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Beijing - The St. Regis Beijing, China


Located along China’s northwestern frontier, where the urban segues quite promptly into uncharted desert terrain, Beijing’s place on the margins of civilization is part and parcel to its tumultuous history. In the early days, this was merely an oversized trading outpost for nomadic tribes from modern-day Korea, Mongolia, and central China. Clans converged on this oasis of rudimentary economic trade, and in due time the prosperity, activity, and dynamic economic geography of the city made it a highly desirous acquisition. Such is the fate of many great cities, sites of fierce contests of succession over centuries, always emerging with a colourful history and an obvious resolve.

The better part of Beijing’s steadfastness goes back about 800 years. The city that Genghis Khan burnt to the ground in 1215 was resurrected for his grandson Kublai, and then lost to the Ming Dynasty in 1368. As dynasty after dynasty took control of the city, larger and larger walls were erected by the new, to avert the fate of those to whom the city was abdicated. Feudal warlords defined the region for several hundred years until Japan swept through eastern China just before the Second World War, but their withdrawal eight years later left civil chaos and a political cavity, ideal conditions for Communist Mao.

Today, Tiananmen Square and the Maoist Revolution are a fading footnote in red China’s history. With the 2008 Olympics coming up fast on the horizon and a new Western cultural model of cell phones and designer fashions stepping out of newly erected edifices, speaking fractured English, the Forbidden City of Beijing, capital to more than one billion Chinese residents, is on the cusp of a global explosion that will see the city merge into the company of the world’s great developed cities. To welcome the world, Beijing needed a flagship hotel that spoke of class and dignity in every language, and in the St. Regis, that vision has at last come to fruition. 

Situated in the very heart of this exhilarating city, all of Beijing’s shopping, entertainment, and diplomatic history roll up to the front stoop of the St. Regis. From the gracious and ornate doors of the lobby, Tiananmen Square and the Silk Market are just a few minutes walk away, and the hotel’s adjacency to the Beijing International Club, established back in 1911 as an exclusive club for government officials and international dignitaries, lends an air of critical international importance to the block. Diplomats and correspondents discuss and pen the future of foreign affairs down the road, and at the end of the day rest their minds on the pillows in each St. Regis room.

Half of the 273, in fact, are suites, and all are suited with king-sized beds, the chocolate-covered truffle of sleeping arrangements for the road-weary traveller. Fresh-combed linens spill over its edges, accented by soft earth tones that form the décor for the room, creating a palatial environment for the discerning guest. Five-star accoutrements are standard at the St. Regis, from the Continental-style duvet to the big-screen television, dual phone lines, in-room fax service on request, and the legendary 24-hour St. Regis butler service that the hotel chain is famous for. Complimentary garment press and fresh fruit each morning are merely touchstones to the experience. Drinks in the Executive Lounge can be counted among the service’s more endearing perks.  

Before a fine culinary experience at one of the hotel’s top dining rooms, it’s the perfect place for an aperitif. One’s cocktail of choice can set the palate for “the best steak in town” at the Astor Grill, a boast from the kitchen that is confirmed in the first bite. The latest addition to the St. Regis collection of restaurants, the Astor Grill also boasts a comprehensive list of wine and cigar selections, providing the perfect compliment to the dish, and to the post-dining decompression. Danieli’s, a staple in the St. Regis hotel chain, offers a rustic and elegant Italian dining option, high on class and style but low on pretensions. For a quick and accessible meal, The Garden Court provides a great all-day buffet in a relaxed, open-air atmosphere, and the Celestial Court specializes in fine Chinese and Cantonese creations, inspired by the age-old culinary traditions of the region. Drinks are best enjoyed in either the wine or cigar lounge, contingent on one’s libation of choice, or in the Press Club Bar, once a bastion for the fatigued foreign correspondent and today a perfect place for discussing the daily news over a cocktail.

Food and drink, though, are not the only measures of contemporary dignity and style found at the St. Regis. Traces of old China can be deciphered in the tastes and décor in and around the hotel, but once inside the revolutionary spa, Mao’s China is a distant afterthought. As the first luxury spa in Beijing, the St. Regis facility spans four floors of the Club Wing that adjoins the hotel. Modern lines and state-of-the-art fitness and cardio equipment compliment Jacuzzis, saunas, plunge pools, a glass-enclosed, Roman-style aquatic facility, and a 2,000-square-meter natural hot spring water spa. The fog of tranquility steams the walls, but for true indulgence book a treatment in one of 10 rooms where therapies from Western and Oriental cultures are fused together in perfect harmony. Relaxing without intrusion, or playfully enjoying a game of squash, badminton, bowling, or mini-putt, right on the premises. At the St. Regis, the energy and demands of the international business or leisure traveller are met with the standard of service synonymous with the St. Regis name. For the best look at the new Beijing, step into the open arms of its incomparable host.

Where to Stay

The St. Regis Beijing -  - 21 Jian Guomenwai Dajie, Beijing, 100020, China - 
Phone (86)(10) 6460 6688 - Fax (86)(10) 6460 3299

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