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TO THE POINT: During a recent trip to Shanghai, I decided to stay at one of Starwood’s newest hotels in China, the St. Regis Shanghai Jingan. Pros: spacious rooms with good views, big spa and fitness center. Cons: out-of-the-way location.
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I traveled to Shanghai at the tail end of a trip to China, but decided to spend a few days in the city before taking a flight back to the US. Part of the reason I did so was because it let me check out two of Starwood’s newest hotels in the country, the St. Regis Shanghai Jingan and the W Shanghai – The Bund. Because of timing and transportation, I decided to stay at the St. Regis first.
I was only going to spend a single night at the property, so I decided to book a standard room, or what the hotel calls deluxe. There were a number of possible rates, but I went for the lowest, the SPG Member Exclusive Flexible Rate, because it was $5 cheaper than even the normal flexible rate.
I booked a regular deluxe room for $234 per night, which gave me the opportunity to cancel right up until the day of check-in. With taxes, the total came to $273. Not cheap, but not super expensive for a luxury property like this one at a busy time of year.
As an SPG Gold elite, I would earn three Starpoints per dollar spent on my stay. I thought about paying for it with my Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or my Starwood Preferred Guest® Business credit card from American Express to earn an additional two points per dollar, for five total. Based on TPG’s current valuation of Starpoints, that’s like a 13.5% return on spending. Nevertheless, I decided to use my Chase Sapphire Reserve and earn three Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on top of the three Starpoints per dollar instead.
Maintaining some level of elite status with Starwood was also a consideration. I had credit for six stays to date for the year, four of which were from carrying both SPG Amex cards. But because of the Starwood Preferred Guest promotion active during my stay, I earned double stay credit, bringing me two stays closer to the 10 I needed to maintain Gold status. SPG Gold status is even more valuable because it confers automatic Marriott Rewards Gold elite status.
If you’re interested in using points to stay at the hotel, it’s a Category 5 property where award nights cost 12,000 to 16,000 points each, and cash-and-points nights are 6,000 points plus $110.
The hotel opened in May and has 491 rooms including 67 suites. Located in the Jingan neighborhood, it’s near the famous Jing’An Temple and the huge shopping street of Nanjing Road. It’s also not too far from the shopping and restaurants of Xintiandi, home to the Andaz Shanghai, and the French Concession. That said, if you want to be close to the Bund or have work over in Pudong across the river, this is probably not a great choice for you, since traffic in the city can be crazy.
I arrived at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) at 8:30pm after a short flight from Xi’an Xianyang International Airport (XIY). The airport is quite a ways out of town, so to save time and money, I took the maglev train from the airport to the Longyang Road station in Pudong and got a taxi from there.
The train took 10 minutes and cost 50 CNY ($7.50), then it was a 15-minute taxi ride from the station to the hotel, which cost 40 CNY ($6). Traffic was light because it was late and because it also happened to be a national holiday in China. As a point of comparison, a taxi all the way would have cost approximately 200 CNY ($30).
When I got to the hotel, there were no bellmen or doormen, so I strolled in with my suitcase. Directly inside the door was a bell desk, but no one was there either.
I turned to the right, walked past it and was greeted by an agent at one of the individual check-in desks.
The aesthetic was clubby, with heavy wooden desks, tufted leather armchairs and gilded, glass-fronted chinoiserie armoires.
The agent said I had been upgraded from the king deluxe room to a superior deluxe king room, which would have cost $15 more for the night. She said she could upgrade me to a Caroline Astor Suite for 500 CNY ($75), but I did not take her up on it, since I would not have much time to enjoy the room anyway.
My room was on the 56th floor.
Rooms were all nonsmoking, and I didn’t detect a whiff of cigarette smoke during my stay, a rarity in China.
Regular deluxe rooms were 495 square feet, but my superior deluxe king was listed at between 581 and 603 square feet, and it certainly felt spacious.
Inside the short entry hall and behind the door were buttons to light up the do-not-disturb and make-up-room indicators located outside the room.
To the left was a small closet — like, shockingly small.
It had plenty of hangers, but tiny drawers, one of which was taken up by the safe, and there was nowhere convenient to put my suitcase.
The room was beautiful. There was a king bed dressed with white linens, a simple leather bench at the foot of the bed, and nightstands on either side.
Both sides had a USB port and switches for all the lights and the shades.
The carpet, which was silvery blue with brown-and-gold floral motifs, was especially pretty, and I liked the recessed ceiling and lighting.
Beyond the bed, next to the large windows, were a work desk, a curvaceous chaise lounge with a standing lamp and a high round table. This space basically accounted for the difference in square footage between a deluxe room and a superior deluxe room.
Running along the windows was a narrow, cushioned bench. The desk was slim, constructed from dark wood and had a shelf holding artwork and a vase. The desk chair had a contemporary profile.
Hidden in a panel on the desk that you had to practically yank to open was a set of plugs and A/V inputs. It looked shoddily finished, thanks to the crude caulking.
Along the wall opposite the bed was a glossy white chest topped by a 48-inch television.
There was a compact Nespresso coffeemaker and a kettle.
The minibar was in the chest’s drawers. One drawer was refrigerated and held a selection of beverages.
Another held snacks, and a third held glasses and cups.
The bathroom was my favorite part of the room. It was enormous and decorated in glossy white marble.
The centerpiece, located by the windows, was a dramatic, undulating soaking tub with a freestanding faucet and shower head. There was a 17-inch television embedded in the wall behind it.
There were separate stalls for the shower and the toilet.
The shower had both an overhead rainfall shower head and a handheld one.
The toilet doubled as a bidet.
The bathroom had two sinks and mirrors, and the countertop was made from beautiful black marble.
There were bottles of water waiting for me to use to brush my teeth, and a little drawer with amenities like mouthwash, a shower cap and a shaving kit.
As is the brand standard, the soaps and other bath products were made by Laboratoire Remède.
The room had a stunning city view.
The night views were incredible, but the daytime views were also pretty spectacular.
Wi-Fi was free and fast.
Overall, I thought the room was beautiful and very large. Most of the finishes were gorgeous, and that all-marble bathroom was a showstopper.
Notably, some of the finishes were already looking scuffed and poorly assembled. Although I was staying a single night, I would have loved a bigger closet in which I could have opened and unpacked my suitcase, but that was the one major downside of the accommodations.
Food and Beverage
The hotel had six dining options, though most were about to close by the time I checked in. I wandered down to the second floor to check out the mezzanine and peek into two of the restaurants there.
The property’s all-day dining restaurant, Social, was down on the ground floor opposite reception.
It featured a buffet with several stations, as well as à la carte Asian and continental options, most of which were also available via room service.
The ground floor was also home to the Drawing Room for coffee, tea and small bites. I especially liked the Dale Chihuly glass installation on the far wall.
Between the elevators and the reception area was a small café serving pastries, hot drinks and wine.
On the second floor, the hotel’s Chinese restaurant, Yan Ting, served Cantonese food.
There was a Japanese restaurant called Seki-tei there as well.
Finally, the hotel was home to the brand’s signature bar, which had seating areas on both the ground and second floors (though only the ground floor was open during my stay).
The menu had a huge selection of whiskies (especially Scotch and Japanese) plus a plethora of classic cocktails including mai tais and Moscow mules. The Manhattan I ordered was simple, but packed a punch, and cost what you’d pay in US cities (98 CNY, or $15).
St. Regises are also known for their Bloody Marys, and the property-specific one here was called the Mary Jing. It came with homemade fig vodka, fresh yellow-tomato and lime juices and homemade osmanthus honey. It cost 108 CNY ($16.50).
After my drink, I retreated back to my room and ordered a club sandwich from room service, which was small but tasty. The room-service operator told me that the other signature dish was the Taiwanese guan miao noodles with beef brisket, seasonal greens and spring onions. It sounded delicious, but I had eaten noodles for breakfast and lunch in Xian, and needed a change of pace.
St. Regis is renowned for its butler service, and it was up to par here. Hotel butlers would come to my room and unpack or pack my belongings and offer to press clothes or do laundry — they generally served as a limited personal assistant.
My personal favorite of the tasks you could request was the complimentary coffee or tea, available at pretty much any time of day. When I woke up, I rang up for coffee and it arrived less than five minutes later — just one cup with another cup of warm milk, sugar on the side and two green-tea cookies. I would have preferred a pot, but served myself seconds from the Nespresso machine in my room.
At the hotel’s Iridium Spa and the gym, the spa manager greeted me personally and told me about the treatments, then showed me to the gym and the swimming pool.
The spa had huge locker rooms for men and women, wet areas with saunas and steam rooms and a relaxation room where spa attendants would come to get you for your treatment. There was also a salon.
The treatment menu was several pages long and services were pricey, running between about 600 and 1,600 CNY ($91 to $243).
I didn’t have time for that, but I did check out a gorgeous treatment room with its own bathtub, complete with floating rose petals.
The gym was equipped with several cardio machines, a few machines, free weights and a yoga room.
There was also an indoor swimming pool with an on-duty lifeguard.
The gym and spa had separate locker rooms. Both were stocked with Appelles bath products from Australia.
Though brief, my stay at the St. Regis Shanghai was pleasant. I thought the décor was fittingly grand and beautiful, especially those Chihuly glass installations. Except for the minuscule closet, I loved my room and the views of the city.
There were a few service hiccups, like no bellmen on duty at check-in and a few issues with translation while ordering room service. In general, though, the staff was polite and solicitous, offering help or direction at every turn, and they seemed genuinely excited to be working at the hotel.
The location is good for business travelers who are familiar with the city and don’t care about being too close to the river or Pudong. However, if you’re looking for a lively scene, especially at night, you might want to stay elsewhere. That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again, especially at this price.
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