never an issue at the hotel. Overall, it’s a comfortable hotel with great Platinum recognition, so I wouldn’t hesitate staying there again on my future visits to Beijing (though next time I want to try out the new Opposite House, which is supposed to be excellent even though it isn’t a part of a major loyalty program).


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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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