Combining classic sophistication with a modern sensibility, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts is committed to delivering exceptional experiences at over 45 luxury hotels and resorts at the best addresses around the world.
Throughout more than a century long history, the St. Regis name has become a synonym for impeccable services of the highest class. We talked with Marriott International Vice President for Eastern Europe, Mr. Pankaj Birla, about the rich history of The St. Regis, a luxury brand from the portfolio of the famous hotel and residential chain, as well as what this project brings to the Serbian capital.
Q: St. Regis is a place where indulgence and sophistication meet. What is the story behind the St. Regis brand?
The St. Regis hotel brand has a rich and famous history. Launched in 1904, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, in the most exclusive residential area of New York at the time, by the American magnate John Jacob Astor IV who spared no expense in creating a hotel of world-class luxury and taste. For over a century, St. Regis has been celebrating the tradition of a fundamental idea – to provide impeccable service of the highest class, but also to introduce innovations in the field of luxury hotel management and constantly raise the bar in the industry.
Q: There are many rituals and famous facts about the hotel and branded residences. Can you share with us some of the magic that happened throughout history and continues to happen today?
Detail-oriented from the first day, St. Regis history is full of amazing custom-made services that make the staying experience even more special.
The famous Bloody Mary cocktail was created at The St. Regis New York’s King Cole Bar by Fernand Petiot, a bartender. Originally named the “Bloody Mary”, the cocktail was renamed the “Red Snapper” so as not to offend the hotel’s refined clientele. After more than 80 years, the iconic Bloody Mary remains the signature cocktail of St. Regis. Every “Bloody Mary” cocktail made in St. Regis hotels has a distinctive local character. I am sure that the iconic cocktail in The St. Regis Belgrade will also have the ingredients by which this region is recognizable.
While celebrating tradition, we must mention our sabrage ritual. Dating back to the battles of Napoleon Bonaparte, who famously opened champagne bottles with his saber in both victory and defeat, the art of sabrage is the signature ceremony of the St. Regis Evening Rituals series. It’s a unique and exciting way to open a bottle of champagne, and a great option to begin the evening gatherings.
One of our most exclusive and intimate special events is the Midnight Supper, designed to honour the traditions of Caroline Astor, the mother of John Jacob Astor IV. The concept traces its roots to New York City in the 1800s, when Mrs. Astor, a socialite, hosted invitation-only dinners that lasted until late at night.
Q: What can we expect from St. Regis Belgrade?
St. Regis is well-known for its unsurpassed luxury, and Belgrade will not be an exception. All guests in each of our hotels can expect world-class service, and that kind of hotel experience has never been seen before in this city, country or region. Being the tallest building in Serbia (168 metres) and a new landmark of the capital, within the magnificent Belgrade Waterfront project, with its phenomenal architectural solution – we had no doubt that Kula Belgrade would be a perfect location for the St. Regis brand. A mix of Belgrade’s long and interesting tradition and the new, modern design of Kula Belgrade fits perfectly into our story of a place that celebrates and connects these two aspects. The rotation of the building represents what Belgrade is recognizable for – the confluence of the Sava and the Danube. The facade of glass panels will reflect the rivers and the panorama of the city, which gives the appearance of fluidity, and, although it stands out for its size, it fits harmoniously into this part of the city. The whole story of this project, as well as the attention to every detail, is exactly what makes Kula Belgrade stand out from the crowd.
Q: Besides the hotel, Kula Belgrade is going to have St. Regis branded residences. Can you tell us a little bit more about these properties?
For all those who seek ultimate comfort and the most prestigious place to live, The Residences at The St. Regis Belgrade will offer a privileged lifestyle experience. From the 14th to the 39th floor, there are branded residences that are well-appointed for a contemporary way of life. Reflecting the signature unique shape of the building’s architecture, the floors are divided into three collections: Signature, Grand, and Sky. At The Residences at The St. Regis Belgrade, the finest in style is once more matched with extraordinary service, where each request is discreetly met with enthusiasm and commitment. The Residences at The St. Regis Belgrade are exquisite, subtle, and refined in every detail and inspired by nature’s patterns. Overlooking the city skyline and two rivers, residents will have the privilege to see Belgrade from a different perspective and enjoy everyday life with this magnificent view.
Q: What inspires you in Belgrade?
When we were scouting for the location of the new European St. Regis hotel and St. Regis Residences, we searched for the right blend of history and modernity. The spirit of Belgrade may not yet be fully recognized in the world, but Belgrade is a true gem. With its rich tradition, this city reconciled east and west and created an indescribable fusion of good vibes that this city exudes. The Sava and the Danube are the treasure of Belgrade. Your fellow citizens love them and know how to enjoy and cherish them. From the natural resources, through the proud spirit that is passed down through generations, to incredible cultural monuments – Belgrade lives on its streets, among people during a coffee break, and you cannot see that in a picture. You must feel it.