Review: St. Regis New York

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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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5th Avenue & 55th Street

The exterior of the St. Regis is pretty classic, which you’d expect for a 110 year old hotel.

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St. Regis New York exterior

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St. Regis New York exterior

In addition to the main entrance is the entrance for the King Cole Bar, which can also be accessed from the lobby.

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St. Regis New York exterior

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St. Regis New York exterior

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St. Regis New York exterior

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.

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St. Regis New York lobby

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St. Regis New York lobby

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.

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St. Regis New York lobby

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.

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St. Regis New York lobby staircase

I took the elevator up to the 16th floor, where my room was located.

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St. Regis New York lobby

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St. Regis New York stairs

I was assigned room 1636, a Madison Suite at the far end of the 16th floor.

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St. Regis New York hallway

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St. Regis New York room entrance

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St. Regis New York floorplan

There was a large foyer at the entrance, from which you could turn either right or left.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite foyer

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.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite hallway

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite hallway

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.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite living room

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite living room

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite living room

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite living room

In the corner of the room was a TV, and under it was the minibar.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite minibar

On the dining table was a plate of fresh fruit.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite fruit plate

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. 😉

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite chocolate dish

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.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite bedroom

Also in the bedroom was a chair, and a flat screen TV.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite bedroom

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite bedroom

Unfortunately the room didn’t really boast any views.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite bedroom view

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.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite bathroom

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite bathtub

The water pressure and temperature controls in both showers were excellent.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite shower

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.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite Remede toiletries

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite toilet

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite sinks

The second bathroom was almost identical to the first, except oriented in the opposite direction.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite bathroom

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite sinks

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite shower

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite bathtub

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.

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St. Regis New York Madison Suite finishes

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.

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St. Regis butler service — complimentary tea

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St. Regis butler service — complimentary coffee

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. 😉

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Restaurant

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Restaurant

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Restaurant

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Restaurant

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Restaurant

The Platinum breakfast at the St. Regis New York consists of coffee/tea, juice, a pastry basket, and a parfait of sorts.

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Restaurant breakfast menu

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.

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Restaurant Platinum breakfast

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Restaurant Platinum breakfast

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Restaurant Platinum breakfast

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.

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Bar

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Bar Red Snapper

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. 😉

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St. Regis King Cole Bar Bar

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.

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St. Regis New York gym

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St. Regis New York gym

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!

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. While I agree that older hotels aren’t necessarily my style, this is, bar none, my favorite hotel in the US (and a top 5 in the world).

    Classy without being antiquey. Great service without being overbearing. Location can’t be beat. Lots of history.

    A 10/10 in my book.

  2. Had similar experience about two years ago. Stayed for five nights in early December. At check-in, I knew there was a suite available on the internet so when I was told I was upgraded to a Grand Deluxe, I politely mentioned that the website is advertising a suite and if it is available, I would be grateful. She must have taken 5 minutes playing with the keyboard and finally said the people are checking out now and they can call me when the room is available. Took about an hour to get the call and we returned.

    I was blown away by the Madison Suite – two full baths, etc. As amazing as any upgrade we’ve ever had (with the possible exception of the Grand Hyatt in Bangkok but that’s another story!).

    Like you, it takes a lot for me to redeem that much and not because I don’t have them – I just feel more secure when there are lots of Starpoints in my acct. That said, we used them for the St Regis Bahia Beach in Puerto Rico in March and are returning there next February. Look forward to returning to the St Regis but I imagine we’ll first check out the new Park Hyatt NY when it opens.

  3. “Could I ever imagine paying the $700+ per night rates at the St. Regis? Heck no…”

    I’m not against paying $700+ per room per night for a splurge but it had better be something truly amazing to command that kind of money. The St Regis hotel seems nice enough but nothing I saw in this review impressed me nearly enough to fork over that kind of money. In addition to a straight pass/fail on the cash cost I’m curious what level of money you would consider a good value if they happened to have a sale the next time Wall Street tanks the economy?

  4. @ Dax — Well keep in mind that $700+ per night is actually really reasonably by five star New York standards. For example, I think this hotel is objectively MUCH nicer than the Ritz-Carlton Central Park, where rates start at $800+ per night. So you’re paying for the name and location, really.

    Observing the other guests, it sure seemed like I was one of the only American guests — most were Russian or Middle Eastern, where $700+ per night is nothing. But that’s the beauty of points, they allow us to stay at properties like these as well.

    It’s tough to say how much cash I would spend to stay here, since I’m not in a financial situation to regularly drop that kind of cash. Ultimately if the economy tanked and prices were cut in half, I’d probably consider other economical Starwood options as well. So that’s tough to say…

  5. Lucky,

    I’m totally with you on not being enamored by the “old world” hotels. An example that comes to mind is the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco. I’m sure at one point it was a great hotel, but it is just so far past its prime that I would never go back.

    The St. Regis definitely looks nicely refinished!

  6. Lucky,

    “A vast majority of my travel is self-funded, ”

    how do you do all these travel with self funds? 🙂 Oh I forgot.. You are “Lucky”

    Endre

  7. I stayed there probley over 5 times and I love that hotel. When I am there I usually stay in the Resedence club so the rooms are a bit different. Where is the new reception area because when I will there in the middle of June they still had one desk by the entrence ? Also are you going to post a review of the Breakers Palm Beach that you stayed at?

  8. “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. 😉 ”

    You survived za Zherman accents?

  9. Lucky- Great review as always. In my next life I think I want to come back as you!

    As I live in New York, I’ve never stayed in any NYC hotels but have checked out rooms at the St. Regis. I was impressed but not blown away, and I preferred those of the Peninsula across the street. How would you compare the two hotels?

    Another thing I think you should be explicitly lauded for is for your transparency with respect to any potential financial disclosures / conflicts of interest. It is something we think would be taken for granted but lots of people, especially in the travel profession, don’t seem to take that seriously.

  10. @ digital01 — Totally agree. When I think of “shabby chic,” the Mark Hopkins is actually the first hotel that comes to mind.

  11. @ endre — Hah, more accurately I should say it’s not funded by any airline/hotel. Ultimately I make a living through this blog, so it’s you guys that are funding it. Thanks! 🙂

  12. @ Ted — Didn’t see a desk by the entrance. Do plan on posting a review of the Breakers — thanks for your interest!

  13. @ Troy — Yep, which is one of the crazier things I’ve done, though it was for my mom’s 60th birthday, which is why. Ultimately IF I were to spend a ton of money on a hotel it’s much more likely to be a resort, where I’ll actually spend close to 24 hours per day “on property.” Meanwhile when in cities I don’t spend as much time in the hotel, so don’t get as much value out of it.

  14. @ Adi_T — It does amaze me how many people don’t disclose comped stays/travel, so it’s the least I can do (both legally and ethically). I haven’t stayed at the Peninsula, so can’t comment on it, unfortunately. Sadly there are no good ways to redeem points for stays there.

  15. My understanding is that the St. Regis is the most expense hotel in NYC until the Park Hyatt opens next month.

    Will I beat you there for the first review? I’m there the second week in September.

  16. Lucky, one of the things about the blog design I dislike is that the “related” articles at the bottom of a post clearly have no date filtering on them. And if I were using a device that didn’t have “hover” options, I wouldn’t even know that 2 of these “related” articles are from 2012. I don’t know how hard it would be to fix that, but I don’t think a post from 2012 about a long-gone Starwood points giveaway is actually related content. This basically means I never click on the “related” content because I expect it to be vastly out of date.

  17. So, there was this guy named Oliver staying at the St. Regis New York who had a $1k bespoke suit jacket ruined by the laundry staff… oh wait different… 😉

  18. @ Lisa — I appreciate the feedback, and it’s certainly something I’m looking into. I’m giving the new blog a few weeks to test itself out, and then may make some tweaks. The “related articles” section apparently over time has a “smart feature” whereby it will display more relevant articles based on what people click. Trying to see if that becomes the case. Thanks for the patience.

  19. @ Ginny — I think I tipped $5 for coffee/tea. Didn’t really use any other services.

  20. The St. Regis NYC was night 1 of my honeymoon (before we flew out of JFK the next day), back in 2011. Used an SPG50. We were upgraded to a Fifth Avenue Suite (very similar-looking to yours). I wish I had known just how awesome it would be in advance so that I could have called all my friends in NYC to come over and have a party 🙂

  21. I give it 10/10 and has to be in my top 5 worldwide. It is a wonderful way to spend the weekend in NYC with your wife. Treat yourself and use a Platinum upgrade, you will be glad you did.

  22. One other tip, use the concierge. If he sends you somewhere they will seat you immediately and at the best table. They also treat you like a king (and brought free appetizers at several restaurants), those guys pull a lot of weight!

  23. Lucky,
    fabulous report, as always.
    I always wondered about the mini bars….
    1. Do you ever use them?
    2. Can you still play the old trick and buy a warm bottle of beer from the store drown the road and switch it out with a nice cold one from the bar?
    3. How do they keep track of what you have consumed from the bar? Do the housekeeping staff check to see what you have taken over the previous night? If yes, what do they do if you decline housekeeping?

    Keep the posts coming!
    Joe

  24. @ Joe — Thanks! Don’t usually use the minibar unless it’s late at night and I’m really thirsty. Only other time I’ve used it is at InterContinental hotels when I was a Royal Ambassador member, as complimentary minibar beverages was a benefit. Hotels with minibars usually have an attendant that comes by to refill them every day. Otherwise some have sensors, so if you move anything you’ll automatically be charged.

    Assuming it’s exactly the same beverage/bottling, it may be possible to do that…

  25. @ digital01

    I completely agree with you about the Mark Hopkins.

    A number of years ago I had a project that had me commuting every week from the US east coast to San Francisco. My “home base” was to be the Mark Hopkins for six months to a year. After two weeks/two stays I said “forget it” and just moved into a corporate apartment near Union Square. While it was nice seeing the fog roll onto the top of Nob Hill for a spell, the Mark Hopkins just made me…depressed, for lack of a better word.

    Another example is The Drake in Chicago; great history, great views from many rooms, but simply run down and only touch-and-go service.

    That said, I’ll still go out of my way to stay at some of the older historic hotels, but that’s more on account of I love the historical elements of them (e.g., Carrera Hotel in Santiago) or the views (Carrera again, just as an example).

  26. @ Joe,

    Some hotels have a minibar whereby you’re charged the instant the item is removed (some Westins have this “feature”).

    What I’ll sometimes do is have housekeeping remove the contents of the minibar so I can use the fridge the way I see fit – I do this at the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago, for example. It’s not that I’m cheap, but it’s because I’m not stupid – there’s a Walgreen’s right across the street where I can stock up on soda, milk, snacks, etc.

  27. I love staying here,
    when I come to NY it’s old world and NY at its best, my wife however is not a fan she feels it’s a bit over the top with butler service. So I most often stay when I’m on my own. Wish we had this in Australia, but then it would not be New York.

    Wayne

  28. @ Lucky: ” It does amaze me how many people don’t disclose comped stays/travel, so it’s the least I can do (both legally and ethically)”

    Yes, it amazes me too. I know it’s ethically wrong, but is it actually illegal to do so? I think that reviewers should be required to disclose if they are receiving any financial or other incentives, though I understand that can be hard to monitor, let alone enforce.

    @TravelinWily:
    What I’ll sometimes do is have housekeeping remove the contents of the minibar so I can use the fridge the way I see fit – I do this at the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago, for example. It’s not that I’m cheap, but it’s because I’m not stupid – there’s a Walgreen’s right across the street where I can stock up on soda, milk, snacks, etc.”

    Do they allow you to do that? I’m surprised. My preferred option is where they just have a fridge you can stock up yourself (I’ve stayed at a couple of Intercontinentals and Hiltons where that’s been the case) though that’s not as lucrative for the hotel.

  29. @ Lucky – slightly better bathroom situation than GH NY 😉 BTW, do I recall correctly that a hotel doesn’t know you are doing it as part of Amex Stars program? You pay for stay yourself and then Amex reimburses you or something like that, right?

  30. Cool looking property in a historic building.. agree though, the cash prices (and even points) are too high for me. Plus the breakfast menu.. $42 for the American Breakfast? Wow.

  31. I see your ageist attitudes toward people applies to hotels as well. You millennials are so obsessed with “style”… it just confirms your superficiality. Did you work out longer than your normal two hours in order to compensate for the chocolate consumption?

  32. Love the NYC St Regis! We stayed here for two nights a few weeks before you visited – I thought the room, bed, and the bathroom were all fabulous and the service was very attentive. We were there with my two small children so we had two rooms across the hall from each other – so it was very convenient. The property definitely has a “smaller hotel” feel to it vs some of the larger SPG and Hyatt NYC properties – and the location can’t be beat. My company has negotiated a significantly reduced rate so we were able to stay at a fraction of the normal rack rate… so it was definitely worth it to stay here! We are hoping to head to the St Regis Bahia Beach next.

  33. Endre—You’re a fruit. What difference does it make where he got the money from? It doesn’t make you any better anyways.

  34. Do all St. Regis hotels offer (complimentary tea/coffee, packing/unpacking, free shoe shine)?

    Will remember that when I go stay at St. Regis Osaka.

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