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Your guide to St Regis Hotels & Resorts – history, rituals and future plans

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Two days ago, Marriott announced that the iconic St Regis brand will be coming to London in 2023.

St Regis is one of Marriott’s smaller brands, but with a rapid expansion plan that hopes to double the number of hotels in the next five years.

In this article we’ll look at the history of the St Regis brand, what you can expect when you stay at one as well as future openings and a list of all our St Regis reviews.

St Regis Mardavall sign

This is the second article in a new occasional series which goes ‘behind the brands’. In our first article we looked at what a W Hotel is.

The St Regis website is here.

The history of St Regis

St Regis is one of the most storied hotel brands in history. It was founded by John Jacob Astor IV, one of the richest men of his time and who died in the sinking of the Titanic.

The original St Regis opened in New York City in 1904 at a total cost of $5.5 million. It was built as a sister hotel to the Waldorf-Astoria, part owned by Astor. It was technologically advanced for its time with telephones in each room, a fire alarm system and central heating and cooling.

When Astor died it was quickly sold out of the family, although his son re-acquired it in 1935 for $300,000. Over the decades it was frequented by many famous individuals including Marlene Dietrich, Alfred Hitchcock and Salvador Dali.

St Regis New York
The original St Regis New York

In 1965 the original St Regis was named a New York cultural and historical landmark and a year later it was purchased by Sheraton and renamed the St Regis Sheraton.

In 1988 the hotel closed for a complete refurbishment – the first in its history – at a cost of $100 million. It re-opened in 1991 under the St Regis name and became the flagship of Sheraton’s ‘Luxury Collection’ brand of hotels.

In 1998 Sheraton was itself acquired by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which re-launched St Regis as one of its sub-brands. This led to the addition of a number of new St Regis hotels worldwide, including The St Regis Aspen and The St Regis Washington, DC.

St Regis Hotels & Resorts became part of Marriott Bonvoy in 2016, when Marriott International acquired Starwood, and you can now earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points at St Regis hotels worldwide. Our guide to the Marriott Bonvoy program is here.

Marriott Bonvoy categorises St Regis as part of its ‘classic luxury’ brands, and describes it as:

“Combining classic sophistication with a modern sensibility, St Regis is committed to delivering exceptional experiences at over 40 luxury hotels and resorts at the best addresses around the world. Since the opening of the first St Regis hotel in New York City over a century ago by John Jacob Astor IV, the brand has remained committed to an uncompromising level of bespoke and anticipatory service for all of its guests, delivered flawlessly by signature St Regis Butler Service. Born of a distinctive legacy and crafted for modern connoisseurs who desire the finest experiences imaginable, St Regis defines modern glamour and sophistication as the leading luxury lifestyle hospitality brand with an uncompromising commitment to excellence.”

There are currently nearly 50 St Regis hotels.

The St Regis Kanai Resort
The St Regis Kanai Resort, opening in 2022

What can you expect at a St Regis?

Of all of Marriott’s brands, St Regis has perhaps the most unique customs and what it calls “Rituals”.

There are four Signature Rituals:

  • Bloody Mary
  • the Evening Ritual
  • Afternoon Tea
  • Midnight Supper

Bloody Mary

St Regis claims it is the birthplace of the Bloody Mary. There are a number of origin stories to the cocktail, all of which originate in 1920s and 1930s New York.

According to St Regis lore, Fernand Petiot invented the modern Bloody Mary (called the Red Snapper) with salt, pepper, Worcestershire and lemon juice in 1934 in the famous King Cole Bar at The St Regis New York. In the 1960s, Petiot claimed that the hotel was selling 100-150 Bloody Marys every day.

These days, every St Regis has its own locally inspired version of the Bloody Mary which forms part of the St Regis Ritual.

St Regis sabering

The Afternoon Ritual

Afternoon Tea is associated with Britain, but it’s also a tradition that St. Regis cultivates as part of its Afternoon Ritual. It was introduced to New York by Caroline Astor, doyenne of New York society and mother of St Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV, who made it a staple at the hotel in honour of her.

The Evening Ritual

The Evening Ritual is another tradition that traces its history back to the Astor family, who would mark the transition from afternoon to evening with the sabering of a bottle of Champagne at The St Regis New York in the early 1900s.

All St Regis hotels continue this practise to this day and you’ll find a butler opening a bottle of champagne with a sword at 5pm or 6pm around the world. Afterwards you can enjoy a free glass of bubbly. It’s a novel way to open a bottle and you probably won’t get the opportunity to see it elsewhere and well worth trying!

Midnight Suppers

The fourth and final St Regis Ritual is Midnight Supper. Unlike the other rituals, which happen daily, Midnight Suppers only happen to mark special events.

Once again, Midnight Suppers are a legacy of Caroline Astor, who herself used to host these intimate dinners, which would often begin at midnight. The tradition of the Midnight Supper at The St Regis New York dates back to the hotel’s founding in the early 20th century. It was a time when Manhattan’s social elite would join the Astors in their home for a decadent midnight meal, following the season’s most exclusive social affairs. 

History of St Regis hotels

Butlers

Another signature offering is the St Regis Butler Service. St Regis hotels around the world all offer a free butler service, often to all guests but in some properties only to those who have booked specific rooms.

There are a number of things you can request your butler to do, including:

  • Unpack and pack your luggage
  • Ironing/pressing service – generally up two items per day
  • Beverage service, where a butler comes up to your room after your wake-up call to open your curtains, deliver coffee and tea as well as the day’s forecast and newspaper

As someone who rarely unpacks in a hotel room I find the unpacking service a real delight!

Other amenities

St. Regis hotels currently use toiletries by Laboratoire Remède:

St Regis Labatoire remede

If you’re a particular fan, you can buy them on the St Regis shop. There were reports in late 2020 that the brand was to be replaced, so it may be that we will see a change once current stocks are run down.

Future openings

St Regis is planning to double the number of hotels and resorts it operates in the next five years.

In 2022 it will open the The St Regis Kanai Resort, The St Regis Chicago, The St Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl (Qatar), plus a hotel in Belgrade. The St Regis San Francisco will reopen following a complete renovation.

And, of course, we have The St Regis London to look forward to in 2023.

A few properties have left the chain in recent years. The St Regis Mauritius is now a JW Marriott, having suffered from under-investment by its owner, and The St Regis Monarch Beach is now a Waldorf Astoria. Two Dubai hotels quickly came and went, but are being replaced – one has just opened, on The Palm.

St Regis Bangkok entrance

St Regis hotel reviews

We have reviewed a number of St Regis hotels in recent years. Our review of The St Regis Mardavall Mallorca is here, whilst our review of The St Regis Istanbul is here. We have also reviewed the original The St Regis New York and The St Regis Bangkok.

As with Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria brand, new openings are generally more luxurious than the New York original. That said, Rob has stayed at the New York twice in recent years and has developed a soft spot for it – he is booked in again for July. The hotel has a disproportionately high number of suites and is generally fairly quiet, despite having an impressively central location.

I was hugely impressed by my stay at The St Regis Mardavall and Rob was also won over by the new-build Istanbul hotel a few years ago.

The St Regis website is here if you want to learn more about the hotels.


How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (May 2022)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 bonus points and 15 elite night credits Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (17)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • zark says:

    We stayed at the St.Regis Bermuda over the New Year/January.
    Local Bloody Mary – Yes.
    Afternoon Ritual -never noticed.
    Evening Ritual – cancelled.
    Midnight Supper – cancelled.
    Butler Service – never offered any of the described above, although a nice guy who told us he was our butler did turn up with room service a few times….
    Remede toiletries – none.

    Caveat Emptor. Although occupancy was 10% at best.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      And the impact of omicron was still being felt through restrictions / fear of the unknown etc

  • Mouse says:

    Is this a paid piece or is the gush legit?

    • Rob says:

      Rhys likes doing historical pieces! Happy to run anything the team want to write for the weekend slots.

      The only ‘gush’ lines relate to references back to existing hotel reviews, and our position on those hotels is well known. I don’t see anything in there suggesting that the chain is better than Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt, Aman etc …. which it’s not.

    • Richie says:

      It’s an informative piece about a hotel brand.

    • Jeff77 says:

      Puff pieces usually have a comment at the top stating that it’s a paid for advert, I believe

    • dougzz99 says:

      Gush….. I’ve never stayed at a St. Regis and have little interest in doing so. But this is interesting and well written. If you don’t like it move on, so much pointless negativity. I dip in and out of other sites you might classify as similar to HfP, but in my experience they’re not even close in terms of consistent quality and interest, on some of them I can’t find anything in the sea of advertising. I like pieces like this, and the weekend is a perfect time for them. So that’s my (legit) gush over.

    • lumma says:

      Journalist writing nice things about nice thing shocker

  • AW says:

    I stayed at both St Regis properties in Abu Dhabi earlier this month. They were both excellent.

    The St Regis Abu Dhabi corniche especially so. Perhaps my best ever hotel experience. Butler service was great, staff were insanely helpful. They sent us to the next St Regis with a private driver in their massive tinted windows Chevrolet car, complimentary. I honestly felt like a VIP. We ended up being given a whole bottle of Louis Roderer at the champagne ceremony as we were the only ones there. Occupancy was low so we were particularly well looked after. Everywhere we went the staff rushed around us to help us into the taxi / restaurant / pool with the baby. That’s quite Abu Dhabi though.

    St Regis Saadiyaat also very good. It was busier so it felt less personal and it is a big hotel. Guest relations made a massive effort and offered us a Bloody Mary in the bar as well as champagne sabering. Butler was less visible but to be fair we didn’t look for him. The entry level room was amazing.

    I personally felt that the story and standards are spot on and there is a real character and level of service to the name.

    Especially as I booked a cheap rate in the Bonvoy app and then got them to price match the slightly cheaper Booking.com rate and deduct 25%.

    Will probably try to book a SR redemption somewhere before 29 March.

  • James says:

    It is such a treat to witness the champagne sabering at the beautiful King Cole bar in NYC. The staff there are wonderful people and we even managed to convince the bar manager to come along to pop along to our New Year’s Eve party in Manhattan to teach sabering to our party guests – it was a big hit and I’d highly recommend and a novel party activity.

  • S says:

    Any thoughts on the Bangkok property? Thinking of heading there in November, spoilt for choice in Bangkok but leaning towards the STR

    • Tom says:

      It’s a very good hotel, I haven’t been since pre-COVID though and I understand some of their negative COVID adjustments are still ongoing and impacting service. I normally find Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit much better value (and in some ways just arguably better as a hotel overall too), so rarely stay at the St. Regis. Marriott Surawongse is my other favourite, don’t be fooled by the Marriott branding, I have absolutely stayed at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis properties that weren’t as good that hotel.

      My issue with St. Regis generally having stayed at a decent chunk of the portfolio is the interior design at a lot of them is just not my taste, veering between rich grandma’s sitting room and Russian/Chinese new money bling. For all its faults Ritz-Carlton’s newer openings are just much more stylish than the equivalent St. Regis (Kyoto, Chengdu, Maldives, Langkawi, etc).

      • S says:

        Surawongse looks great, but I’m told the location isn’t?

        Have heard many good things about the Sheraton, but I don’t know, it just doesn’t ‘look’ 5 star in a sea of 5 star options

        • Tom says:

          If you are intending to rely on public transport and visit all the big Bangkok tourist sights then yes, Surawongse location is far from ideal. Probably not great for a first timer. It’s not walking distance from much of note, but no worse than most other hotels if you’ll be travelling around Bangkok in a Grab or taxi.

          SGS is all about the service, food and elite treatment, interiors are a bit dated but in perfect condition and finished to an extremely high standard (materials and finish are better than St. Regis which feels a bit cheaply done in places to me). I agree SGS doesn’t look that special in photos. The Athenee probably has the nicest interiors within Marriott but I’ve had too many stays with service issues there to recommend it any more.

          • Andrew says:

            I’m a big fan of St Regis Bangkok but also haven’t been since pre-COVID. It’s connected to the BTS SkyTrain (metro) too, but so are many other hotels.

            I’d highly recommend Zuma restaurant too which is attached to the hotel but operates independently (make a reservation in advance).

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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