For someone who cringes at simply popping a cork on bubbly, sabering offers an alternative, as long as skillfully hefting a heavy sword is doable. It’s certainly impressive enough to watch, but how does someone add this skill to their repertoire?
St. Regis Hotels & Resorts offers a solution with private champagne sabrage masterclasses launched this summer at all properties across North America, including The St. Regis Aspen Resort, where I first witnessed the art of sabering several years ago. In 2019, when visiting San Juan to view the impressive recovery from Hurricane Maria with other members of the media, it was part of our stop at The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico.
St. Regis Sabrage Masterclasses can be tailored to a variety of group sizes, from small corporate retreats to a bridal party or a night out with friends. The maximum recommended class size for a corporate group is 30.
The 30-minute masterclass is led by an expertly trained St. Regis butler and takes participants through the history and technique before allowing them to try their hand at the longtime St. Regis ritual. Canapés are included, and additional add-ons vary from property to property. Properties that currently offer the experience include The St. Regis Atlanta, The St. Regis Aspen Resort, The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, The St. Regis Deer Valley, The St. Regis Houston, The St. Regis New York, The St. Regis San Francisco, The St. Regis Toronto, and The St. Regis. Washington D.C.
History & Today
The art of sabrage stretches back more than 200 years. For St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, the ritual began in 1904 when hotel founder John Jacob Astor IV had a bottle of champagne sabered on-property to celebrate the transition from day to night. The act was made famous years before by Napoleon Bonaparte, who opened champagne with his saber and notably said, “Champagne! In victory, one deserves it; in defeat, one needs it.”
Today, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts around the world continue the tradition with a nightly and celebratory sabering rituals performed regularly across the company’s global portfolio.