Hotel Review: The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya
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To The Point
This hotel makes a great base for exploring the city and is close to Red Square. The Pros: Central location, 10K SPG points per night, delicious breakfast. The Cons: Jacuzzi needs a refresh and the AC in the room could have been a bit stronger.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Back in February, my husband and I took advantage of a transfer bonus, each exchanging 24,000 Citi Thank You points for 36,620 Etihad Guest miles each and booking round-trip lie-flat business-class tickets from New York (JFK) to Brussels (BRU) for a summertime trip to Europe. He’s from France, so we wanted to spend a couple of days there visiting family first, but also used it as a chance to visit a new place. After playing around with all the options, we eventually decided on Russia, with our first stop being in Moscow.
After finding a flight from Berlin (TXL) to Moscow (SVO) on MIAT Mongolian Airlines, we started looking at hotels. Moscow has many upscale properties, including the Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis, all centrally located and within walking distance of the Kremlin and Red Square, where we expected to spend most of our time. Since we were going to spend four days in Moscow, we decided to try out The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya for two nights, head to St. Petersburg for two nights via overnight train and stay at the Park Hyatt in Moscow for our last two nights. The fact that we could stay at The St. Regis for 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points per night solidified our decision, and with our platinum benefits, we hoped to have our request for an 11:00pm checkout honored, as our train to St. Petersburg would be departing at 11:45pm on our final day there. Spoiler alert: They were fine with it.
At the time of booking, Superior rooms at The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya — which are about 323 to 495 square feet and were the lowest available rate — were going for $343 (non-refundable rate, including taxes), 10,000 SPG points or 5,000 SPG points plus $75 per night. Since it was almost a value of 3.5 cents per point, which is slightly higher than the 2.7 cents per point TPG values them, I was more than happy to use 10,000 Starpoints per night to book our stay. I have the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express and since I put a lot of my non-bonus-earning spend on this card, I have been swimming in Starpoints lately. If I’d paid $75 and 5,000 points per night, my value would have increased substantially, to about 5.3 cents per point. I declined to use any certificates to upgrade to a suite, as the Superior room was more than adequate for our two nights in Moscow.
Check-In and Lobby
Built in the 1870s as a private home, The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya opened in April 2015 with 210 rooms as the first St. Regis hotel in Russia — previously, the property had been a Kimpton hotel. It’s located on Nikolskaya Street — which connects Lubyanka Square and Red Square — and is within walking distance of the Kremlin, Bolshoi Theater and Glávnyj Universáĺnyj Magazín (or GUM) luxury mall.
Before we left home, we’d arranged for a taxi to pick us up outside customs through Kiwitaxi.com, paying $34 for the 45-minute ride from the airport to the hotel. Even though we were about an hour late thanks to a crazily disorganized immigration line, the driver was thankfully still there waiting for us when we finally exited with our luggage.
We arrived at The St. Regis around 8:00pm and moved quickly through the security station set up at the entrance.
There was no line at check-in so we watched a live band play music for a few minutes before approaching the desks.
It was hard to miss the grand ceiling above us.
We were warmly greeted by the staff as SPG Platinum guests and were thrilled to hear our four favorite words at check-in: You have been upgraded. We were now going to be staying in a Deluxe room, which was slightly larger at 377 to 603 square feet and up on the seventh floor. Note that this type of room costs approximately $50 more per night and is not available to book with points. We also selected complimentary daily breakfast as our Platinum benefit.
In typical St. Regis style, we were introduced to our butler, who was available for any request 24 hours a day, escorted us to our room, showed us around and offered to unpack our bags once we got to the room (we declined).
St. Regis rooms are grand and overstated, and I like that. Upon exiting the elevator and walking down a beautifully decorated maze of a hallway, I knew for sure that this hotel would also live up to my expectations. Gold-covered walls and chandeliers greeted us when we exited the elevator on the seventh floor.
We walked down a long hallway with windows that overlooked the courtyard.
A couple more turns and we arrived at our room.
The Deluxe room was just as grand as we hoped it would be and brought a smile to our faces.
The king-size bed was just what we needed.
The gold-colored decorations — and chandeliers — made nice accents throughout the space.
There was a small seating area with two chairs off to the side by the windows, as well as a desk for anyone hoping to get some work done.
On that note, internet access was included with our stay and was really fast, outpacing most hotels and private homes in the US.
Our butler showed us the electronic controls for all lighting, service requests and HVAC. As someone who loves a cold room at night, I was happy that I could lower the temperature to 62.5° F. I also loved that they kept a card inserted for us at all times. I know it’s not environmentally sound, but I hate it when hotels make you turn off all the lights and the air conditioning whenever you leave the room.
Here’s a peek at our courtyard view, which I actually prefer to have when staying at a property along a busy main street. The quiet was greatly appreciated.
There was ample storage space, a safe and a hair dryer in the closet.
The mini-bar was well-stocked, but I rarely use these and usually opt to buy food from a local market instead.
Additional in-room amenities included wine and wine glasses…
as well as a drawer full of snacks, including Jelly Belly jelly beans and Pringles, among other treats.
One item noticeably missing was a coffee maker, but the butler brought free coffee or tea up to the room in under five minutes — I timed it.
The bathroom had a separate shower and tub, something I find becoming more and more obsolete in non-suite rooms as I travel. After a full day of exploring the city, there’s nothing like a hot bath.
The shower was large enough to pass TPG’s shower test and had amazing water pressure.
I usually prefer two sinks — there was only one — but the Laboratoire Remède products alleviated that complaint. Noticeably missing? Bath salts.
Food and Beverage
Our breakfast — free thanks to our SPG Platinum benefits — saved us 2,500 rubles per day, or about $43 plus an 18% VAT tax. It was amazing and I have never eaten so much caviar in my life.
The staff was so wonderful that — even though it was a self-serve buffet, they kept making us plates featuring their favorite items, like these little sandwiches filled with cucumber, caviar and cheese.
Another breakfast creation came with salmon — smoked and regular — caviar and blintz-style wraps with sour cream.
Here’s a look at some of the self-serve items that made up the buffet, including various meats, cheeses and caviar.
Salmon, veggies and other accompaniments were available as well.
Fruit and yogurt were there for the taking…
As were a variety of fresh juices, with flat and sparkling water.
There was even a little station set up with breads, croissants and other pastries…
…and one featuring dried fruits and nuts.
Several hot items were also available, like crepes and little pancakes.
Mushrooms and tomatoes were among the other hot items to choose from.
In addition to the buffet, eggs were cooked to order. On the second day, I splurged and requested eggs Benedict with salmon, which was served with a side of caviar. It was so worth it.
The Iridium Spa was located on the first and second sub-levels of the hotel and guests had complimentary access to its pool, sauna, steam room and small gym.
Other offerings, like massage treatments, hair stylist services and manicures were available for an additional fee.
There was some confusion about the pool hours, though. One employee told us it was open 24 hours a day, while another said it was only open until 2:00am.
At check-in, we were offered 20% off a spa service during the first day, but since we arrived late, we didn’t take them up on the offer. The next day, however, I had backaches from a pre-existing injury and when I went for a 60-minute massage, they gave me the 20% off even though it was technically our second day. After the discount, the massage was 8,000 rubles (~$139) — not horrible for a massage at a five-star hotel.
The gym featured all the essential equipment.
Complimentary water bottles and apples were also available for gym guests.
The jacuzzi was the only disappointing part of the spa. It was lukewarm and because the controls were difficult to use, I was only able to get the left side of it running.
I didn’t get a chance to use the steam rooms…
…or test out the sauna this time around, but they both looked very relaxing.
Plenty of other bodies of water for soaking your hands and feet, like this one pictured below, were also available.
The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya exceeded our expectations and at just 10,000 SPG points per night, was a bargain compared to other nearby hotels. The central location was key and the breakfast cemented my fondness of this property. My only complaints? The A/C didn’t get nearly as cold as it needed to and the jacuzzi could have used some updating. Still, I would absolutely stay here again.
Have you stayed at The St. Regis Nikolskaya Moscow? Tell us about your experience, below.
All photos by the author.