Full disclosure: This stay is in conjunction with the SPG Amex Stars program I’m participating in, courtesy of the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express. They covered the cost of my flights and two-night stay at the St. Regis New York. That being said, all opinions expressed are my own. Stay tuned, because next month you’ll have the opportunity to earn 30,000 Starpoints courtesy of the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express in conjunction with this stay.
SPG Amex Stars program
To expand a bit on the above, as long time readers know, for the past two years I’ve been participating in the SPG Amex Stars program, which I first wrote about in April of 2012.
A vast majority of my travel is self-funded, with one of the only exceptions being stays through this program. What makes this so cool isn’t just that I get to have some cool experiences that I can write about, but that with each experience I get to give away Starpoints to a lucky reader, courtesy of the Starwood American Express.
That’s what makes this so fun, so stay tuned for that giveaway, which should be within the next month.
SPG Amex Stars summer trip
The first hotel stay of the year through this program was for a summer stay at a US Starwood hotel of my choosing. I’m a big fan of the St. Regis brand, and so far through the Amex Stars program have stayed at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, St. Regis San Francisco, and St. Regis Monarch Beach.
So when I had the chance to pick my own summer stay, I figured I’d visit the St. Regis New York, which I’ve always wanted to stay at. While I generally prefer more modern hotels, there’s no denying that the St. Regis New York is an iconic property, so I was keen to check it out.
Redeeming Starpoints for St. Regis New York
Before I get into the review, let me mention that the St. Regis New York is a Category 7 SPG property, making it 30,000-35,000 Starpoints for a free night redemption. That’s a lot of Starpoints, and it stings to redeem that many given how value the points are.
I’m not going to lie, I have a tendency to hoard Starpoints. That’s because they’re so flexible and valuable that I hate redeeming them. While I like to “earn and burn” individual points currencies, Starpoints have so many uses that I really end up hoarding them.
I never thought I’d actually redeem 30,000+ Starpoints per night for a hotel, but I actually did just that over Christmas with my parents. We wanted to be in South Florida for Christmas, so I figured I’d surprise my parents with a stay at the St. Regis Bal Harbour.
When you redeem Starpoints for a free night redemption, the fifth night is free. So that means I paid 140,000 Starpoints for five nights, which is an average of 28,000 Starpoints per night. While it “hurt” to part with that many Starpoints at first, it was worth every Starpoint.
And it was also a great value compared to the paid rate of $1,274++ per night.
Not only did my parents have a blast, but it was also the last real chunk of time I was able to spend with my dog, Lucky (he only began enjoying the #spglife a bit late, sadly).
Anyway, the St. Regis New York can similarly be a great value on points. While it’s 30,000-35,000 Starpoints per night, if you redeem for five nights it’ll cost you an average of as little as 24,000 Starpoints per night.
Given that rates start at ~$700 per night and in peak season approach $1,000 per night, I’d say that’s a great use of points. For example, looking at stays over the New Year, the prepaid rate starts at $947++, while alternatively you could spend 24,000 Starpoints per night for a five night stay (factoring in the fifth night free).
My stay at the St. Regis New York
My stay was for two nights, and I decided to redeem two of my Platinum Suite Night Awards for this stay, so that I could confirm a suite in advance. Five days before arrival my suite upgrade was confirmed, which was awesome.
I was staying at the Grand Hyatt New York the night before my stay, and called the St. Regis in the morning and asked them to call me when my room was available. They called me at around 1PM to let me know it was ready, at which point I headed over to the hotel.
The St. Regis is located on 5th Avenue & 55th Street, so the location is awesome. I love walking around New York City, and with a location like that I was within walking distance of 90% of the places I wanted to be. The entrance to the hotel is on 55th Street, which makes it a bit quieter as well.
The exterior of the St. Regis is pretty classic, which you’d expect for a 110 year old hotel.
In addition to the main entrance is the entrance for the King Cole Bar, which can also be accessed from the lobby.
The hotel is in the final stages of a 90 million dollar renovation. While the guest rooms have been renovated, the public areas aren’t quite done yet, so the lobby is a work in progress.
The reception area was located in a separate room, and featured individual tables so that each guest can sit down while being checked in, which is the norm at most St. Regis properties.
I was assisted by Anna, a friendly German associate. We did the entire check-in process in German, which was kind of fun. She recognized my Starwood Platinum status and offered:
- 4PM late check-out
- A welcome amenity, with the choice between 500 Starpoints, a local gift, or complimentary continental breakfast (I went with the latter)
She offered to escort me to my room, though I said I’d be fine figuring it out myself.
I took the elevator up to the 16th floor, where my room was located.
I was assigned room 1636, a Madison Suite at the far end of the 16th floor.
There was a large foyer at the entrance, from which you could turn either right or left.
What’s so cool is that this suite had two full bathrooms, so going either left or right led to a full bathroom, with double sinks, toilet, soaking tub, and walk-in shower.
To the right was the living room, which was huge. It featured a seating area with a couch and two chairs, a small dining table, and a desk with a chair.
In the corner of the room was a TV, and under it was the minibar.
On the dining table was a plate of fresh fruit.
Quite possibly the best (or maybe worst?) feature of the room was the crystal bowl filled with both dark and milk chocolate. Don’t ask how I know this, but they seem to refill it twice daily. 😉
Then on the other side of the suite was the bedroom, with one of the signature plush St. Regis beds. While the mattresses are of course great, it’s the quality (and quantity!) of sheets that make a St. Regis bed.
Also in the bedroom was a chair, and a flat screen TV.
Unfortunately the room didn’t really boast any views.
As I mentioned above, the bathroom setup in this suite was impressive, with two full baths. The amount of bling in both bathrooms rivaled an Emirates A380.
The water pressure and temperature controls in both showers were excellent.
Toiletries were Remede branded, as is the norm at St. Regis properties. I don’t think there’s a toiletry brand with more of a “kick” to it than Remede.
The second bathroom was almost identical to the first, except oriented in the opposite direction.
This is probably a good time to explain that I love modern hotels. I’m not much for the “old world,” because I find many historic hotels are what I like to call “shabby chic,” whereby they’re well past their prime. Basically they preserved the original touches without updating technology and comfort.
That’s what impressed me about the St. Regis. While it was “old world,” everything was updated in such a way that you didn’t feel like you were staying in a hotel in the 1900s. From the bedding to the finishes to the comfort of the furniture, I was really impressed. I mean, the amount of detail that even went into the ventilation system was impressive.
Shortly after checking in the butler, Irmici, introduced herself. She explained that I should let her know if I need anything, and reminded me of the St. Regis butler services, including complimentary tea/coffee, packing/unpacking, free shoe shine, etc.
I tend to be on a pretty whacky time schedule and am almost entirely “caffeine powered,” so love the complimentary tea and coffee at St. Regis properties.
In terms of the hotel’s other features, I had breakfast both mornings at King Cole Restaurant. It really is an iconic setting. Eons ago my dad used to be in the banking business in New York, and if I had a dollar for every story he had told me over the years about the King Cole Bar, I would’ve retired by now. 😉
The Platinum breakfast at the St. Regis New York consists of coffee/tea, juice, a pastry basket, and a parfait of sorts.
While it was definitely on the continental side, the yogurt with granola was delicious, and I do love a “traditional” tea service. I did my best to stay away from the six-piece pastry basket.
I also checked out the King Cole bar one night, which is apparently where the Bloody Mary was invented (or as they call it, the Red Snapper). I invited my brother for a drink there, and he said it was the best Bloody Mary he ever had.
In terms of interesting history, rumor has it that the Maxfield Parish mural on the wall is insured for 30 million dollars — no wonder they charge $25 for a Red Snapper. 😉
To work off the Red Snapper and pastry basket, the hotel also has a gym in the basement. Apparently this is just temporary, as they’re in the process of opening the main one at the top of the hotel, which will be more spacious.
Bottom line on St. Regis New York
Generally older hotels aren’t my style, though I really loved the St. Regis. Could I ever imagine paying the $700+ per night rates at the St. Regis? Heck no, but then again I’m not in a position to spend that kind of money on hotels anyway.
But this hotel can be a great value on Starpoints, in my opinion. If you’re redeeming for five nights (with the fifth night free) you’re potentially paying 24,000 Starpoints per night, which is tough to beat for a hotel this iconic and in a city with hotel rates as high as in New York.
Have you stayed at the St. Regis New York, and if so, what did you think?
Stay tuned for the giveaway, where you’ll have the chance to enter for enough Starpoints for a stay at this property!