Hotel Review: The W St. Petersburg, Russia
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To The Point
In the heart of St. Petersburg, the W sits just steps from St. Isaac’s Square and a short walk from the Hermitage. The Pros: Excellent service, fun nightlife and an unsurpassed location with beautiful views from our terrace. The Cons: Breakfast was only so-so for the price.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Editor’s note: The W St. Petersburg left Starwood and rebranded itself as the SO Sofitel St. Petersburg in February 2018.
After coming across a transfer bonus in February that allowed us to exchange 24,000 Citi Thank You points for 36,620 Etihad Guest miles each to book round-trip lie-flat business-class tickets from New York (JFK) to Brussels (BRU), my husband and I used it to visit a country we hadn’t been to before: Russia. We decided to spend two nights at The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya, travel to St. Petersburg for two nights via overnight train and then return to Moscow for the last two nights of our trip. We settled on the W St. Petersburg, which opened in April 2011 — it’s also the first W in Russia and the only Starwood property in the city, with 138 rooms spread across eight floors. Here’s what it was like to stay there.
An SPG Category 5 property, the W St. Petersburg was available for 12,000 Starpoints per night for the lowest category, the Wonderful Room. I would have considered the hotel’s Cash & Points rate of 6,000 Starpoints and $110 per night for this room, but it wasn’t available for the nights I booked. Instead, SPG-member prepaid rates were 18,531 rubles (~$315 at the time) including taxes and fees. As the value for the award night was just over 2 cents per point, I thought it best to use cash to pay for this reservation while earning Starpoints for my stay.
I used two of my Suite Night Award certificates that came with my SPG Platinum status and was eventually upgraded to a Fantastic Suite a week before our trip.
At 646 to 764 square feet, the Fantastic Suite was a great upgrade from our Wonderful Room, which would have been 291 to 355 square feet. It also would have cost 76,351 rubles (~$1,290 at the time) per night, so this was also a fantastic upgrade considering we were only paying $315 per night.
I used my Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express to earn 2x points, which, in addition to the 3x I earned as an SPG Platinum guest, yielded a total of 3,150 Starpoints for our two-night stay.
Check-In and Lobby
You’ll find the W next to St. Isaac’s Square, across the street from the Four Seasons and within relatively close walking distance of the Hermitage museum. In other words, this is the place to stay if you’re looking to explore the city — the location is perfect.
We arrived via the Grand Express overnight train from Moscow and took a car from the train station to the hotel — the ride was just under 15 minutes. Upon pulling up to the W, we were immediately met by staff, who helped us with our luggage.
While I usually decline help with my bags, the greeter, James, pleasantly insisted on escorting us into the lobby.
The check-in process was simple and quick.
James then escorted us to the elevator that took us to our suite on the seventh floor. Upon exiting the elevator, we found ourselves in a very W-style sitting area.
The hallways of the W are always modern in design and this property was no exception.
This was door to our Fantastic Suite, for instance.
The problem with glossy hallways, however, is handprints. This is what our door looked like upon closer inspection.
The Fantastic Suite
We had smiles on our faces as we entered the room, as it was big, even by American standards. The foyer featured the same glossy pattern as the hallways but was thankfully much cleaner than our front door had been.
Inside the closet there was a safe, as well as some bathrobes, hangers and some room to store your things.
There was a variety of snacks, drinks and wine to choose from, with a menu that listed all the prices.
A drawer was filled with Skittles, M&Ms, Pringles and other snacks.
The mini-bar was well-stocked, with plenty of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options.
I also spotted a Nespresso coffee machine, one of my favorite in-room amenities.
Directly to the right of the foyer was a half bathroom, which was actually quite large.
Two large doors led us from the foyer into the living room.
Photos really don’t do the giant living room justice. It was quite spacious.
There were plenty of places to relax and lounge around.
Reading materials were also available if you felt like curling up with a new book.
A small desk with a phone was located near the entrance to the bedroom.
While it wasn’t as big as the living room, the master bedroom was more than adequate and had enough space to fit its king-size bed in comfortably.
There was also a chair to relax in — to be honest, I just threw some clothes on it.
The television in the master bedroom had a DVD player.
There was no closet in the bedroom, and what I thought was a closet actually ended up being a set of doors that led to the master bathroom. We used the one in the foyer for hanging clothes.
Unfortunately, upon arrival, we found a leak from what appeared to be the air conditioner in the master bathroom. James immediately called downstairs to address it and within five minutes, it was all fixed and the bathroom cleaned up.
There was a single bathroom sink, which had a large amount of counter space.
I appreciated having a separate room for the toilet and bidet.
The enclosed shower and bathtub were in another area, the shower being a rainfall design tall enough to pass TPG’s shower test with flying colors. The bathtub was a nice size as well.
Bathroom amenities were provided by Bliss, the same company behind the hotel’s spa.
The Fantastic Suite contained two large terraces, one outside the master bedroom and one outside the living room.
They also made great spots to watch a storm roll in at sunset.
Food and Beverage
In what must have been an apology for the bathroom leak, we were sent a lovely tray with Champagne, fruit, macarons and extra water.
Included with our SPG Platinum stay was access to the daily breakfast buffet, which would have cost 2,000 rubles per day (~$35) plus tax without status. The dining room had various tables open but was not yet cleaned so we had to wait a few minutes to sit down.
The buffet included a selection of meats and cheeses.
There was also a dairy station…
…a table full of croissants, breads and other pastries.
A fruit station with juice served in crystal glasses was also available. The orange juice was fresh-squeezed and delicious, and they even offered bubbly to go with it so you could make your own mimosas.
The hot buffet offered the usual options, like scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage.
I also ordered eggs Benedict from the menu, since this was included in the buffet. Other items included omelets and poached, scrambled and fried eggs.
The hotel also has a rooftop bar called the W Terrace, apparently one of the places to be on weekends in St. Petersburg. That also meant it was crowded on Friday and Saturday nights.
The bouncer let us in immediately when we showed our room key.
The views from the W Terrace were spectacular at night.
I didn’t get a chance to visit the W Bliss Spa this time around, but a 60-minute massage would have been approximately $100, which is fairly reasonable. It had a pool that wasn’t open when I stopped by, but I was able to get a glimpse of it through the window. It was pretty small and seemed more like a wading pool than a lap pool.
The hotel also had a 24-hour gym that appeared to have the usual exercise machines and workout equipment.
Wi-Fi, while included with a Platinum SPG membership, was not the quickest and without my status would have cost 750 rubles (~$13) for up to three high-speed devices per day for high-speed service — it was advertised as 5 Mbps, which is rather slow in my opinion. There was also a cheaper Wi-Fi option available for 350 rubles ($6) per day for up to three devices, but I didn’t want to test that one out because it was a snail-paced 1.5 Mbps. Luckily, Speedtest.net confirmed slightly better speeds than what was being offered.
I was very pleased with my stay at the W St. Petersburg. The service was up to par and there was always a smiling face to greet us. The staff went above and beyond to accommodate our early check-in at 11:30am and late check-out at 11:00pm, especially since most hotels would have charged us for an extra night. While the breakfast was just okay and a bit pricey, the room and nearby nightlife more than made up for it. The location was perfect, and the Uber rates to get us around town to and from the hotel were extremely cheap.
Have you ever stayed at the W St. Petersburg? Tell us about your experience, below.
All photos by the author.