The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan has quite the backstory.
John Jacob Astor IV, a prominent member of the Astor family, was a business magnate, real estate developer, investor, writer and lieutenant colonel in the Spanish-American War. He was also the richest man aboard the RMS Titanic.
He went down into the icy brine on that fateful date of April 15, 1912, after placing his wife into the final lifeboat. He was last seen smoking a cigarette on the starboard bridge wing. Ten days later, he was found floating in the water, a small fortune on his frozen person.
Eight years prior to his ill-fated iceberg incident, in 1904, John Jacob Astor IV had built the St. Regis New York, a sister property to his part-owned Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, "the world's most luxurious hotel." The very height of opulence and technological advance, each room had its own telephone. (We're talking 1904 – before they made us into morons – so act impressed).
Fast forward to the present day, and what – in a word – can we expect from the St Regis Shanghai, built as it is in John Jacob Astor IV's vision?
Glorious, timeless grandeur.
Kick off your staycation in the high style John Jacob Astor IV's mother would have. New York Grande Doyenne Caroline Astor elevated Afternoon Tea to a new level by introducing the ritual at dignified gatherings – an exhilarating prelude to her more noteworthy formal social events.
Served in The Drawing Room, with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing natural light to pour in from the garden, enjoy a sophisticated two-tier tray, with starched crisp white napkins and custom-designed bone china to complete the elegant setting.
Experience an extensive selection of aromatic teas, gourmet coffees and bites, including savory options like Foie Gras Balls, Spring Rolls with Kalimeris Salad & White Asparagus Panna Cotta.
As for those with a sweet tooth, there is an equally tempting array, including Baked Tiramisu, Amarna Cherries Mascarpone Cake and Mini Linzer. And it wouldn't be an Afternoon Tea without scrumptious, freshly baked scones served with traditional clotted cream and jam.
Top Tip: You don't need to be doing a staycation at the St. Regis to enjoy its Afternoon Tea; it is served daily from 2.30-5.30pm at The Drawing Room. Head along and enjoy!
To the room... an Executive Skyline Room. We're talking views from Beijing Xi Lu, over Shanghai Sculpture Park and People's Square, all the way to the Huangpu River and Lujiazui, with its gleaming skyscrapers.
As for the interior, it's more of that timeless grandeur, yet with modern touches – high-speed internet, 55-inch flat screen TV and intelligent toilet. Love those intelligent toilets.
There is also a bathtub mirror LED TV, and – get this – a butler will come and draw a bubble bath for you. Butler service, baby!
"Around-the-clock anticipatory," the butler will also unpack and pack your bag, press your shirts, shine your shoes, offer a beverage service – generally Jeevesing up your Bertie Wooster.
After a bit of room R&R, it is showtime in the lobby. Saber Champagne showtime. A traditional St. Regis ritual that marks the transition from day to night, the top of a Champagne bottle is ceremoniously lopped off with the sliding of a saber up its neck.
Yours truly was given the honors on the evening of our stay, and was given the sage advice to slide up the line of the bottle for a one-hit wonder decapitation. Off with their heads!
We opted for the latter and enjoyed an extensive menu combining fresh sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki and all that good stuff. And by good stuff we certainly include a warm bottle of sake.
Did somebody say cocktail o'clock? Post dinner it would be rude not to head to the The St. Regis Bar. Paying homage to the world’s renowned King Cole Bar, a New York institution, it is time for another interesting backstory.
In 1934 – one year after Prohibition ended – bartender Fernand Petiot invented a drink at the King Cole Bar which he called the Red Snapper. It subsequently become famous around the world as the Bloody Mary, and is the King Cole Bar's signature drink.
Well, The St. Regis Bar Shanghai sees the King Cole Bar's world famous St. Regis Bloody Mary (which of course, it also serves), and raises it a Mary Jing. This local take on the drink features unique Shanghai spices and local ingredients, with fig infused in vodka and dried osmanthus flower honey.
As we say, with a history like that, it would be rude not to...
Is there anything more decadent than breakfast in bed in a huge, well-appointed hotel room with killer views? There is actually. Two breakfasts in bed in a huge, well-appointed hotel room with killer views.
After a good night's sleep, in rolls what can only be described as an angel of a man with a huge trolley sporting a fresh fruit breakfast on top, and a couple of hot breakfasts keeping warm in its bowels.
If I were to die now, they could say of me, "He lived. He really lived."
As tempting as it is to pass back out in a food coma after that outrageous act of self-indulgence, there is one last stop before it is time to reluctantly check out.
The Athletic Club offers the latest Tech Gym machines and an individual yoga room with 24-hour access, but for me, it was the glass-ceilinged, sun-drenched indoor swimming pool that was calling.
So how – in a word – can we describe the The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan staycation experience?
More than epic...
For inquiries and reservations. please contact 021 6257 9999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See a listing for The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan.