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DC Elite: A Review of The St. Regis Washington DC

Aug. 31, 2019
17 min read
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One of my favorite things to do over the last few years has been to take a staycation, spending a few nights staying in a hotel in my home city exploring and eating like a tourist. In Chicago and Shanghai, this has helped me discover parts of the city I might have otherwise missed, and on a recent trip home to see my family in Maryland I was excited to spend a few days staying in downtown Washington, DC, and playing tourist.

DC is a small and intimate city, and it's not uncommon to see senators and presidential motorcades out and about. From the moment I arrived, The St. Regis exuded an air of power and importance that reminded you where you were. This was a place to see and be seen.

Booking

We ended up booking two nights at The St. Regis for $780 after taxes. Because I paid with my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, I was able to earn 6x Marriott points per dollar (for use on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program) and take advantage of the up to $100 luxury property credit for stays of two nights or longer at St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton hotels. You need to be logged in to your Marriott account in order to see the special rates that are eligible for this credit, but in this case the price was the same as if we'd booked a standard room.

This is a Category 7 hotel, meaning that free nights normally cost 60,000 points. TPG values Marriott points at 0.8 cents each, making 60,000 points worth $480, so we came out ahead paying cash for this stay.

I was staying with my girlfriend and her little sister on this trip, so I opted to apply my last two Suite Night Awards to this reservation. I've had great success using these so far, and sure enough, exactly five days before arrival I got an email from Marriott letting me know that my upgrade had cleared into a St. Regis suite, giving us more than enough room for three people.

Location

The St. Regis is centrally located on the corner of 16th and K streets, just two or three blocks north of Lafayette Park and the White House. If you're traveling for business, you'll have no problem getting to all the corporate offices on K Street, while tourists will enjoy the short leisurely walk down to the monuments. The McPherson Square Metro station is just a block away, connecting the hotel to Reagan National Airport (DCA) via the Metro blue line and getting you close to Dulles Airport (IAD) via the silver line.

Check-in

I received an email from the hotel a few days before arrival letting me know that there was road work being done outside the main entrance, blocking the driveway for parts of the day. We ended up loading and unloading our bags at the curb, which wasn't a problem at all.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

I arrived a little after 3pm and went to the reception desk, which was tucked away in a small alcove at the back of the lobby. The check-in process felt very personal, as the woman helping me referenced a few details I'd been emailing with the concierge about (such as welcoming my girlfriend back to DC one year after she'd finished school here), though she didn't make any mention of my elite status. I was disappointed when she said that my suite still wasn't ready by the published check-in time, but she suggested I head over to the bar to wait and offered to comp my drinks to make up for the delay.

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(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

My girlfriend and her sister were flying up from Miami and hadn't yet arrived, so I decided to wait for them in the hotel's stunning lobby.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Around 4:30pm, someone came over to inform me that the room was ready, and by the time I got up the elevator, my bag had already been brought up.

Room

Our St. Regis suite was on the seventh floor, right next to the elevator. There was a small hallway by the door that opened out into the spacious living room.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

There was a six-seat dining table, where I found a small welcome amenity waiting for me: a bottle of Voss water (normally $8 from the minibar), a box of Astor chocolates and a handwritten welcome note from the manager.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

The other side of the room had a couch and several chairs, as well as a desk with a minibar setup on top of it.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Between that and the in-room wine dispenser, there was no shortage of alcohol around.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Opposite the couch was a massive TV, which came with an extra HDMI cable to plug in your own device.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

The bedroom was simple yet elegant, though it immediately lost a few points for only having outlets on one side of the bed.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

There was another smaller TV across from it, as well as some closets, but we mainly stuck to the one in the living room.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Behind the bedroom was the suite's only bathroom. I say "only" because a suite this size would normally come with at least two bathrooms, one full and one half by the door. While it certainly wasn't a problem, it was a little tougher sharing one bathroom with three people.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

In the center of the bathroom was a massive tub flanked on either side by a rainfall shower and the toilet. I liked how spacious the shower was, and the water pressure was just incredible.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Toiletries were provided by Laboratoire Remède, as is the norm at a St. Regis. These are among my favorite hotel toiletries out there, though they appeared to be phasing out the face wash (the last two St. Regis properties I stayed at didn't offer it). While many hotels are switching to large or bulk toiletries, this property still used tiny bottles. With three people in the room, including two girls with long hair, we went through a shocking amount of plastic in one weekend.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

I'd emailed the hotel to request a rollaway bed, but we ended up having to call downstairs and remind them a few hours after we arrived.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

I also appreciated that during turndown service, the housekeeping staff left a variety of DC-themed chocolates on the bed.

This certainly wasn't the biggest suite I'd ever stayed in, though with the building-height limits in this part of DC, I understand that space is at a premium. That being said, the room layout and design felt comfortable and functional, and I really enjoyed this room. Other than the lack of a second bathroom, my only complaint was the Wi-Fi network, which just couldn't seem to stay connected.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Food and Beverage

Never ones to turn down a free drink, we went to The St. Regis's bar on our first evening. The original Bloody Mary was invented at The St. Regis New York, according to one legend, so each St. Regis around the world has its own signature twist on the classic drink. In DC, the bartenders serve the Capitol Mary, where the rim of the glass is coated in Old Bay crab seasoning. If you like a spicy, mouth-numbing, wake-you-up cocktail, this will not disappoint. Hands down my favorite signature Mary, including the famed Island Mary at The St. Regis Maldives.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Though I could have selected free breakfast as my welcome amenity, the special room rate we booked to use the Bonvoy Brilliant luxury-property credit happened to include a $30 breakfast credit per person at the hotel's Alhambra restaurant. We got a large bowl of seasonal berries to share with the table, and I had the crabcake Benedict, which was unbelievably delicious.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

My girlfriend had the avocado smash with lox and two poached eggs served on a thick piece of toast. We used up our $30 credit and then some without any effort, but the food was high-quality. Note that it was also possible to use your breakfast credit for room service, though the delivery fees would eat away at that quickly.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

We came back to try Alhambra for dinner, but because it was restaurant week, we were limited to a relatively small set menu. The design of the restaurant itself was nice and elegant, though it didn't seem to match the Mediterranean and French fusion cuisine that was being served.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

The benefit of the restaurant-week menu was that it was only $35 for an appetizer, entree and dessert. We all started with the cauliflower tagine. The dish was served in a yogurt sauce that provided a perfect complement to the crunchy cauliflower.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Next was the filet mignon with eggplant gratin and salsa verde. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and the salsa verde provided a boost of freshness.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

For dessert I had the flourless chocolate cake in lavender cream, while my girlfriend had the summer peaches.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

It's hard to argue with receiving this entire meal for $35 per person, but at the same time I would have loved the chance to order off the larger standard menu. Obviously, that's not the restaurant's fault, just bad timing on our part.

Amenities

On our last morning, we decided to go to the gym before breakfast. The gym, as well as the lobby bathrooms and many of the hotel's meeting rooms, were hidden in winding hallways in the basement. In fact, if it hadn't been signed, the entrance to the gym would've looked just like the breakout rooms next to it.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

The gym was fairly small, with three treadmills, a few ellipticals, a set of weights and two or three machines. The three of us took up most of the space in the room, and I couldn't see this gym comfortably accommodating more than six or seven people at a time.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

It was also awkward coming out of the gym in sweaty workout clothes while people in suits were streaming into a conference room ready to start their day.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

While not specific to this hotel, we finally managed to take part in a St. Regis tradition that had eluded us up until now: the daily Champagne sabering. At 6pm every day at every St. Regis property around the world, one of the butlers delivers a beautiful speech about the history of sabering, the art of opening a Champagne bottle with a saber. He quoted Napoleon and told us, "Champagne in victory when deserved, and Champagne in defeat when needed." Of course any guests who happen to be in the lobby then get to enjoy a free glass of Champagne, which is always nice.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Our stay was relatively short, and we were out of the hotel exploring as much as possible, but the service that we did receive was very professional. I prefer friendly and personal service over formal and distant, and this hotel walked a fine line between the two. The staff wasn't as quirky and engaged as at the W Dubai or Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, but they were also friendlier and a little less robotic than at The St. Regis New York.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Overall Impression

In a walking city like DC, where public transit is unreliable (at best), location matters more than just about anything. In that area, The St. Regis absolutely nailed it. Overall, the hotel was beautiful both inside and out, as you would expect from a luxury brand and a high-category property. I don't really have anything bad to say about this hotel, and I know I'll be returning for more Capitol Marys and to try Alhambra on a normal day.

Featured image by (Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Pros

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  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
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  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more