In the year 1904, September 4, the very first The St. Regis in the heart of New York City has officially opened. The new hotel instantly receives praise from influential media and becomes “the finest hotel in America” (New York Times). This year marks the 115th anniversary of the powerful brand. Undoubtedly, The St. Regis is still one of the top hotel chains in the world with a rich history behind it. What’s its foundation and how did The St. Regis Macao become another milestone in the century-old history of the cult hospitality brand?
The founder of The St. Regis Hotel in New York City was John Jacob Astor IV, a prominent member of the Astor family and a lieutenant colonel in the Spanish–American War. His mother, Caroline Astor, was a known socialite in 19th-century New York. An influential figure among the rich families, she ruled the New York City elite with her Fashionable Society. Mrs. Astor only allowed a strict 400 of New York’s creme de la creme to attend her elaborate parties on Fifth Avenue.
Like mother, like son. Having been a co-owner of the Waldorf Astoria with his cousin, John Jacob Astor IV had the ambitious idea to build a hotel that was next-level luxury. He wanted a hotel that would resemble Manhattan’s stunning mansions where the rich and famous of NYC reside. The colonel had a very precise concept in his mind and nothing could stand in his way. To be consistent with making the hotel the epitome of luxury, he intended it to be built in Midtown Manhattan, which was the most exclusive residential neighborhood in those days. Colonel Astor wanted it to be exactly where Vanderbilts and other aristocrats of NYC lived–in the center of social life.
The neighbors didn’t give up without a fight, protesting and suing Astor on different grounds. At some point, William Rockefeller bought a mansion next to the hotel. He planned to make The St.Regis lose the 2/3 approval from the hotel’s direct neighbors. However, the plan was compromised by Astor who responded with buying another adjusting mansion. Touché.
Despite all the spokes in its wheels, the Beaux-Arts The St. Regis Hotel was constructed and, after more than a hundred years, it is still standing in its historic location becoming the city’s landmark.
Brand and traditions
Diving deeper into the history of The St. Regis, it becomes clear how important the details were even back in the first days and what made the brand strong and respected. As mentioned before, Colonel Astor intended his hotel to be a comfortable harbor for the most sophisticated guests. To ensure that, he didn’t spare a penny.
Crystal chandeliers, marble floors, oriental tapestries and exquisite antiques decorated the common areas and rooms. The tasteful and luxurious design has always been one of The St. Regis’ key features. Besides being flawlessly stylish, the rooms were meant to give guests a feeling of home. Nowadays, The St. Regis suites around the world preserve a residential aesthetic and timeless style.
The comfort of guests was everything. Mr. Astor even brought his house staff to temporarily work at the hotel, guaranteeing top-notch personalized service. Since its foundation to present times, The St. Regis is famous for its “Allow me” butler service, providing guests with 24-hour care and attention. From packing and unpacking to more exotic requests, a butler will happily assist all the guests staying at the hotel.
Apart from the exceptional hospitality, The St. Regis also gave us the recipe of the famous Bloody Mary, a cocktail based on vodka and tomato juice. Yes, that brunch classic was introduced to the world right in the legendary King Cole Bar on Fifth Avenue by the bartender Fernand Petiot. And now, every bar at The St. Regis crafts its own signature Bloody Mary.
But that was not the only tradition that has its roots in King Cole Bar. In the years of the Depression, one of the Astor’s family’s other properties, The Knickerbocker Hotel was closed and the mural by Maxfield Parrish was moved to adorn the legendary bar at The St. Regis New York. That mural inspired all The St. Regis hotels across the globe to have unique artworks hanging above the bar counters.
Today, The St.Regis has 46 properties in busy capitals, sea and ski resorts and cultural hubs with new ones opening frequently. The latest one to date is The St. Regis Hong Kong in Wan Chai.
The St. Regis Macao
While the bustling Cotai Strip never sleeps, there is a quiet and cozy shelter to host those who actually need some rest and that is The St. Regis Macao. Although the luxurious hotel welcomes all kinds of guests, it especially focuses on providing family and convention services.
Within almost four years since its opening, The St. Regis Macao already collected many prestigious awards and collaborated with several brands to expand its range of outstanding services. Some of these partnerships are a part of “Familly Traditions”, a program that offers engaging experiences for the whole family to enjoy. This includes cooking classes and family tours to see Macau’s most spectacular landmarks.
In 2018, The St. Regis Macao teamed up with Papinee, a toy brand from Hong Kong that promotes the concept of storytelling and encourages parents to spend more time with kids. Not only has that partnership brought amazing accommodation packages, abundant brunch inspired by traveling and a new Papinee character, Jak the deer, but it also benefits those in need. Part of the profit from every storytelling kit that you may buy at The St. Regis Macao goes to support Papinee charity programs.
One of The St. Regis Macao gems is its bar with a mesmerizing stained glass wall art. Honoring long-standing traditions, there is, of course, an original Bloody Mary created specifically for the bar in Macau. Going by the name of Maria do Leste (Mary of the East) it is inspired by Macau’s blend of different cultures. The two Bloody Mary constants (vodka and tomato juice) are complimented with flavors of Portuguese chouriço, Brazilian pink peppercorn and limes, African Piri Piri, Indian cinnamon and paprika from India, a hint of egg tart and a couple more. You can also taste the cocktails created at The St. Regis hotels in New York, Osaka, Bora Bora Resort and Mexico City. Another stop on the gastro journey at The St. Regis Macao is The Manor. It’s an oyster bar and grill with a large selection of French oysters from five regions. Moreover, it is a fine dining location that honors local traditions, offering Portuguese flavors and culturally rich experiences like Chá Gordo.
For guests seeking the ultimate in relaxation, there is the Iridium Spa, located on the top floor of the hotel. Its locale makes it the highest spa in the city with breathtaking views of the Cotai Strip. Another unique attribute is its gemstone treatments. The spa artisans of The St. Regis Macao developed six massage gemstone-infused oils that are believed to have healing features. Whatever treatment a guest picks, it is always crafted for individual needs.
With the fine dining at The Manor, refined Iridium Spa, the fully equipped athletic club and venues to cater to all kinds of events, The St. Regis Macao continues to contribute to the brand success and gain loyal customers, providing some of the most exceptional services in the city.