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Full disclosure: This experience was in conjunction with the SPG Amex Stars program I’m participating in, courtesy of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. They covered the cost of roundtrip flights and a two night stay at the St. Regis Aspen.
The Amex Stars Summer Trip
For the past several years I’ve been participating in the SPG Amex Stars program, which has taken me to some pretty awesome places. I love the SPG Amex, and it’s one of the cards I’ve had in my wallet for the longest amount of time. It was one of the very first cards I applied for when I was 18, and I’ve had it ever since.
For the SPG Amex Summer Trip I was given the opportunity to spend two nights at any US Starwood property.
Through the SPG Amex Stars program I’ve stayed at many great SPG properties in the US, like the St. Regis Deer Valley, St. Regis New York, St. Regis Bal Harbour, St. Regis Monarch Beach, St. Regis San Francisco, Royal Palm South Beach, etc.
I wanted to visit a hotel I hadn’t stayed at before, and one that is a great use of Starpoints. So I decided on the St. Regis Aspen for a few reasons:
- I’ve never been to Aspen before, though have heard great things
- The St. Regis Aspen was renovated a couple of years back, and is generally regarded as one of the best SPG properties in the US
- The rates at the St. Regis Aspen can be insane (as I’ll show below), so this property can represent an incredible use of Starpoints
Why I love Starpoints & the SPG Amex
My philosophy when it comes to points has long been to earn and burn. However, Starpoints are an exception, as it’s one of the points currencies I actively hoard. That’s because the points are so valuable and versatile, and I always try to redeem points that I think are ripe for devaluation first.
At a minimum, Starpoints can can be converted into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. I value my favorite mileage currencies at ~1.8 cents each, so factoring in the 25% transfer bonus I need to get at least ~2.3 cents per Starpoint to feel good about my hotel redemptions. Fortunately there are still lots of situations where redeeming points for hotel stays represents a great value.
The SPG Amex comes with a suite of useful benefits, including:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Complimentary unlimited Boingo wifi
- Complimentary in-room premium internet access at Starwood properties
- Sheraton club lounge access (for those with the SPG Business Amex)
Redeeming Starpoints at the St. Regis Aspen
The St. Regis Aspen is a Category 7 property, meaning a free night redemption costs 30,000-35,000 Starpoints. That’s a lot, given how valuable the points are.
That being said, when you look at the paid rates at this hotel in season, it’s actually a bargain in comparison.
Paid rates at this hotel can be $3,000+ per night including tax. That’s insane.
Meanwhile the hotel costs 30,000 Starpoints per night, though with Starwood you get the fifth night free when redeeming points. That means for a five night stay, the average cost is just 24,000 Starpoints per night.
That’s an incredible value compared to the paid cost of such a stay, which would be $15,000+.
So while I am conservative with my Starpoints, there are some cases where high end redemptions make sense, and this is clearly one of them, assuming you’re into skiing and/or Aspen. For example, I was thrilled to redeem 140,000 Starpoints for a stay at the St. Regis Bal Harbour a couple of years ago with my parents.
And that’s what makes Starpoints great. They’re useful for airline mileage transfers, for stays at mid-range hotels, and in many cases for stays at their high-end properties as well. Redeeming points for a hotel that would cost $3,000+ per night is quite a value.
With that in mind, let’s get into the review.
St. Regis Aspen Review
Our flight landed in Aspen at around 11AM. There was someone with a sign from the St. Regis waiting in the arrivals hall. The St. Regis offers a complimentary airport shuttle, which is a pretty nice feature for a non-airport hotel. In theory it’s a shared shuttle, though we were the only people in the shuttle in both directions.
The drive to the St. Regis took about 15 minutes. The St. Regis is located right in the heart of Aspen, so the location is unbeatable. While the hotel offers a complimentary house car, I can’t imagine needing it given that so many things are within walking distance.
The lobby of the hotel had warm tones. There was plenty of seating, as well as a fireplace just past the chandelier.
The reception area was located inside the lobby and to the right.
The associate who assisted us was friendly. Since we were early our room wasn’t yet ready, though she took down my number, and promised to call when it was ready.
We headed into town for lunch, and sure enough at 2PM our room was ready. It’s worth noting that the hotel was sold out the weekend we were there, as there’s a big tech conference that goes on in Aspen that weekend every year (which I wasn’t aware of prior to our stay). When we booked there weren’t even any premium rooms for sale anymore, but rather just standard rooms. So there was no room upgrade in this instance.
The hallway past the reception desk leads to the elevators that take you to the guest rooms.
There’s another very nice lounging area right near the elevators.
We took the elevator up to the third floor, where our room was located.
The St. Regis was recently renovated, and that’s pretty evident based on the hotel hallways.
Our room, #334, was down the hallway and on the right.
At around 400 square feet, the room was a good size for a standard room. There was an entryway with the bathroom on the right and then the safe and closet on the left.
The room struck a good balance of feeling like a ski resort while still being bright and modern.
While the room was a decent size to begin with, there were doors between the bedroom and bathroom that could be opened. That’s my preferred setup, since you can have full privacy if you want to, but also have the more open feel of a combined space.
While I don’t believe St. Regis has a brand standard bed, it was still extremely comfortable.
In the corner of the room were two comfortable seats, each of which had a pillow as well as a headrest of sorts.
The room looked out over the rest of the resort, and a mountain in the background. Aspen sure has some beautiful scenery.
Across from the bed and sitting area were the TV and desk.
The desk featured a rustic-looking leather chair with armrests, along with a lamp.
The desk had a cool decorative suitcase of sorts, which I thought was pretty cute.
Under the TV was the in-room illy espresso machine.
The bathroom was a good size, and featured double sinks, a soaking tub, a partitioned off toilet, and a walk-in shower.
The tub was right next to the folding doors that separated the bedroom from the bathroom.
The shower had great water pressure and temperature control, and there was both a rainforest shower head, as well as a handheld one.
As is the norm at St. Regis, toiletries were Remede branded. They’re some of the more unique toiletries out there, and I quite like them. The shampoo tingles a bit, while I like that the body wash has beads.
The bathroom also had some extra amenities, like mouthwash, cotton swabs, etc.
Across from the bathroom was the minibar, along with a couple of bottles of complimentary water.
Next to that was the safe.
About an hour after arriving in the room we were brought a welcome amenity consisting of some tasty treats.
I thought the room was well furnished and beautiful, though I’d expect that for a luxury hotel that was recently renovated.
One of the key selling points of the St. Regis is that it’s right in town, so you can walk from the hotel to just about anywhere in town in just a few minutes. However, the grounds of the hotel are beautiful as well.
There’s a very nice courtyard on the back side of the lobby, which weather permitting is an extension of the bar (though it was raining in Aspen for most of the time we were there).
The hotel also has a pool as well as a couple of hot tubs. I was surprised by how many people were using them, as it wasn’t especially warm. I’m guessing a lot of visitors were from places like New York, where they don’t have access to a pool everyday.
As Platinum members we also had access to the incredible spa facilities, located on the lower lobby level. This is the same level where much of the conference space is located.
The spa had a whirlpool, as well as a cold plunge pool.
The coolest part, however, had to be the massive whirlpool with waterfalls. All of the below ledges had huge waterfalls you could turn on. It felt great.
As a Platinum member I selected breakfast as our amenity. Breakfast was served in Trecento Quindici Decano Restaurant, located off the lobby. The restaurant is a very nice setting, with white tablecloths.
There’s a breakfast buffet with made to order eggs for $35 per person, or otherwise you can order off the menu.
The breakfast menu read as follows:
The buffet was high quality, though wasn’t huge.
There were several types of cereal, yogurt, and muesli.
There were cold cuts and a cheese board.
There were several types of yogurt parfaits, smoothies, etc.
In terms of hot options, there were scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, breakfast potatoes, and chicken & waffles.
Then there were several types of fresh fruit.
Lastly there were muffins, croissants, and pastries.
One morning Ford ordered an omelet, which was served with hash browns.
Meanwhile I ordered the smoked salmon bagel.
The hotel also offers complimentary coffee & tea in the lobby every morning, which is always a nice touch that I wish more hotels would offer.
One evening we had drinks at the bar at the St. Regis.
In addition to the traditional bar, there’s seating near a fireplace, which is much cozier.
St. Regis is best known for their bloody marys, as the drink was invented at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis New York. Every St. Regis has its own signature bloody mary, and I’ve long made a point of trying the bloody mary at each property I visit. It’s funny because I’m not otherwise a bloody mary person, but I make an exception at St. Regis.
The St. Regis Aspen bloody mary was delicious, though very spicy.
St. Regis Aspen bottom line
We had a great time during our time in Aspen. The St. Regis is beautiful, and also has a great location. This was my first time visitng Aspen, and I understand why people flock here. Not only does Aspen have great skiing, but it also has a beautiful, walkable town with plenty of great shopping and restaurants. It’s great that the St. Regis is so conveniently located for that.
Aspen is outrageously expensive. It’s a function of supply and demand, as there aren’t many great US ski destinations, so Aspen is very popular with people willing to pay an arm and a leg to ski in the US. Could I ever imagine paying $1,000 per night (or $2,500+) to stay here? No way. But that’s the beauty of points.
Paying 30,000 Starpoints per night is by comparison an incredible deal, especially if you’re staying during peak season. With the SPG fifth night free, you could stay for five nights for an average of 24,000 Starpoints per night. That’s a heck of a deal when a stay would cost $3,000+ per night.
Personally my preference continues to be to use Starpoints for airline mileage transfers, as well as for some mid-range properties internationally. For example, next week I’m using 12,000 Starpoints per night for the St. Regis Moscow, when a paid rate would be $350+. While it’s not as impressive of a redemption in terms of the value I’m getting on a cent per point basis on paper, it’s a redemption I’m very happy with.
The SPG Amex has long been, and continues to be, one of the best cards out there for everyday spend.