Review: W Hotel St. Petersburg

Introduction: An Arctic Summer
Review: SAS Business Class A330 Los Angeles To Stockholm
Review: SAS Lounge Stockholm Airport
Review: Hotel Continental Oslo
Review: Radisson Blu Longyearbyen Hotel
Review: SAS Lounge Oslo Airport
Review: SAS Lounge Copenhagen Airport
Review: W Hotel St. Petersburg
Review: St. Regis Moscow
Review: Business Lounge Moscow Domodedovo Airport
Review: Singapore Airlines First Class 777 Moscow To Houston


We were spending a total of four nights in St. Petersburg, so as a Hyatt and Starwood loyalist my first choice was clear — the W Hotel St. Petersburg. It’s the only Starwood property in St. Petersburg, and it looked very nice.

The rate at the W was ~$250 per night, though I was able to use the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit to lower the cost of that stay even further. In the end we were paying ~$190 per night, which I thought was pretty reasonable for a stay in peak season in such a seasonal destination.

As a point of comparison, this is a Category 5 Starwood property, and a free night redemption would have cost 16,000 Starpoints. I value those points at 2.2 cents each, so in this instance the better value was definitely paying rather than redeeming points.

The taxi ride from the airport to the hotel took about 30 minutes, and was fairly civilized.

The W is beautifully integrated into the neighborhood it’s in, and really doesn’t stand out. It almost looks like a condo building, or something. The W is also right across from the Four Seasons.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg exterior

The W St. Petersburg is one of the smaller W properties out there, as it has a total of just 147 rooms and suites, and the smaller size is reflected in the public spaces.

Upon entering there’s a long couch on the right side, just past the hotel’s restaurant and across from the hotel’s lobby bar (both of which I’ll talk more about later).

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W Hotel St. Petersburg lobby

Then past that was the reception area, which consisted of three individual desks. The associate who checked us in was extremely friendly, and once she finished processing our check-in, the W Insider came by to say hello as well and give us some tips for exploring the city. It was clear she was passionate about St. Petersburg — it’s always great when someone is passionate about their city and wants to share it with others.

I have nothing but great things to say about the front office staff at this hotel, as they were consistently exceptional. The concierge, Ekaterina, was especially awesome and proactive in helping us out.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg reception

Once we were checked in we took the elevator (located right across from reception) to the sixth floor, where our room was located.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg elevators

Upon exiting the elevator there was yet another big red couch.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg seating by elevators

From there we turned left down the sleek hallway.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg hallway

Our room, 601, was located at the far end of the hallway on the left. I loved how the doors were sort of built into the walls, and that you had to scan the key near the room number to enter.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg room entrance

In this instance we were assigned a Wonderful Room, which is the basic room at the hotel. We didn’t get any upgrade as far as I know, though I think the hotel was pretty full.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg floorplan

The room featured a long entryway with glossy walls and a mirror on the right side, and the bathroom on the left side.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg Wonderful Room entrance

The room was a great size for a standard room, and featured a king size bed, a daybed, and a desk with a chair.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg Wonderful Room

The bed was extremely comfortable, as is the norm at W properties.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg Wonderful Room

Across from the bed was a purple chair and a TV mounted on a pole.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg Wonderful Room TV & chair

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W Hotel St. Petersburg Wonderful Room chair

The desk was shaped like an airplane wing, and featured a rolling chair.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg Wonderful Room desk

The hotel had some treats waiting for us, including sparkling water, mixed nuts, and cookies (my Starwood Ambassador knows me too well!).

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W Hotel St. Petersburg Platinum welcome gift

The room featured a view of the interior courtyard of the hotel. That was sort of a positive, actually, since it meant it was totally quiet all hours of the day. While the W has a great location, there wouldn’t really be views from the street either, aside from looking out at the Four Seasons across the street.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg Wonderful Room view

Next to the bed and closer to the bathroom was the minibar, Nespresso coffee machine, and kettle.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg Wonderful Room Nespresso machine

The minibar even had a Russian doll for sale, which I thought was cute.

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W St. Petersburg minibar

The minibar was well stocked, including the typical W condoms, which were branded as “masculan.” Hmmm…

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W St. Petersburg minibar

The fridge minibar was well stocked.

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W St. Petersburg minibar

The bathroom was well designed, with a sink, toilet, and walk-in shower.

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W St. Petersburg Wonderful Room bathroom

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W St. Petersburg Wonderful Room bathroom

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W St. Petersburg Wonderful Room toilet

The water pressure in the shower was excellent.

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W St. Petersburg Wonderful Room shower

As is the norm at W properties, they had Bliss toiletries, which I quite like.

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W St. Petersburg toiletries

Overall I thought the room was great, and the wifi was high speed, which is important to me.

Breakfast was served in the lobby restaurant from 7AM until 11AM daily. The restaurant’s name was Restaurant COCOCO, which was a memorable name.

Physically the restaurant was beautiful and stylish.

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W St. Petersburg Restaurant COCOCO

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W St. Petersburg Restaurant COCOCO

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W St. Petersburg Restaurant COCOCO

The buffet was located in the far corner of the restaurant, and consisted of five tables with various items.

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W St. Petersburg breakfast buffet

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W St. Petersburg breakfast buffet

One table had fresh fruit and juices.

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W St. Petersburg breakfast buffet

One table had all kinds of yogurt and smoothies.

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W St. Petersburg breakfast buffet

Another table had cold cuts, cheese, and veggies.

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W St. Petersburg breakfast buffet

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W St. Petersburg breakfast buffet

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W St. Petersburg breakfast buffet

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W St. Petersburg breakfast buffet

Then there was a table with all kinds of pastries.

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W St. Petersburg breakfast buffet

And then there was a table with cereal.

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W St. Petersburg breakfast buffet

In addition to that, you could order something off the menu to complement the buffet.

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I had the french toast one morning, which was extremely sweet, though still tasty.

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W St. Petersburg french toast

Ford had an omelet one morning. Oddly if you order an omelet with things like onions, they’re served next to the omelet, rather than inside of it. Hmmm…

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W St. Petersburg omelet

While the spread itself was good, the service in the restaurant was comically bad. Comically bad.

The first morning we showed up and were brought to a table. 30 seconds after sitting down people showed up and told us it was their table, and they had just gone to the buffet to get food. Oops.

We were reseated, and then went to the buffet ourselves. When we got back, there were other people seated at our table this time. Oops.

We ordered coffee, and it took over 20 minutes for it to arrive.

We ordered something from the menu, and they brought the check and forgot about it, though once we reminded them they quickly brought it out.

The experience wasn’t quite as bad on subsequent days, but still wasn’t good. The restaurant staff seriously need to be retrained.

We also had a snack in the lobby bar one afternoon, which is a beautiful space physically with some great people watching, as I talked about in a previous post.

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W St. Petersburg lobby bar

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W St. Petersburg lobby bar

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W St. Petersburg lobby bar

The food itself was pretty good…

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W St. Petersburg lobby bar snack

…and the cappuccino was excellent.

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W St. Petersburg lobby bar cappuccino

However, once again, the service was lacking. We literally had to go up to the bar to get service.

For anyone who says “well that’s just Russia,” I’d note that we went to the Four Seasons one night for drinks, and the service there was exceptional. And before anyone says “well, W isn’t Four Seasons,” they were priced roughly comparably and both are global brands, so I don’t think my expectations are too ridiculous.

On the basement level the hotel has a fairly small gym, which had good equipment.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg gym

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W Hotel St. Petersburg gym

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W Hotel St. Petersburg gym

There was also a pool, which is impressive for a small city hotel in St. Petersburg. At the same time the pool was pretty small, so I can’t imagine actually swimming in it.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg pool

The hot tub looked much more inviting.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg whirlpool

There was also a sauna, steam room, and relaxation room.

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W Hotel St. Petersburg Bliss Spa seating

As mentioned above, while the service in the restaurant and lounge was lacking, the front office staff were exceptional.

I’d also note that housekeeping was very good. It’s not often I call out housekeeping specifically, but they were really on top of things. For example, Ford got some sort of food poisoning or something the second day (he puked all night and was in bed the entire following day), and I guess the housekeeper may have noticed that, as she left an entire case of bottled water for him, which was a very nice touch.

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Great housekeeping at W St. Petersburg

I also love that when I left an empty bottle of water somewhere, she placed another bottle exactly where it previously was, in addition to the normal allotment.

W St. Petersburg bottom line

Overall I was extremely pleased with the W St. Petersburg. Our room was gorgeous, the hotel’s location can’t be beat, and the front office staff and housekeeping at the hotel were excellent. There’s definitely some room for improvement, though, at the hotel’s restaurant and bar. Overall as an SPG loyalist I’d highly recommend the W St. Petersburg.

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Comments

  1. I was there a few weeks ago and had bother dinner and breakfast at the restaurant also. We had pretty decent service for both. Maybe we got lucky with the server.

    I do have a question for you: When I stayed there was a problem with the AC pump making loud noise at 4AM. After an hour and 3 trips down to the front desk they ultimately can’t fix it and the only option was to move us to a different room. My mom is quite old and moving at 5am would be a huge hassle for her so we ultimately declined. Everything else at the hotel was great. I mentioned this at checkout and while they were genuinely apologetic, they offered me 3,000 starpoints as compensation. I’m no expert but to me it seemed quite low.

    Do you think that is adequate compensation for not being able to sleep at 4am? If not, how do you think I should escalate this? Thanks

  2. Lucky, when we stayed on Cash & Points in 2011, the hotel added a charge to our bill (about $30/person) for something like “registration”. Since the charge wasn’t disclosed in advance, the hotel reluctantly removed it. Did you encounter anything similar?

    Also, was the buffet offered as a complimentary Platinum breakfast option?

  3. We stayed there last year … and the service was horrible then, too; similar to what Lucky describes.

    I can’t remember if breakfast was a Platinum amenity or not.

  4. Ah Nic Nacs in the minibar. Trust they have an eye on providing for German customers.

    I miss Nic Nacs. Yummy!

  5. Did you not go to the rooftop bar? Thought it was the best bit, especially during the white nights. Had an amazing weekend there a couple of years back.

  6. I can’t imagine staying at a W rather than a Four Seasons literally across the street if they were priced “roughly comparably.” Earning Starwood points and getting loyalty benefits doesn’t come close to nearing the gap between the two.

  7. Stayed there last year and had a great stay and like you a poor experience all around with the first floor restaurant. You didn’t mention the rooftop bar. We loved the views up there and had our best meal in one of the cabanas- a great steak for two.

  8. Ben, did they not offer you a room upgrade for having top tier status? And if they don’t proactively offer you an upgrade, do you usually not ask for one?

  9. “In this instance we were assigned a Wonderful Room, which is the basic room at the hotel. We didn’t get any upgrade as far as I know, though I think the hotel was pretty full.”

  10. I stayed at the Fours Seasons next door last month, and by looking at your pictures of the W, the two are not even comparable. Decor, rooms, everything. The breakfast spread at FS is unbelievable, and so is the setting, They have 3 phenomenal restaurants and, as you noticed, service is impeccable. But I don’t think that the rates are so close. In June I paid 32k RUB per night, about $500 including breakfast. Worth it, anyway.

  11. Is it just me or does the W brand try too hard?? It’s almost like they looked up ‘millennial’ in the dictionary and are throwing darts at a board trying to hit it.

    Can’t fathom staying here over the Four Seasons, especially considering the rates are comparable.

  12. @ alex, yeah, W is in no way on the same level as FS, I have stayed in many FS Properties, and they have been one of, if not the most consistent hotel chain I’ve every stayed in.

  13. I notice none of the food has any sort of temperature control and is just sat on tables. Maybe this is what caused Ford to be ill. Food sat at Room temperature for potentially a number of hours isn’t very good and indeed is a food safety risk.

  14. Location is great but can not beat location of Kempinski. And service in Kempinski is amaizing, from breakfast, front desk, housekeeping… everything.

  15. Yeah, W is not comparable to Four Seasons at the same price. A bit surprised at the high recommendation given the service failures and food poisoning. But good post as always and many thanks for the photos.

  16. I enjoyed the people watching link. Russia has the best thugs. For awhile post CCCP, they were a big global threat now the terrorists have taken over. #Munchen 🙁

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