St Regis Jingan Shanghai September 2017

1   Not Recommended

Caroline Astor Suite
September 11, 2017 by
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Caroline Astor Suite

Liked:
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Caroline Astor Suite

Executive Summary

Nice location and clearly a lot of money has gone into this renovation of an existing building. However, staff, management, and owners just do not seem to understand the concept of first class service. Most employees looked bored, yawning constantly, while performing their function just adequately at best. There were a couple moments that stood out but those were clearly exceptions, more easily attributable to individual employee effort than a consistent service management philosophy.  This property has the body of a St Regis but is missing the soul that makes the brand stand apart.  Unfortunately I do not see any effort to rectify the service issues so they are likely to be a long term issue. IMO, this property is not to the St Regis brand standard of service.

Check In

This new addition to the St Regis family just opened in May so it is about four months old when we went.  Several critical reviews have been posted on the hotel's Starwood page so I was a bit hesitant to choose this location over the centrally located Le Royal Meridien more known for consistent service.  I was hoping that many of the reported issues had been ironed out by the time of our visit.

Greeters were on-hand as our car pulled up and our luggage was immediately unloaded and stored as we entered the hotel.  Then you see the concierge desk who greeted us and pointed us to right towards the check-in desks.  The greeters and concierge provided the most consistently good service we received throghout our stay and one concierge earned a SPG Elite Thank You Certificate from me.

Check-in is casually luxurious with a series of antique looking desks and overstuffed leather chairs facing a single front desk clerk.  A bit too much on the casual side as my clerk was busy facing away from the entrance and chatting busily with another employee, not noticing our approach until we literally sat down in front of her. The other employee did notice us but never acknowledged us and only left when the clerk turned to finally check us in.  Not a great start but indicative of the rest of the service we would learn to expect over the next several days.

My SPG Platinum status was acknowledged and we were given an upgrade to a Caroline Astor Suite on a low floor. We were warned that we may hear construction during the daytime and that was true but only very distantly. All of my SPG and reservation package benefits were recognized and made available to me. The Executive Lounge was open but there was only limited service, instead there would be a precisely one hour happy hour in the lobby bar for elite members.

One thing to note, this hotel is still so new no taxi driver recognizes the name and may very well bring you to the OLD St Regis in Shanghai which is in a completely different area.  Best to give them the street address and nearest cross street, that worked consistently.

Room

Suite Sitting Room.jpg1_Suite Bedroom.jpgSuite bathroom 1.jpgSuite bathroom 2.jpgSuite bathroom 3.jpg

From my understanding, The Caroline Astor Suite is the third largest suite (aka, the smallest suite) this hotel offers. There is a walk-in closet off the hallway, no picture as our luggage was a bit of a mess. The luggage rack was of a poor design with a short "wall" on the back side, this blocks luggage from sitting balanced across the rack. The closet drawers were tiny but acceptable for a stay up to a week. Two vases were displayed behind glass doors, these were attractive but took up valuable useful space.

There is a sitting room with a large desk and sofa, a bowl of fruit was available but never changed during our stay despite eating some of the fruit. My rate included all the minibar one time for the stay. But on the third day of our stay, I was told that all the snacks and non-alcoholic beverages would be restocked daily for free. The TV did not work but was quickly fixed by an engineer while we were out (it wasn't the remote, I could use it on the other TV). Oddly, the desk did not appear to have any power outlets, the nearest one was about three feet from the far left corner of the desk so plugging in everything took a bit of an effort.  Wifi was decently fast but suprisingly for a major international hotel certain sites were blocked by the Great Firewall necessitating the use of a VPN.

The bedroom itself was as expected. Crisp linens were on the comfortable king size bed, a sizeable upholstered bench at the foot of the bed. The large window in both the bedroom and sitting room had electronically controlled blackout curtains and shades, those were very nice. I called our butler and requested foam pillows. A gruff looking housekeeper showed up about 5 minutes later, shoved them at me without saying a word, and then promptly left. Again, not a great front line service encounter. I also noted that wall and ceiling finishes were somewhat rough and uneven, typical China construction but I would have expected more oversight on a luxury project.

The bathroom is large with dual sinks and a make-up table, all surrounding a large free standing bathtub. The toilet is a well designed Japanese style with all electronic controls. Unfortunately, it was kind of annoying too! You had to walk past the toilet slightly to trigger the cover to rise. Then you have to wait for the cover to completely rise before triggering the seat to rise next, a lot slower than just using your hand. The wireless controller would constantly go into standby mode necessitating multiple presses to get it to turn back on and then sometimes triggering an unwanted action (eg, bidet mode!). So it was kind of cute the first time around but then got annoying by the second day. The bathroom has just two switches: one turns on just the shower stall light, the other turns on everything else. Personally this makes no sense to me as there are times when somebody might want to go to the toilet in the middle of night and does not need all lights blazing, whereas I don't think there is ever a time when somebody would only use the shower without turning anything else on. Oh and the handle on the toilet door was slightly crooked. The toiletries were quite nice and I kept a bottle of the facial wash, all the bottles were 2.5 oz so sized for airport travel.

As my wife put it, it kind of seems like the room was designed by someone who never actually stayed in a five star hotel.  It's not bad, just some odd quirks that were unexpected and easily avoidable.

Executive Lounge

Lounge view.jpgLounge 5.jpgLounge 1.jpgLounge 3.jpgLounge 2.jpg

The Executive Lounge is gorgeous, as one of the tallest buildings in the area the hotel has an impressive panoramic view of downtown Shanghai. Service however is utterly lacking. The lounge desk agent almost always looked bored, literally slumped over on the desk unless she noticed someone was coming then she would perk up. She never got up though, her job was only to confirm that our room has access to the lounge and then we would go seat ourselves. Another server did leap out from a back room while adjusting his uniform, so at least he was eager if not quite prepared. There was a very fine assortment of teas available (highly recommended), standard canned and bottled non-alcoholic drinks, a single bottle of red wine, and jars of non-descript cookies. That was literally it, we never saw any other food set out during our entire stay though a small kitchen is there, likely for making omlettes in the morning in the future. There is an interior atrium space that is half reading room and half bar, it was never manned and we were never offered a drink from that bar. The lounge is basically a nice place to pick up standard beverages but not much else.

At one point, my wife asked for two mini jars of honey for a pot of tea and the server came back with only one stating that they were out and then looked blankly at her. She then had to promp him to go find another one which apparently had not occured to him otherwise.

Dining

Breakfast.jpgBreakfast Eastern.jpgBreakfast Western.jpg

The breakfast restaurant was a bright point of our trip. The seating is plentiful and comfortable. Fresh squeezed juices and the fine teas were available here. The Western dishes looked good but were only OK, the exception was the coconut potatoes au gratin which were quite good. But the highlights were in the Asian section with dim sum, rice porridge, and bowls of noodles. There was also a selection of smoked salmon and cured meats that were also quite good and went well with the selection of cheeses.  Plus your normal assortment of pastries, waffles, cereals, etc.

Service here was particulalry egregious. The front desk would simply mumble welcome and goodbye with literally zero feeling. One regular waitress in particular constantly walked around with wide open yawns. Some of the waiters were very prompt in clearing used dishware, sometimes a bit too quick as we were still eating but they didn't notice there was still food left on the plate. When I was perusing the selection of tea, one waiter kept asking and reminding me that he would be happy to make me a pot until I finally asked him to leave me alone long enough to go through the selection of teas first!

Gym

The gym was functional and offered towels and water. A basic assortment of equipment that was well maintained, no complaints there. There is also an interior lap pool, not really something kids would want to play in though.

Upon checking in at the gym desk, the clerk there offered to hold on to my wife's room card as she had no pockets, that was nice of him. OTOH, when I left there were two employees chatting at the same desk and neither acknowledged me or even bothered to pause their conversation.

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