When it comes to luxury hotels, the real test is when a hotel is able to go beyond the cookie-cutter format and offer “experiences”. The Indian luxury traveller today is not satisfied merely with a plush room, branded amenities and gushing staff. Whether on a business or leisure trip, he is looking for an immersive, memorable experience that is unique, perhaps even exclusive to him. In that very same vein, The St. Regis hotels around the world have managed to rise to the challenge, providing these experiences, making them truly worthy of their heritage. As the name suggests, St. Regis Aficionado experiences are a range of unique offerings, which differ from property to property, offering something exclusive to the discerning guest.
To discuss this, I caught up with Daniella Tonetto, General Manager of Sales and Marketing at The St. Regis Macao and she was able to give me some insights into the aficionado experiences offered by the hotel, for whose grand launch, we were present in December last year. Here’s what she told us, “The idea is to provide private access into the world’s most exclusive collection of services. These experiences are available at multiple St. Regis properties around the world and they stem from the passion points of St. Regis. These focus points being, food and wine, speed and sport, music and culture, etc. These experiences are available to all guests staying at the hotel and arranged with the help of our iconic St. Regis butler, who in turn can truly personalise them. The Aficionado Experiences are generally readily available but people coming in on flights and ferries would like to tailor their experiences at the property so notice of at least 48 hours is preferable so that they get the optimum bespoke experience.”
The core message here is clear, “you tell us what you want, and we will customise it for you.”
While The St. Regis Macao has a number of Aficionado Experiences, we at UrbanEye decided to pick two of our favourites, which we thought would be most relevant to our business and leisure traveller readers. One involves some of the world’s most prized cognacs (with an interesting story, of course) and the other brings in one of the world’s most expensive suiting brands from Naples. Read on.
A Taste of 1904: A Bespoke Cognac Experience.
This Aficionado experience package comprises accommodation in an empire suite, breakfast in the manor, return airport transfers, dinner for two and a bespoke cognac tasting experience from the 1904 cask cognac. What’s so special about this cognac, you ask? Well, this cognac was bottled exclusively for the grand opening of the original St. Regis New York, in 1904 by John Jacob Astor IV. The experience includes a tasting of 5 varieties of cognac from recent vintages to the oldest one dating back to 1904 (WOW!). One starts with the youngest and moves their way up across the cognac range, in a guided tasting session. If you’re curious to know which are the five varieties of cognac you will get to taste are, here goes…
Hennessy VSOP (ranging from 4-10 years)
Rémy Martin (from 5-25 years)
Hennessy XO (from 10-30 years
Château de Laubade Armagnac 1972
Cognac Croizet Museum Collection 1904 Private Reserve
“One cant find 1904 cognac easily, but it fits perfectly with the St. Regis brand, and with our feeder markets within Asia there is a love of cognac around the region. So we felt it very befitting of the region and our travellers,“ adds Daniella.
Men’s Fashion – A Bespoke Experience with Kiton
Another Aficionado experience that St. Regis Macao offers is a tailoring experience with Italian luxury sartorialist, Kiton. This package comprises a personalised consultation, NOT in their store, but in the comfort of a metropolitan suite, daily breakfast at The Manor, and round trip airport transfers by limousine.
Kiton was chosen for a number of reasons. There is great brand alignment between Kiton and St. Regis, as both of them focus on discreet luxury. They pride themselves on being able to offer a personalised discrete luxury experience to the discerning traveller. With the Kiton experience, the Master tailor of Kiton comes to the hotel and the customer can have the fitting there, (you can even go over to the store and enjoy the variety on offer). Each suit takes a minimum of 25 hours to make and goes through at least 17 steps in the hands of up to 45 specialists, each of whom is trained in the art of making the perfect suit.
Any form of personalised luxury experience gets a big thumbs up from all of us here at UrbanEye.
You can book your St. Regis Aficionado Experience here – http://www.stregismacao.com
By Kristianne Mascarenhas