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Changsha is an “under-the-radar” city in central China. You may have never heard of it, but it is actually the powerhouse of China’s domestic TV entertainment industry. In recent years Changsha, like other cities in China, saw a rapid expansion of the tourism industry. China Southern launched 3x weekly nonstop flight to Frankfurt in 2014. Later, Hainan Airlines started Changsha to Los Angeles daily nonstop flight in early 2016.
On the hotel side, Changsha has seen the grand opening of InterContinental, Grand Hyatt, and Meixi Lake Hotel (a Luxury Collection Hotel) in the past few years. In April 2017, St. Regis became the latest international luxury hotel chain to open in the city. Since then St. Regis has been regarded as one of the finest hotels in Changsha.
I used the Fine Hotels & Resorts program offered by American Express Platinum card to make this reservation. With FHR, you are entitled to a wide range of benefits such as upgrade to better room (subject to availability), free breakfast for two, and guaranteed noon check-in and 4-pm check-out. Better yet, as a SPG Platinum member, I could still receive all benefits associated with my status, in some cases meaning a double upgrade (i.e. to a speciality suite). Suffice to say I was very looking forward to this stay.
2. Arrival and Lobby
St. Regis Changsha does not offer the typical $100 property credit for guests booked through FHR. Instead, it offers a one-way airport transfer (to or from the hotel) on Rolls Royce Ghost. I quite like this idea, given the $100 credit isn’t particularly worth it in China. You could easily find better off-property restaurants and spa experiences, in my opinion.
The lobby is located at 48th floor, and look at how gorgeous it is!
The stairs lead to St. Regis bar, where you could take a sip of Baijiu Mary. Here the classic Bloody Mary is infused with local spirit to add a distinctive flavor and touch to the famed cocktail first originating in St. Regis New York.
Again, what an impressive lobby.
Check-in was easy, and soon we were escorted to our room by our Butler. As we passed through the hallway, we noticed some ornaments and traditional Chinese painting around, giving the hotel a nice touch of culture.
One day before check-in we got contacted by St. Regis butler team, who asked us if any preparation is needed. Then after check-in a Butler actually escorted us to the room. Later we were offered a pot of fruit tea. Typically I find hotel staff in Asia with much more warm hospitality and professionalism. I understand there are cultural differences here, but certainly I wish their American counterparts could do the same.
3. St. Regis Suite
With the total room size amounting to 1000 sq ft, the entire room felt extremely spacious. The picture below shows the living room.
The wall-mounted lighting control had an infrared sensor, meaning that whenever you stand in front of the panel, it will illuminate itself automatically.
At the corner was a working desk.
Engraved on the top of the desk was a bold St. Regis logo. On the other hand the room keys seemed much more muted.
The room has a very large flat-screen TV across the sofa. We ended up not using it much, but a cool feature nonetheless.
At the other corner minibars and an espresso machine were located. Within the same shelf there were also some books and decorations.
Now comes the bedroom. There was another flat-screen TV in the room.
The room was stylishly decorated. There was no gleaming lights, but the wooden tone of the room gave a sense of tranquil elegance.
On the bedside table top we found an alarm and an iPad, with which you could control the lighting of the room and request in-room service.
Between the bedroom and the bathroom was the open closet.
The suite came with a ridiculously large bathroom.
On the washstand were REMEDE-branded amenities and two bottles of mineral water, presumably sourced from Tibet.
In addition to the toilet in the bathroom, there was another toilet by the corner of the living room.
The shower room was separated from the toilet, and equipped with a rainforest shower head and a sprinkler head.
Finally, by the window was a large bath tub with a nice city view.
Overall, I found the room to be spacious and comfortable. The good news is that among the ~188 rooms at St. Regis Changsha, more than a quarter of them (49 to be precise) are suites. Various reports indicate that Platinum members consistently receive upgrade to a suite, sometimes to special suites such as Caroline Suite.
One thing I always appreciate hotels in China is their wide variety of breakfast options. St. Regis Changsha doesn’t have a lounge, and we had our breakfast in its restaurant.
We decided to sit near the window, and our table came with a fabulous view of downtown Changsha.
Just look at the spread of food available. What an extravaganza.
There is an egg bar and a noodle station as well, offering made-to-cook options.
This is what I end up getting. On a side note, Changsha is very famous its flat rice noodle in China, so it is hard to resist the temptation to try one. It was indeed super yummy.
5. Gym and Pool
On second day I checked out the pool and the gym of the hotel. The indoor infinite pool is very impressive.
Located next door is the gym. It was literally empty when I came in.
Right outside the pool and across the gym is a large open-air balcony. It was hot outside so I didn’t hang out for too long.
However, the view from the balcony is great. You could see the building in which a brand-new W will be housed. It is expected to open in June, 2019.
6. Final Thoughts
St. Regis Changsha greatly exceeded my expectations. The hardware was impressive, service attentive, and FHR benefits quite unique and useful. The disadvantage might be its location, which is somewhat far from the city center. However, there is a subway line right beneath the hotel and taxis in Changsha are quite affordable, so overall I wouldn’t be bothered by the location too much.
In short, if you are a SPG/Marriott loyalist and plan to visit Changsha, be sure to check out this SPG flagship in the city.
Have you ever stayed at St. Regis Changsha before, and if yes, how was your stay?