Did the classic stay timeless? (Re)living the dream at The St. Regis New York
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While sipping hot tea delivered by my butler on the living room couch of an almost 1,000-square-foot suite in The St. Regis New York, it was clear my points had once again unlocked an otherwise unattainable, indulgent dream trip.
The irony that the size of just one of our suite’s two bathrooms was on par with the room I occupied in my first Brooklyn apartment was not lost on me. If only I’d had a butler back then, too!
My family has stayed at the iconic hotel a handful of times on other special trips to New York City when we wanted to live the life of luxury for a couple of days. But this was our first trip since the property reopened in 2021 after a more than yearlong pandemic-related closure.
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In fact, it was my kids’ first trip back to the city since before the pandemic, so it was a big moment for us in several ways.
With some other hotels still struggling to bring back the full guest experience, we were excited to walk through the St. Regis’ shiny golden doors once more to see if the historic property could hold up to 2022 realities.
The St. Regis New York is a place where the staff members still wear white gloves. There are doormen to whistle you a cab and butlers to have your garments pressed. You can almost feel the history in the marble featured throughout, which is just as immaculate now as it must have been when the hotel originally opened in 1904.
Here, the colors are bold, the styling ornate and the decor feels noble and proud, ignoring the winds of ever-changing modern trends that whip around other hotels in the city. The St. Regis New York as it is today likely feels much the same as it might have in every other era it has seen.
I can say with first-person certainty that it hasn’t changed much since my previous visits in 2014 and 2018, and while some furniture may be on the verge of needing a refresh, the timeless consistency is much appreciated in a world where a lot has changed in a short amount of time.
The St. Regis New York is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 55th Street in Manhattan, which places it four blocks south of Central Park, four blocks north of Radio City Music Hall and five blocks north of Rockefeller Center.
If you are looking to see a Broadway show while you are in the city, you can easily access many theaters from the hotel, as most are just a couple of avenues away. An added bonus is the property’s proximity to the Museum of Modern Art; it’s only a five-minute walk west.
This is a high-end hotel with prices to match.
Expect a cash booking at The St. Regis New York to set you back at least $1,000 per night, with many nights costing several hundred dollars more than that. Suites regularly exceed several thousand dollars per night.
My stay was booked as the Big Apple was still in omicron recovery mode (before the more recent Marriott award pricing changes). As a result, we redeemed just 70,000 Marriott points per night. Now, you can expect to spend 80,500 to 119,500 Marriott points per night for a standard room.
Families looking to use points should note that the hotel’s standard rooms, which come with a king-size bed, are a little more than 400 square feet. While often not bookable with points, the hotel does sometimes make upgraded rooms with two double beds available. Make sure you contact the hotel directly if you need a room with two beds, and don’t forget to check what upgrade options are available.
- The St. Regis’ rooms offer more space than you’ll typically find in New York City and come outfitted with features like silk wall coverings and crystal chandeliers that harken to a bygone era of luxury.
- Butler service is standard, so someone is readily available to assist with everything from coffee or tea deliveries to garment-pressing requests.
- The elite breakfast benefit for Marriott Platinum and higher members here is fantastic and can be enjoyed in your room for no additional fee.
- Outstanding service is provided by all the staff. To say you’re well cared for here would be an understatement.
- It’s no secret that this is an expensive hotel. Anything that isn’t included, such as room service, comes at a high cost.
- There are no standard rooms with two beds, which makes staying here challenging for families who don’t want to pay more for a larger accommodation.
- While most of the decor is classic and timeless, there are some areas and furnishings that are starting to look worn.
At check-in, we were in for a treat. We’d reserved two rooms with points: one for my kids and myself and one for my mom.
However, we ended up scoring an unexpected upgrade to the Madison Suite for one of the rooms. While it’s unclear if this was a result of having Marriott Platinum Elite status, being a repeat guest or something else, I knew we hit the upgrade jackpot, as this was the same accommodation we were moved into during our 2018 stay.
By applying one of my Marriott Suite Upgrade Awards, I was able to secure a more spacious deluxe room for my mom, too.
The deluxe room was lovely, to say the least. The additional 20 square feet allotted to this room category was used for a sitting area featuring a couch in a luxe gray velvet fabric, plus a chair and a coffee table.
Like the base-level rooms, the deluxe room also came with access to an assigned butler, a perk rarely found for all accommodations at hotels that offer the service.
My mom thoroughly enjoyed the space, sleeping soundly without any complaints during our visit — but it paled in comparison to our suite.
After walking down the hallway with gilded light fixtures, we entered a room with its own foyer that gave you the option to turn either left or right. Knowing how incredibly rare it is to find an entryway like this, especially in Manhattan, we were excited to explore when we stepped inside.
When we turned right, we found a secondary bathroom and a large living room with a desk, a TV, a minibar, a couch, a coffee table and two chairs.
This is where we’d later enjoy room service and the included hot tea or coffee delivered daily by our butler.
And to the left down the hall, there was the primary bedroom and bathroom.
Unlike last time when our stay in the Madison Suite had just one king-size bed, this time our bedroom had two double beds. This worked out great since I was sharing the space with my two kids.
The decor throughout was old-school, with many pieces that looked like they might belong in your long-lost wealthy uncle’s house. There were lots of gold and brass fixtures (including a few ornate crystal chandeliers), rich burgundy hues on the walls and select furnishings, wooden side tables that looked like antiques and a mix of gray, white and black marble in the bathrooms.
The beds were extremely comfortable, featuring fluffy, white duvets and pillows. There were a couple of power outlets next to the beds, too, so we could charge the essentials without a problem, though a few more outlets wouldn’t hurt to add.
The abundance of marble in the bathrooms made those areas feel especially luxurious.
There was a walk-in shower and a separate bathtub, plus plenty of plush white towels and a few small bottles of lotion and mouthwash. A few unexpected extras were provided, too, including a small dish to hold rings and a remote to control the in-mirror TV.
Food and drink
Your four options for eating and drinking at The St. Regis New York are room service, Astor Court, the King Cole Bar and … food delivery services like Uber Eats.
Let’s start with room service.
As previously mentioned, anyone staying at this St. Regis outpost can enjoy complimentary tea or coffee in their room or suite every day delivered by their assigned butler. We loved this perk during our visit.
The breakfast we ordered through room service was also delightful (albeit expensive). Fortunately for us, most of the charges were waived due to my elite status.
Marriott Platinum Elite members and up can enjoy breakfast daily via room service. At this hotel, the benefit covers the American breakfast with eggs, bacon or sausage, potatoes and juice, or can be converted to a $39-per-person credit to apply toward something else on the menu.
We opted for the American breakfast each day of our stay. It came quickly, was tasty and, best of all, was free, reinforcing the notion that you can get a ton of value with elite status.
Additionally, we placed an emergency order for chicken fingers for a tired and hungry little one who didn’t want the sushi the rest of us ordered one night from Uber Eats. The meal was excessively expensive at $40, but my child blessedly had no complaints about the plate of crispy chicken and fries.
If you are craving a moody drink or just enjoy people-watching, be sure to visit the hotel’s famous King Cole Bar.
Open daily from 4 to 11 p.m., this dark and cozy but unabashedly upscale corner of the hotel is where the modern bloody mary was first created by famed barman Fernand Petiot in 1934. However, that name was considered too crass for the location and clientele, so the lobby-level watering hole refers to it as the Red Snapper.
If that’s not your drink of choice, no worries. This is as well stocked a bar as they come, so you have a full lineup to pick from — as long as you’re willing to pay between $20 and $30 for a drink.
And for more substantial fare outside your room, there’s Astor Court.
While the hotel’s restaurant is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, I’ve admittedly only ever visited for a brief coffee and snack during a TPG photo session a few years ago. The room service option is just too tempting with kiddos.
However, it looks lovely, and I’ve even overheard music from a harp emanating from the restaurant during a previous stay at the hotel.
Amenities and service
The St. Regis New York is a little light on physical amenities. There is no pool complex, spa, golf course or kids club here — after all, you’re in the middle of the concrete jungle. But you do have some services and offerings at your disposal.
There is a house car that will drop you off for free within 10 blocks of the property. We made use of this for both the all-important trip to the FAO Schwarz toy store in Rockefeller Center and getting to a Broadway show one evening. Note, though, that the car cannot be used for pickups and is available on a first-come, first-served basis, so you may have to wait a few minutes if it is out and about.
There is also a modest fitness center equipped with a few cardio and weight-training machines, as well as a Peloton and some exercise balls. It’s stocked with fresh towels and Evian water, too.
While the house car and gym were nice, I’d say my favorite amenity was the friendly, knowledgeable staff. Whether you need a boarding pass printed, a cab called, a restaurant reservation made or something else, you’re constantly taken care of here by everyone from the butler and concierge to the front desk agents and doorman. This is a true gift when traveling to a fast-paced city with little ones along for the ride.
Unless you are operating with very different budgetary realities than my family, The St. Regis New York is not where you go for a quick overnight trip that involves spending little time in your room.
Instead, this hotel is for a special getaway to Manhattan, one where you want to feel like you’ve stepped back in time and can actually enjoy your hotel while also exploring the surrounding areas.
From the personalized greetings to the red carpet-lined entrance to the gold- and marble-adorned lobby, this St. Regis offers an exclusive ambiance that makes you feel like New York is truly your city, even if you’re merely “borrowing” it for a night or two.
Regardless of whether you use points or cash, a stay here won’t be cheap, but in my experience, the cost is typically worth the memories.
Every few years, we’ve been lucky enough to cash in some points and rotate through those famous doors. While my kids look very different from trip to trip, the hotel has so far stood the test of time.
With any luck, this most recent visit won’t be our last. Hopefully, in another few years, we’ll be able to check in once again and live the life of luxury for a couple of nights … courtesy of points, of course.
A lot has changed in the world since we last stepped foot in The St. Regis New York’s grand lobby, but it’s comforting to know that the hotel still remains a timeless Manhattan fixture, much like the hotel’s founder, American business magnate John Jacob Astor IV, originally imagined.
Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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