The stunning St. Regis hotel by night. Image courtesy of the St. Regis hotel.

In 1904, John Jacob Astor opened the doors to the St. Regis, described at the time as “the finest hotel in America” by The New York Times. In the 109 years since, its profusion of marble, crystal and gilt has been witness to a number of people and events of historic note.

The Bloody Mary was invented here in 1934; Salvador Dali, his wife Gala and their pet ocelot lived in a St. Regis suite for more than a decade in the 1960s and ’70s; Blair Waldorf (on Gossip Girl, in case you live under a rock and don’t know) had her wedding reception at the hotel in 2012; an ELLE Canada editor stayed here in 2013. Okay, that last one likely won’t be recorded in anyone’s history book except mine, but it’s still an impressive list – and only the tip of the iceberg. (Speaking of icebergs, interesting side note: Astor met an untimely end on the Titanic a few short years after the St. Regis opened.)

The St. Regis recently renovated its 18 floors, and I had the pleasure of being one of the first guests to enjoy its refreshed appearance – as well as a level of comfort and service that is dangerously easy to get used to.

I also sat down to an epic meal created by John DeLucie, the new head chef at the King Cole Bar & Salon, the St. Regis’ restaurant. Every dish was like something I’d tasted before but elevated, with some small stroke of genius, to an entirely new level: from the smoked beet salad with goat cheese to the truffle macaroni and cheese to the tuna tartare with Asian pear and pistachios. Chocolate profiteroles in an armchair by the fire provided a perfectly luxurious end to a memorable meal. The only thing missing was an ocelot in my lap.

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