Extraordinary Escape: The St. Regis Hong Kong
It makes a case for staycation skeptics.
With virtually every hotel offering promotion packages that includes stay, meals and sometimes even spa treatments and personal training, Hongkongers are spoilt for choice when it comes to staycation options. When done right, a staycation will leave you just as recharged and relaxed as an overseas holiday. For me, what determines the pick of the bunch is not just about the staycation privileges but the quality of service, facilities, accommodation combined. Having checked into my fair share of five-star hotels, my recent staycation at The St. Regis Hong Kong checks all the boxes with award-winning spa treatments, Michelin-starred dining experiences and the bespoke St. Regis butler service.
In true St. Regis style, our staycation begins with an in-room check-in with a personal butler. From the point of arrival at the porte-cochere, we are whisked off to our Premier Room on the 26th floor, where expansive views of the Victoria Harbour and the Peak await. An iconic hallmark of the St Regis experience, the butler service was first introduced by founder John Jacob Astor IV, who brought his own butlers to serve guests at the original St. Regis property in New York.
Oleg, the butler who helps us with the check-in, shares helpful tips about the room including where the hair dryer is and warnings about the strong shower head. He also walks us through the Nespresso machine and informs us of the signature Beverage Service which includes complimentary tea and coffee (your choice of espresso, latte, cappuccino or Americano) to be delivered to the room at any time of the day. We are told later during our stay that the butler can also take care of the unpacking and packing and as well as garment pressing. At the end of the swift check-in, Oleg presents a butler contact card with a QR code on it, which upon scanning connects guests to the 24-hour e-butler service via a dedicated line, email, and mobile applications like WhatsApp and WeChat. While it’s nice to have options, we also like the comfort of knowing the Butler Service Desk is just a dial away on our room phone.
Housed in a 27-storey tower featuring 129 bedrooms, including 14 deluxe suites, two premium suites and a Presidential Suite, The St. Regis Hong Kong is narrated by award-winning architect and designer André Fu. Taking cues from the old Hong Kong nostalgia and the aristocratic grandeur of St. Regis New York, Fu’s design is the epitome of East meets West, referencing elements from local architecture like panelling from Wan Chai’s pawn shop, old gas street lamps from Duddell’s Street and colonial columns from the old Wan Chai police station located opposite to the hotel.
This intricate juxtaposition of cultural influences is evident in the guest rooms, which are completed with soft furnishing, glossy lacquers and metals. Decked out with warm-toned wood flooring with chalky white, warm mineral grey and taupe colour palettes, the bedroom comes with a comfortable king-sized bed dressed in white linen from Italian brand Frette. The devil is in the detail, which manifests in a diamond motif on the bedsheet emblematic of Caroline Astor’s beloved diamonds, which can also be found on the plush velour bathrobe. The two bed-facing marble tables are equipped with a control panel that has a socket, two USB plugs as well as buttons that control lighting, curtains and gauze within arm’s reach.
Another highlight of the bedroom is the instagrammable dining area next to the floor-to-ceiling windows. Accentuated by bronze screens referencing the old window frames of colonial Hong Kong, it’s adorned with a lounge sofa and an armchair where we enjoy our afternoon tea and in-room dining.
Our favourite is, of course, the marble bathroom, which features a standalone Claybrook bathtub, an in-mirror television, a spacious walk-in shower, Remede toiletries, along with a double-sink vanity.
Having had one of the best facial treatments in my life with celebrity facialist and founder of 001 Skincare London Ada Ooi last year, I have high expectations for the World Dynastic Massage and Signature Flow Performance Facial.
The good news is, my therapist Yuri has been trained by Ooi herself, which already sounds reassuring prior to the treatment. Yuri begins with presenting a couple of body oil options from 001 Skincare London, from which I choose Rou (meaning “soft” in Chinese), a blissful blend of apricot, palmarosa and geranium oils described as “sinking into a soft and silky bed made of precious rose and jasmine petals”. From there, she mixes it with two essential oils: Juniper for water retention and detox, and Marjoram Sweet for muscle tension release to create a bespoke oil fusion.
Based on the consultation form, where I mention upper body muscle soreness, Yuri designs a massage routine incorporating techniques to suit my needs. The World Dynastic Massage, as the name suggests, delivers a powerful bespoke full body massage that can help achieve a deep, healing treatment targeting relaxation, circulation, lymphatic drainage, mood and senses. In my case, Yuri disentangles the knots accumulated under my sore muscles using long, firm strokes focusing on my shoulders and upper back. One thing I find most effective is a shoulder stretch where she brings my arm towards the ceiling while I’m lying face down.
Next up is the 75-minute Signature Flow Performance Facial, which uses a set of thermal-regulated Gua Sha tools made from handpicked materials carved cut into different shapes. After cleansing my face, Yuri applies the 001 Skincare London Pure Active AHA Enzyme Peel and exfoliates my face using the oriental gua sha principle to initiate skin fascia and internal fluid movements. At this point, she asks me whether I want extraction (of blackheads and whiteheads). To me, it’s always a good idea as my congested skin could always use a clean-up. Then, she uses the Intensive Elixir Treatment Serum to perform an oil massage on my face, where she applies a relatively high pressure around my eyes area using the tip of the microSculptor to depuff, and remove toxins and excess fluid—not a very pleasant experience but I decide to trust her when she says “No pain, no gain.” The extraction that comes next is as painful as expected , but the redness and irritation is immediately soothed by a thick layer of the Brightening and Plump Emulsion Clay Mask. Eight minutes later, she removes the mask and spritzes my face with the anti-bacterial Pure Lavender Hydrolat Toner and finishes with my favourite serum and cream from the brand—the Active Marine Collagen Serum and Amino Acids & Lipids Recovery Cream. At the end of the session, she offers some advice for the road—lymph node drainage along my jawline can help reduce breakout in the area, all I need to do is use my thumb to stimulate pressure points.
Some may say that spa offerings are not The St. Regis Hong Kong’s forte, but I’d argue that the Spa is top-notch given its skilled therapists and high-performance skincare products. Though one problem worth mentioning is the treatment room placed next to the reception, which is not soundproof so even the slightest noise outside can take the zen away from the treatment.
Besides the Spa, the wellness facilities on the 7th floor also includes a 24-hour fitness centre featuring state-of-the-art Technogym equipment as well as an InBody machine that provides a comprehensive assessment of body composition balance. The modern interior resembles an Equinox gym with metallic touches, while personal training can be arranged with one of the experienced instructors. On a Sunday morning after a scrumptious breakfast at Rùn, we head to the gym with a full belly to meet our trainer, Dan. Aware of how stuffed we are, he prepares a circuit training that focuses on the upper body, which proves to be challenging even for regular gym goers like us. By the end of the session, we are ready to go for another round of breakfast.
The St. Regis Athletic Club and Spa may not have an infinity pool located on the top floor, but the 20-metre outdoor pool feels like a treat especially after the closure of Hong Kong pools due to the outbreak of third wave of Covid-19. Morning is the best time to visit, as the pool is flooded with natural sunlight reflected in beautiful patterns on the water. We could easily spend a couple of hours hanging out here as it’s decked out with comfy lounge chairs and a poolside bar. At the time of our stay, booking of the swimming pool is required due to social distancing regulations, and each guest can stay for two hours per time slot.
The St. Regis Hong Kong is home to four F&B outlets, including two one Michelin-starred restaurants Rùn and L’Envol as well as The Drawing Room and the St. Regis Bar.
Daily breakfast is served at Rùn, which offers fantastic made-to-order options alongside a buffet spread that includes smoked salmon, cold cuts, cheese, salad, yogurts, fruits, cereals and fresh pastries. We opt for the Chinese Breakfast, which is recommended to us by the butler. It includes an abalone and chicken congee and a dim sum platter that comes with siu mai, shrimp dumpling, steamed glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf rice, and lobster and black truffle spring roll.
Our dinner at Rùn is just as excellent. The restaurant never fails to impress with traditional Cantonese fare and surprise guests with modern twists in presentation. Formerly of Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira and Man Wah, chef Hung Chi-Kwong is at the helm of the kitchen. The barbecued Iberico pork with honey is a signature dish, which is melt-in-the-mouth tender and not overly sweet. We were particularly impressed with the braised minced fish soup, which is as nourishing as it is satisfying, bursting with rich fish flavours elevated with assorted vegetable and a light yet creamy soup base. Another highlight is the roasted salted crispy chicken, which is marinated for 72 hours before being fried to perfection with golden and crispy skin. While humble in appearance, this dish is slightly different from the usual crispy fried chicken as no pepper salt is needed—the skin itself is already seasoned with just the right amount of salt.
During our stay, The St. Regis Bar is our go-to spot for a chill-out evening and masterfully executed cocktails. While the interior has a members-only feel to it, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Taking centre stage is a hand-painted mural behind the bar by Beijing artist Zhang Gong, which depicts many of Hong Kong’s most iconic historic features such as old Wan Chai, the Star Ferry, the tram, The Pawn as well as Hong Kong’s natural landscapes. We enjoy the bar bites, which go beyond the usual fries and fish fingers—the truffle fries, black truffle croque monsieur and chicken quesadillas all exceed our expectations and make for the perfect snacks to go with the drinks. Paying tribute to the New York subway and Hong Kong tram which were launched in the same year in 1904, the bar menu features creative cocktails inspired by the two cities. Our favourite is “Don’t Crack the Egg”, a refreshing gin-based cocktail made with Seedlip Garden, fresh yuzu juice, green grapes and finished with a few spritzes of the aromatic St. Regis Bergamot Essence.
The St. Regis Hong Kong is everything we could’ve asked for in a staycation—so much so that we did not leave the hotel for 40 hours (honestly, we could stay longer). Whether you’re looking to get pampered or wine and dine the weekend away, The St. Regis Hong Kong’s world-class wellness facilities, top-notch gastronomic offerings and bespoke butler service promise to elevate your stay with extraordinary experiences.
The St. Regis Hong Kong's latest staycation packages:
Stay and Dine includes daily breakfast at Rùn, and a three-course set dinner and a glass of wine for two at The Drawing Room.
Date: 7 October, 2020 to 29 November, 2020
Price: From HKD2,988 at the Deluxe Room
Magical Festive includes daily breakfast at Rùn, and a choice of either an in-room festive afternoon tea or a three-course festive set dinner and a glass of wine for two at The Drawing Room or in-room.
Date: From 30 November, 2020
The St. Regis Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong