This is an installment in my series on my January 2012 trip to China. Posts include: Help Me Plan My Trip To China, Flight Review: American Airlines 777 International Business Class to Beijing, Hotel Review: St. Regis Beijing, Beijing Overview: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Peking Deck, A Great Day at the Great Wall of China, Flight Review: Air China 777 Domestic Business Class, Hotel Review: Andaz Shanghai, Trip Report: Terra Cotta Warriors and a Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, Hotel 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.
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.
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.
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).