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I needed a room for my second night in New York after redeeming a free night certificate at The Plaza Hotel the night before. Hotel rates in New York are high, bordering on obscene, and I knew rooms would be very expensive given the short notice and the time of year. Manhattan has no shortage of luxury hotels and choosing one was going to be difficult.
I initially searched American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts, however, as expected, rates were well beyond my comfort zone with both The Peninsula and The St Regis asking more than $1700 for their most basic room.
I usually stay at more budget friendly options when in New York, but I wanted this trip to be luxury from start to finish. It was obvious that a points redemption would be the only option. I was sitting on a large balance of SPG points after cancelling our reservation at The St Regis in Istanbul this past summer and decided this would be the best option for this trip. Manhattan has two luxury SPG properties to choose from: The St Regis New York City and The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection Hotel. Both hotels are category 7 properties, meaning a free night redemption will run 30,000-35,000 points per night.
The Chatwal isn’t in my favorite location, so I decided on the St Regis. I felt nauseated redeeming 35,000 points for a one-night stay, but decided it was still good value considering the best available rate through the hotel.
I called SPG to book as I wanted to inquire about booking a higher room category. I was able to reserve a Grande Luxe room for only 2,750 more SPG points per night, good value considering the room was larger and included enhanced butler service. Shortly after booking I emailed the hotel and requested a room on a higher floor with a street view if possible. New York hotels, even luxury properties, often suffer with lackluster views. Due to the old architecture of most New York buildings, many rooms face courtyards or neighbouring buildings. I usually have good luck with receiving enhanced rooms within the same category if I contact the hotel prior to arrival.
Early check-in is not a benefit of Gold status with SPG so I decided to take advantage of confirmed late check-out at the Plaza using my Fairmont Presidents Club Platinum status. The St Regis was only a short 5 minute walk up 5th Ave, which was bustling at 3:30pm when I transferred properties. Built in 1904 by John Jacob Astor, The St Regis recently underwent a 90 million dollar renovation. The hotels exterior is grand on the corner of 55th and 5th, and looks especially charming when lit up at night.
The entrance is just off 5th avenue on 55th street. Doormen were always outside, eager to help with bags or help with the heavy revolving door.
The revolving doors are quite heavy, but bellman are always just inside and usually start the door spinning when some approaches. It only took a couple of times entering before the bellmen started greeting me by name.
The lobby is stunning. Whoever was responsible for the recent renovation did a spectacular job at preserving history while making everything feel new.
There was no shortage of marble in the comfortable lobby. It should be noted that seating area is limited, so early arrivals may be somewhat uncomfortable if waiting for their room to be ready. No detail in the lobby is overlooked, from the postal box to the beautiful ceiling.
Just past the reception desk to the left was the concierge desk, with a framed portrait of the founder, John Jacob Astor.
The lobby was furnished with tasteful furniture and fresh flowers.
Upon check-in, I was thanked for being a loyal SPG gold member and asked if I needed any assistance with my bags. The front desk agent was polite and efficient despite the lobby being busy with some seemingly important people. There was a Japanese man being escorted to the elevator by 5 or 6 employees while I was being checked in, which seemed overkill to me. The hotel was fully booked the following day but the agent was still able to offer late check-out, knowing my flight wasn’t until the following evening. I was grateful for the option but planned to check-out early afternoon to explore Central Park. The agent typed a few things on his computer and gleefully informed me I had been upgraded, so long as I could check-out before 2pm. Fine by me!
I was escorted to the elevator by a different employee who gave me a brief history of the hotel and asked if I had any plans for my short stay. He was perfectly polite, but I do prefer finding the room on my own. The elevators were located just across from the check-in counter – I probably could have found my way…
We got off the elevator on the 12th floor and walked all the way to the end. The front desk agent didn’t actually tell me what room I had been upgraded to, but based on the location I knew it would be facing 5th avenue. The hallways were gorgeous and spotlessly clean.
As I went to open the door, it suddenly opened from the inside and I was greeted by my personal butler. He gave me a tour of the room, which I appreciated, considering the size. It was enormous by any standard, but absolutely unreal for New York. The butler later explained to me the Fifth Avenue Suite was one of the Specialty one-bedroom suites. Quite an upgrade! Butler service included welcome coffee or tea, complimentary pressing of two items and were available 24 hours for ‘anything I could imagine’. I was literally in awe by the size and beauty of this suite. No detail was overlooked. The front foyer was probably larger than most budget friendly rooms in the city.
The suite had 1 separate bedroom with bathroom and walk-in closet, a large living room and butler bar plus a second full bathroom off the living room. The bedroom faced the courtyard, which was great for a quiet sleep, while the living room faced the bustling 5th avenue.
Taking a left off the foyer, I found a second, smaller hallway. On the left was a huge walk-in closet with tones of storage space and a large safe.
Straight ahead was the master bathroom, which featured a large Kohler spa bathtub, large vanity with double sinks, separate closet with toilet, and large marble shower. The bathroom was finished with light and dark marble, with heated floors. The combination was elegant and timeless.
The mirror featured a small built in television, and fresh flowers were replaced daily.
To the right of the vanity was a separate room with toilet.
Beside the water closet was a large shower with rainforest head. The shower also featured a large bench and separate wand for rinsing.
Amenities were by Remede, and featured the usual body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion as well as facial bar and cleanser.
Also included was a terrycloth pouch filled with lavender bath salts by Elizabeth W of San Francisco. I always appreciate when hotels provide bath salts, and thought the terrycloth pouch was a nice touch. I told the butler how much I liked them and during turndown the staff left a few for me to take home. Unfortunately, the TSA confiscated them from my cabin bag, claiming they could ‘react’ while in flight.
The master bedroom was separated by a short hallway between the bathroom and closet. The hallway had beautiful lighting and marble flooring. Even the air vents had remarkable detail.
The bedroom was stunning, with red and white contrast. The red inserts featured a luxurious fabric that presented as tasteful and elegant. The large windows featured blackout shades and matching curtains that could be controlled, along with heating and lighting, from the entryway or bedside.
Lights, heating, and curtains could all be controlled electronically by a small touchscreen on the bedside table.
The entire suite was fitted with Bose surround sound, in addition to a Bose sound bar for the living room television and a bedside alarm clock and phone dock.
The lighting in the room was plentiful, with a beautiful chandelier as the centerpiece.
The rest of the suite was split into three areas: The butler bar, a second bathroom and the living room. The butler bar was at the end of the main foyer just before the bathroom and featured a large countertop with sink, lots of cupboard space and a bar fridge. The cupboards also housed a large selection of minibar items.
Adjacent to the butler bar was a large second bathroom. I like that the suite provided a second bathroom separate from the master bedroom. I can imagine entertaining in a room this size and it’s a nice touch to have bathroom facilities completely separate for guests.
The bathroom was fully equipped with a large walk-in rainforest shower, with windows overlooking Fifth Avenue. The bathroom also featured a separate water closet with toilet and bidet. The room felt very large with all the natural light and beautiful mirrored wall.
To the right of the butler bar and bathroom was the main living room. Pictures barely do this space justice, as every detail seemed to be considered. The room featured two large windows allowing for a lot of natural light. One window faced Fifth Avenue, with sweeping views down to the Empire State Building. The other window featured a small dining table with fresh fruit.
Similar to the bedroom, lighting, heat and window coverings could be controlled by either a panel at the entryway or a small touchscreen display on the desk. All the furniture was top quality, as expected at a St Regis, and placed exceptionally well. The room featured a 60” smart television in the corner with a Bose sound bar.
The work space was comfortable and featured a high quality desk and chair. The drawer contained any necessary stationary and hotel directory.
To the left of the desk was a small service table featuring glassware, bottled water, ice, and a selection of New York magazines. Also in the living space was a matching coffee table with a selection of St Regis chocolate and some tasteful coffee table books.
Directly across the entrance to the living room was a small dining table with chairs. This overlooked a small Juliette balcony and featured a small fruit plate and lovely orchid.
The view from the living room was stunning. Unfortunately, most New York City hotel rooms feature lackluster views (save for Central Park Views). It was a nice surprise to have a unique view of Fifth Avenue, all the way down to The Empire State Building.
The living area was comfortable with plenty of seating and featured a large sofa and chair. The furniture was high quality and very comfortable.
I wasn’t at the property long enough to take advantage of many of the amenities, but do know that the hotel features a small athletic club located on the 19th floor with new equipment.
The hotel also offers a complimentary car service, using their in-house Bentley for trips within a 10-block radius.
Dining options are limited, with only two choices. The Astor court for afternoon tea for upscale dining and the famous King Cole Bar, where the Red Snapper (Bloody Mary) was first created, with a large selection of cocktails and dining menu.
The hotel also offered an extensive in-room dining option, although prices were obscene (as can be expected at any St Regis property). Breakfast was in the $60 USD range and a hamburger was well over $30 USD. Also keep in mind that those prices exclude mandatory service fee, gratuity and taxes (an additional 25%). With all of the good, inexpensive options near the property, I decided against eating at the hotel.
The St Regis New York City was certainly an experience. Although redeeming 30,000-35,000 SPG points for a one night stay in hard to swallow, I really feel this should be on any traveler’s aspirational hotel lists for a couple of reasons.
This is the original St Regis property built by John Jacob Astor in 1904. Everything about the property is historical and luxurious. Despite having undergone a 90-million dollar renovation in recent years, the hotel still feels like it’s from a different era, with all the modern conveniences one would expect in a 5-star hotel.
Secondly, this property actually represents decent value in redeeming SPG points, given that luxury hotels in Midtown Manhattan can easily sell for upwards of a thousand dollars per night. In my case I redeemed 37,750 points for a room that retails for $6,200 CAD per night, which equals roughly 16 cents per point, which is exceptional.
Last but not least, the service. Everyone I interacted with was phenomenal, from the front door man to my personal butler. The St Regis puts a lot of value in their staff, and this property is no exception. I was greeted by name from the moment I checked in and felt like my needs were being anticipated. Furthermore, This St Regis seems to be fully committed to the SPG program, meaning as someone with status, you can expect to be treated very well when in regards to SPG benefits like room upgrades and late checkout. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to book another room at The St Regis New York City, although next time I hope to spend more than one night to fully enjoy all the property has to offer.
- Centrally located midtown at 55th and 5th
- Stunning rooms, all recently renovated
- Exceptional staff and SPG recognition
- Expensive, both in points and paid rates
- Limited, pricey dining options
- Limited amenities – no pool or in-house spa