5-Star Stay, 3-Star Cost: A Review of The St. Regis in Chengdu, China
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In July 2014, The St. Regis luxury hotel chain opened its 32nd location, this time in Chengdu, China, a bustling business center in the country’s Sichuan province. The massive city of 14 million people is most well-known for its spicy cuisine and world-famous panda sanctuary, even earning the No. 3 spot on TPG‘s list of top destinations to visit back in 2017.
When browsing flights to get from the West Coast of the US to mainland China, I found the cheapest fare was with China Southern connecting in Guangzhou and terminating in Chengdu. Having never been to Chengdu, the city was definitely high on my list and I was thrilled by the opportunity to visit.
The city was my first stop on this trip to China, after which I visited Hainan Island, which is known as the “Hawaii of China” and, in the points-and-miles world, a place that has an almost strangely high number of luxury points hotels. So, after Chengdu, it was off to the island to review just a couple of the points hotels there. First, though, I had a two-night stay in Chengdu, which also has an impressive roster of luxury hotels. The best part of all, they’re cheap — at least for US standards.
We booked this two-night reservation at The St. Regis Chengdu through the Hotels.com portal. The total price, including taxes and hotel fees, came out to a total of $396, or an average of $198 per night. I only have Gold status with Marriott, so the benefits wouldn’t have been all that meaningful anyway, and the rate on hotels.com was different enough to justify booking it there versus through Marriott directly.
When booking through Hotels.com, you can maximize your purchase by using your Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, which earns 10x miles per dollar spent on bookings when paid with the card and booked via the specialized Hotels.com portal through Jan. 31, 2020. The best part is you can still collect valuable Hotels.com Rewards, which can earn you a free night for every 10 nights purchased on the website.
The award rates at this Category 5 property start at 35,000 points per night, more than what you’d pay at neighboring Marriott brands such as the Ritz-Carlton or JW Marriott.
At this rate, it rarely presents a solid redemption value, since cash rates consistently hover around 1,000 yuan (about $150) per night.
The hotel is right in the heart of Chengdu’s central business district, walking distance from commercial attractions including Tianfu Square, Chunxi Road and Taiku Li. It’s perfectly situated for both business and leisure travelers. The airport is 30 minutes away by car, with cab fares typically around $15.
The 29-story tower features 279 guest rooms offering great views out over the city.
The hotel lobby had beautiful polished floors and dark wood paneling, creating an elegant and sophisticated ambience. As a fresh college grad who typically travels on a budget, I was already amazed by the five-star experience — everything from the hotel’s signature lobby scent to the glass of chilled water they brought me within my first few steps inside had me ecstatic.
There was no central front desk but rather a cluster of three smaller desks that offered a sit-down check-in experience, which felt especially personalized rather than standing at a counter.
The front-desk agent went over a variety of food-and-beverage packages to indulge in throughout my stay. I went for the basic option, which sounded like a pretty good deal: For about $25 per day, I could enjoy a full breakfast buffet every morning from 6am to 10am, as well as a beer-and-wine happy hour from 5pm to 7pm.
Because I had booked the hotel stay through Hotels.com, I wasn’t entitled to receive any Marriott points or elite-qualifying nights for my stay. Since I have Gold Bonvoy status, though, I provided my membership number just in case I would be eligible for any elite benefits throughout my stay.
All of the check-in staff were friendly and professional, and it was a perfectly painless experience. After being handed my room keys, I made my way through the lobby and to the marble-clad elevator landing.
I was assigned Room 1603, which was a standard king. Each room had a privacy indicator that could be controlled from inside the room.
The hotel provided a small welcome treat of fresh fruit, waiting on the table upon my arrival.
The room itself was quite spacious and had floor-to-ceiling windows. The curtains automatically opened when I entered the room, which I found fascinating. They were multilayered, so you could choose between a thin, sheer curtain or a full blackout coverage.
The king bed was exceptionally comfortable. The level of detail in the room’s design was remarkable, from the textured walls to the artwork to the stylish accessory furniture. It all tied together beautifully.
The desk was massive, outfitted with champagne-colored leather chairs on either side. It made for a comfortable workspace for two, or even a nice table setup for in-room dining.
It took me a second to figure out where the TV was. After locating the remote but still no TV, I pressed the power button and waited for the reveal. It turns out the TV was stored inside the desk console and automatically rose into position when powered on.
The minibar was in a patterned wardrobe next to the windows. It contained a minifridge, snacks and a self-serve coffee and tea station.
The white-marble bathroom had a granite double sink and a large bathtub.
The luxurious bathtub had its own amenity tray, a mobile shower head, and even a small, built-in TV.
The walk-in shower room was massive, with ceilings easily exceeding 10 feet. The faucet control had all sorts of bells and whistles, including built-in spray jets.
The toilet featured one of the fancy bidets that you find in many countries around Asia, especially Japan. It was motion-activated — when I opened the door, the lights switched on and the toilet lid automatically lifted up. It felt amazingly futuristic.
Food and Beverage
Because I had purchased the food package at check-in, I was entitled to daily breakfast at the Social, the hotel’s glitzy fourth-floor cafe.
The breakfast was all-inclusive, so immediately upon sitting down, I was offered my choice of bottomless tea or coffee, while all other beverages were self-serve.
There was a great selection of juices, including the option to pick out your own fruit and have it freshly made by the staff.
The breakfast spread was extensive. They had just about every pastry you could think of, from sweet to savory, in addition to a selection of yogurt and muesli.
For more western flavors, they offered freshly made eggs in any style, hash browns, potatoes and sausage.
They also had plenty of Asian options, including a variety of sushi boats and a noodle soup station manned by its very own chef.
The package also included access to the daily happy hour from 5pm to 7pm at the Decanter. This upscale lounge had a broad wine selection and light bites to snack on before dinner.
Another spectacular venue was the 26th-floor Vantage restaurant and bar, which was great for sipping handcrafted cocktails while enjoying sweeping views of the Chengdu skyline.
The weather wasn’t cooperating during my stay, though, so it stayed pretty empty.
St. Regis hotels are known for their signature Iridium Spa, offering a relaxing oasis with world-class massage and skincare treatments.
The spa’s lobby had a selection of skin products on display and available for purchase.
Each spa room had several massage beds and a private Jacuzzi.
From the spa, there was a spiral staircase that connected to the athletic club lobby one floor above.
The gym was fairly well-equipped and offered great views of the city. It offered free weights and a selection of cardio and resistance training machines.
Directly connected to the fitness center were the pool and sauna areas. The main indoor pool had panoramic windows that offered an absolutely incredible backdrop for a casual swim.
For a more unwinding experience, the adjacent hot tub had powerful massage jets and personalized temperature control.
There was also an outdoor deck with a small pool, but the rain was kept everyone inside.
I really enjoyed my stay at The St. Regis Chengdu. It was my first experience at a St. Regis hotel, and I definitely left impressed. The superb location and excellent dining rightfully rank it among the top hotels in the city. Plus, the ability to snag a luxurious king room at a five-star hotel for under $200 per night really offers a great value. I would love the opportunity to stay here again should I ever again pass through Chengdu.
All photos by the author.
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