Review : The St. Regis Beijing

After a short flight from Seoul, we are on our way to the St. Regis Beijing that will welcome us for 3 nights.

A look back at this very disappointing stay.

Booking

I proceeded to book this hotel right after confirming our airline reservation a few months prior to our stay.

It took me a long time to decide on this hotel, due to the rather mixed reviews and unattractive photos. I should have been suspicious: in general, they always put the best pictures on the Internet.

On the rate, hesitation between the Corporate and the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts: I choose the second one because of its advantages that I thought would be cumulated, but it won’t be the case.

The final rate will be CNY 1,450 per night, excluding taxes.

Arrival

We arrive from the airport via a transfer (booked separately) in about an hour.

St. Regis, not very beautiful
Majestic floral arrangement at the entrance

The property is located in the heart of the diplomatic district, in an area that is very well served by transportation since the metro is less than 5 minutes from the hotel.

When I arrived, I went directly to a receptionist available to check me in.

This one seems a bit lost, which is surprising in a 5 star property. He indicates my upgrade to a Statesman suite, and offers to upgrade me to a St. Regis Suite, larger, which I accept… Before he tells me the price per night… I hallucinate and refuse!

An upgrade made the day before our arrival

He then gives me the welcome package, including the welcome letter from American Express FHR that tells me the associated benefits.

Benefit stacking is a topic we will address in an ad hoc post.

I then head to my suite, located on the 16th floor of the property.

The carpet is dated, very dated

Room

The Statesman suite is in every way consistent with the photos available on the property’s website: elegant but still stuck in the 80s.

Once the door is opened, the entrance is equipped with a mini-bar and a courtesy tray, as well as a traditional Chinese piece of furniture, very beautiful but very imposing and of questionable usefulness.

The mini-bar and coffee area
The Chinese wooden furniture so imposing

Then there is the lounge and office area, equipped with a coffee table and a sofa, as well as a large desk that has all the necessary connectivity and even… A fax! Why not a telex…

What a horrible carpet!
Coffee service brought by the butler
A jar of ice cream is brought every evening during the turndown service
The lounge area is a nice size
The latest equipment: a fax machine!

The room itself is actually quite small, but has a very comfortable king size bed, a dressing room that is not very young, and a bathroom that is a little too small, equipped nevertheless with a bath and a shower.

The bed is very comfortable
Courtesy tray prepared for the night
The sleeping area is a bit cramped
A vanity allows the ladies to get dolled up before a day of exploring the city
The dressing room is large but very dated
The sink area is a bit cramped
The shower leaks well
As in all St. Regis, you can watch TV from your bath
Like in Japan, the toilets are heated and self-cleaning

The view is perfectible: you can see the residential building in front of you despite a nice luminosity.

In short, we prefer smaller but more modern. See for yourself on video:

The butler service is responsive… But really not smiling.

A coffee brought in the morning, but really without a smile

Hotel facilities

The hotel is part of the St. Regis complex with the hotel and an imposing building of residences. Therefore, it has a large number of facilities of good size each.

En route vers les installations de l’hôtelElle dispose donc d’un grand nombre d’installations de bonne taille chacune.
This way to the facilities!
The majestic staircase that leads to the residence area

Fitness Center

The fitness center is located in the Residence area of the St. The hotel is located in the St. Regis district, which requires a significant amount of walking in the hotel’s corridors.

You can’t miss the entrance
Access to the fitness room

It also requires walking around in sportswear near the reception, which is not very luxurious. The room is nevertheless spacious, well equipped, and the presence of coaches allows for personalized support.

Muscle building is emphasized in the fitness room
Really dated appliances…
… But in large numbers, which avoids waiting
The room offers a breathtaking view of the pool
Schedule of fitness classes

Spa

The spa is located next to the fitness room, one floor below. As in all the hotels of the brand, it is co-branded Iridium, the brand of toiletries also offered in the rooms.

I booked a 60 minute treatment. Before the treatment, I was going to enjoy the facilities. Unfortunately, the poor state of maintenance and the large number of guests dissuaded me. I didn’t really want to walk around naked in the middle of 30 Chinese, also naked.

Difficult to photograph the sauna without a (Chinese) noodle in the field
No picture of the inside of the hammam, sorry
Japanese onsai style baths (but with 30 naked Chinese on the left)
The locker rooms unfortunately offer little privacy
Art of the 80’s
The styling area, very vintage
The water bottle, a symbol of excessive luxury
The locker room, still usable
Smaller lockers, probably for residents
A clean bathrobe is available for each customer

I prefer mixed spas that avoid the “rear of the bus” atmosphere

The pool is quiet and of good size… But cold as a cane blow!

The massage itself was perfect!

The waiting area for treatments is elegant even if it is starting to look old
A series of sofas allow you to wait comfortably for your treatment or to rest after
A small bag of green tea at the end of the treatment to prolong the relaxation

Catering

Club Lounge

The hotel does not have a club lounge per se, but offers a Happy Hour in the Business Center (what an idea!) every day from 6pm to 8pm, with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and a hot and cold buffet.

How strange to open a bar in a place theoretically dedicated to work
Cold buffet of rather good quality
The hot offer is of variable quality, but fills its man

The doses are quite generous in alcohol, and the buffet very qualitative, with a daily rotation that allows not to get tired of the same dishes day after day.

A first sweet offer rather qualitative
Chocolate pieces, too sweet to be good
Stale macaroons, who wants them?
Another area of the Club Lounge reserved for sweets

Breakfast service

Breakfast is served in the property’s buffet restaurant, located on the first floor.

The service is very bad. There are 15 tables set up, but I am seated on a dirty table and it will take 5 minutes for them to deign to clean it.

5 minutes of waiting for that…

No one comes to take my drink order for 10 minutes.

Some eye openers to wait

The buffet is of rather average quality. There is diversity, but the choices are not of immense quality.

Selection of special breads
… Then more classic breads (bad)
Fresh (and good) pastries
Yoghurt and juice for breakfast
Fruit buffet (not ripe enough)
Breakfast cereals
All this is bathed in grease, it is not very appetizing
Here, tortilla in China!
Raw tomatoes and mushrooms for breakfast, you have to hold on!
Some sausages

The desserts look recycled from the day before (and they were already not appetizing).

Dessert buffet… At breakfast

In short, save your calories for something else.

Dinner ServiceCelestial Court

On the first evening, we decided to have dinner at the hotel’s Chinese restaurant, which was supposedly famous. We made a reservation previously via the Marriott Bonvoy app chat.

When we arrive, we are seated at our table.

A hot oshibori is brought to us first

The menus take a long time to arrive, as does the wine list.

A few local appetizers arrive with the menu. Not suitable for all palates

Once our dishes are ordered, mine will take more than 30 minutes to arrive (we will have time to finish two large bottles of sparkling water and to properly attack the bottle of wine)… And Bertrand will wait another 30 minutes for his meat dish! A shame.

And I am not talking about the quality of Bertrand’s meat, which will be inedible because it is so fatty!

Digestive at the Press Club Bar

After our failed dinner at the Chinese restaurant, we went to have a digestif at the Press Club Bar, in a rather successful British style. Again, the staff seems very junior but at least there is a supervisor to run the operation and the cocktails seem to come out correctly.

The Bloody Mary menu is still wide, and we will try a few, not all successful.

One of the Bloody Mary prepared with local beer

Aperitif at the Garden Lounge

Or should I say… Absence of aperitif! To test the service, we sat in the Garden Lounge for an aperitif before our dinner at the buffet restaurant, rather near the bar.

A nice space if there was service

The staff passed us by, without inquiring about our order. It felt like we were transparent, which is a horrible feeling in a luxury property. At the bar, the bartender was very busy taking inventory rather than dealing with customers.

Anyway, we waited 45 minutes and left, without anyone even trying to catch us

Dinner service at the Garden Court

On the second evening, we decide to have dinner at the buffet restaurant, the same one where breakfast is served.

We made a reservation, but the attendant didn’t care.

We are seated at a round table, and menus are brought to us. We don’t really know what the options are, and, a priori, neither does our server.

In fact the buffet is compulsory and it is possible to take a option with one or two dishes prepared on order.

The cook shakes the noodles

The cold buffet is pretty good, but that’s the only positive thing. The choice of hot dishes is limited, and the desserts too sweet.

Quality cold starters
Sautéed rice to accompany the other dishes
Doughnuts prepared on demand
Yuck
Choices that are far too sweet
The dessert buffet looked appetizing though

Finally, beware of the bill: the buffet is not eligible for the 20% discount for Bonvoy members.

Dinner service at the Japanese restaurant

Finally, we had dinner at the Japanese restaurant. Attention: it uses the premises of the hotel but its management is totally separate – No discounts are possible and it is not possible to charge on your room either.

The service is very good, and the tables are in individual rooms. Our dishes arrive quickly and are of excellent quality.

Very private dinner at the Japanese restaurant

And we were even able to pay with an American Express card.

Departure

The departure formalities were rather simple. On the other hand, the application of the $100 credit has been rather laborious.

Bottom line

Very very disappointed by the experience itself. But considering the price paid, it becomes shameful. We won’t return. Never.

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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