I return to St Regis New York …. or ‘how a hotel stay improves when you know what to expect’

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I spent three nights this week at St Regis New York.  This may surprise long-term readers, who may remember that I wasn’t hugely impressed with the hotel when I stayed there last year.

My 2018 review of St Regis New York is here.

So, why did I go back?

I booked when it was still 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (now 85,000).  There was no way that I was going to get anything of equivalent value with Hilton or IHG for a similar number of points.

I have Titanium Elite status until the end of the year, which meant I might get an upgrade to a huge suite again (I did, see photos in this article)

The location on 5th Avenue is excellent

I didn’t want to spend time at a new property learning how everything works – I generally tend to stay 2-3 times at a place before trying somewhere new

More importantly:

After my stay last year, I knew exactly what to expect and what not to expect, so my expectations were managed!

Review St Regis New York hotel Madison Suite

Now, let’s get this clear.  The mark of a great hotel is when it bends itself to your requirements.  I should not be expected to change my own behaviour / schedule to fit the hotel, especially when rooms start at $1,000 per night.

However, change my own behaviour I did.  And it worked OK.

I got up at 6am every morning.  The only way to get breakfast without a long queue is to be down at Astor Court at around 7am when it opens, so I was.  It is a big hotel with a small restaurant, and as it is a la carte no-one is in a hurry to leave. 

(As it is already 11am in the UK at 6am New York time, I have a full inbox and a lot of HFP comments to review, so the early start is actually beneficial.  By the time the shops and museums open at 10am, the day is wrapping up in the UK.)

I made sure I ordered a free pot of coffee to my room before noon (after noon, a pot of coffee costs $25 including tray charge, taxes and service and there are no coffee machines in the rooms)

Review St Regis New York hotel Madison Suite

The rip-off $50 daily resort fee does come with a $50 daily food and beverage credit.  Part of the reason I flew in on BA1 is that I knew I’d be in the hotel in time to spend my $50 that evening!

I also adjusted my schedule so that I would be in the hotel for lunch or dinner each day, to work through $50 of food.

As I got a $50 laundry credit each day with the resort fee, I only brought one spare shirt and had the other one washed each day via the express service.  This was very convenient – I rarely travel so light for such a long trip.

I worked in trips to the Met and Whitney museums, since your $50 daily resort fee also gets you into these museums for free

I still haven’t used the hotel Bentley, which will drive you – for free – to anywhere within a 10-block radius

Review St Regis New York hotel Madison Suite

In return for giving up some flexibility over my day, I made the most of the hotel.  None of the things which disappointed me last year disappointed me again, because I knew about them already!

So, I have softened towards St Regis New York.  It turns out that:

I like having a la carte breakfast (nothing as tacky as a buffet here) when there are only 3-4 of us in the restaurant in the early morning

I like having a freshly laundered and ironed shirt every day, and coming back to my room during the afternoon to find the next one cleaned and ready in the wardrobe

I like having someone bringing me a silver tray with a cafetiere of coffee on it for free in the morning (who knew?!)

I like having a huge suite which is bigger than most 2-bed New York apartments, and being directly on 5th Avenue to boot (view below is down 55th Street)

Review St Regis New York hotel Madison Suite

If you have Marriott Bonvoy elite status – because breakfast is very expensive otherwise, and a good upgrade is a key part of the experience – I would recommend giving St Regis New York a go.  

In truth, even at 85,000 points per night it is good value – relatively speaking – when a room for cash is $1,000 plus a lot of taxes.

Review St Regis New York hotel Madison Suite

If you DON’T have elite status then I would be a little more wary, because you won’t get the free a la carte breakfast or a good upgrade – although your $50 ‘resort fee’ can be offset against breakfast.

Overall, I even made a ‘profit’ on the resort fee.  For 3 x $50 fees, I got 3 x $50 food and beverage credits, two laundered shirts and around $50 of museum tickets.  A couple would have doubled up on the museum tickets and used more of the laundry credit.

Butler service is included with ALL rooms at St Regis New York which is not the case at many other St Regis properties globally where it can be restricted to just suites.  This means that coffee on demand (AM only), pressing of your clothes, packing and unpacking (if you want it, I don’t) etc is included for everyone.

PS.  Whilst massively subjective, I also think St Regis New York has the most beautiful hotel corridors I’ve ever seen ….

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Melia Rewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Marriott Bonvoy points.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Why do you have breakfast in the restaurant? You can order it via room service and as a Titanium member, it’s still free.

    • Where’s the fun in that though?! I am in the room working for 8 hours anyway.

      • So that you don’t have to get up at 6am or tip?

        • David says:

          I’d imagine there’s still pressure to tip room service…

          • Tip (22%?) is applied automatically and waived altogether with room service, whereas if you go to the restaurant you need to tip separately I believe – weird I know.

  2. Martin says:

    Who knew it existed – the sub culture of hotel corridors!!

    My personal favourite is the Four Seasons in Tokyo. The look & feel fitted both the hotel brand & the country perfectly.

  3. Ian Johnson says:

    Whilst I enjoy a lot of your articles Raffles, I struggle with the notion of going to a museum simply because it’s ‘free’. I’ve also never considered how beautiful a hotels corridors are either!

    • Ah but it’s a whole new world when your suite is on a separate floor and access is gained by private lift. Bit of a bugger though if your next night’s in a Holiday Inn 🙂

    • Tripadvisor says:

      That is the most drab dated hotel room. All thats missing is a blue rinse gran asleep, having fallen from her zimmer into one of those chairs.

      Rob, you genuinely spent eight hours in there during the day? I’m surprised NYPD’s finest didn’t find you on the pavement below.

      • Photos do not do it full justice, same as IC Paris.

      • BFT01 says:

        The Edison at Times Square is more dated than that room, I had the unfortunate experience of staying there last year

    • I always go to one or two of big art museums anyway. MOMA is shut and there were no shows elsewhere that appealed. Whitney I was passing anyway.

  4. Lady London says:

    Photo of St. Regis corridors then, please?

    What is it about US hotels’ love of brown colouring? Unless done well and a natural part of the hotel such as an old mansion or a stately home, i find it depressing.

    I suppose it’s better than thr glaring bits of orange often found up to about Mercure level, in France. (Haven’t stayed yet enough at upper levels in France.)

  5. 7.20am here at Astor Court for breakfast, only a small family and another couple sat here for breakfast. I would say I should have slept in but today the weather is glorious after a couple of days of rain and I did stay in for longer than i should have after checking in yesterday, taking in all the suite has to offer, so I am glad to get the day started early

    • If you’re in 1735 you have mine 🙂 I had 1736 last year but view is worse in that.

  6. Dimitri says:

    Do others share the view that NYC hotels quality suffers compared to the rest of the world? There are other expenses cities like London or Hong Kong but your money buys a better hotel product even for for the same hotel brands. I wonder why..

    • Lady London says:

      I would say thé dame about Paris hôtels. Insanely overpriced at all levels ecxept thé very top or thé very bottom.

      In thé case of Paris i put it down to old buildings that are limping on dôme with out a redire for 50 Yeats or more And no re-plumb, pour City drains etc. Infrastructure is old but until a major redevlopment is done crumbling rooms are sold at outrageous prices and the complete rebuild necessary is not done. Meanwhile due to its worldwide top tourist position these hotels can all carry on like this all charging a fortune. There are gems at all levels but you have to seek them out and never lose their details because the ones I’ve found don’t advertise but do very good returning trade.

      In NY I think its more of it just being a very expensive city and a busy business one also with tourism. As demand for a decent hotel seems to exceed availability at almost every level then we are seeing huge prices for poorer hotels that not really up to the price.

      This is why for private trips I either want 5*plus or I’d be just as content with a youth hostel. Can’t abide paying for the cr*p in the middle. My clients are mostly in the middle budget-wise which is w here HfP has turned out to be incredibly useful making the best of a middling budget.

      • LL do you have any budget suggestions for Paris?
        Like you.. I don’t like paying lots of cash/points for a mediocre hotel especially when only in the room to sleep.
        Tempted to try the citizen M – £140 for two nights vs using my IHG free night + 50k for a second night for the indigo.

        • I’ve never yet found availability at the Indigo….

        • Lady London says:

          If you want to stay in Paris in summer in budget hôtel then this is worst time. If wanting to stay in business hôtels at summer peak i would expect places like La Defense to perhaps finally offer reasonable prices.

          M’y current favorite in Paris for both personal and work is the new Hampton Clichy. Done several stays since it opened this year. Really nice rooms although much smaller than US Hamptons. Well run (same ownership as a Hilton Curio at a much smarter address). Taxi from Gare du Nord 15/eur or less even with heaps of luggage. On direct bus route, I think 65, from Opéra / Haussmann / St Lazare 25 minutes each way even in rush hour. 2 stops very near the hôtel. RER not currently as good as bus. Do bus first few times then work it out. A new métro stop almost completed reasonably near.

          If you really want budget then if you crosscheck several review sources for each (impt) then a couple of the IBIS budgets look OK. If you are rock bottom cheap, on your own and especially if catching eurostar then the st christophers hostel next to gare du nord was clean and fairly priced when i just needed a night passing through.

        • Lady London says:

          Citizen M 140 for 2 nights? Sounds very OK if it’s décent. Please let us Know if you do use it

          • CitizenM is 89eur most nights in July and August, non refundable. Less the 10% for members (free), makes it a touch over £70 per night. Even the flexible rate is not much more.
            Although the Hampton is not much different for 3 night stays, with free breakfast, and would count toward the current promo.
            Location wise, would gare du Lyon be better than Clichy?

          • Lady London says:

            If you walk everywhere then Gare de Lyon is closer to everything (though some would say still not totally central) Plus it’s a major RER interchange and has métro. If you havent done Paris much before then maybe chose that area in preference but personally it has never charmed me.

            I dont think you’re doing badly at all on that price for citizen m but i’d cross check a number of sources for reviews. Of course I’d also make sure i was earning points if possible too!

          • Lady London says:

            PS Forgot to say Clichy is definitely out of the way for nightlife. As a single girl travelling in Paris alone that’s never been something I’ve aimed for. Perfect for work in the centre though due to easy bus even in rush hour. The metro stop they’re building will be on the new line 13 I think.

          • Thanks LL, reviews for CitizenM are generally very good – mostly “you know what you are getting”. Modern, clean, comfy, small rooms.
            I’ve booked Hampton Clichy on points as a backup. Will let you know if I end up at the CitizenM.

        • Genghis says:

          My go to is Idol Hotel, usually around £150 a night. Perfectly adequate.

        • Graham Walsh says:

          I’ve stayed at the CitizenM in Amsterdam many times. Nice hotel and friendly staff. Comfy bed as you are out and about most of the time. Not a room to relax in. That would be the foyer area which is designed like that to be a social area.

      • David says:

        Are you having a stroke or is there a cat on your keyboard?

        • Dimitri says:

          LoL

          Rob needs to introduce comment editing.

        • Lady London says:

          Sorry may get another consultancy assignment in France so not quite taking my work phone’s language out of french yet. Pesky text editor sometimes seems to overwrite things i’ve already corrected or slip other unwanted corrections in just as i press enter!

  7. Lady London says:

    BTW the St Regis did have some excellent corporate rates to houses in the finance industry I’ve worked for. If you really want to stay there could be worth asking around, we are talking no relationship whatsoever to rack rate more of a comparable rate to other hotels used by corporates there.

  8. Reece says:

    I used to tip semi-regularly for good service when the tipping culture was more reasonable.

    It’s now so absolutely insanely out of hand, in the US in particular, so much so I have a zero tolerance policy for tipping unless someone has specifically gone out of their way to go above and beyond.

    It makes service a much more straightforward experience – you did your job, congratulations, thank you. That’s it. There’s no question of whether or how much to tip. $0.

    I totally get that that some people rely on tips. But time has told us very clearly that the more tipping is considered acceptable, the worse it gets. Bars, restaurants maybe fine – but hotel cleaning? What is the world coming to?! Tipping leads to wage suppression and ever larger tips. The more we tip, the worse it gets. What next – tipping at Starbucks? Tesco?

    We all need to bite the bullet and have a zero tolerance approach, and the industry will re-balance and pay people a fair wage for a fair job. Every other industry manages it?

    To those that say I am taking money from people that are hard-up… I’m Mixed Fleet cabin crew, I receive a very modest income (arguably low-wage but that’s a desperate discussion) for serving hundreds of customers 2 full meals, drinks, additional service etc – do I get a tip? Do I expect a tip? Would I dare ask for a tip? No

    • Dimitri says:

      It’s worth noting that all of the western states in the US like California and Washington now impose the same minimum wage for restaurant employees as everybody else. They also have the highest minimum wage in the country. So there should be no reason to tip in these states. In other states where the minimum wage for servers is $2 / hour then the tips are effectively part of their salary and tipping is pretty much mandatory so that the servers can make a living.

    • Starbucks in the US now encourages tipping.

  9. >If you DON’T have elite status then I would be a little more wary, because you won’t get the free a la carte breakfast or a good upgrade – although your $50 ‘resort fee’ can be offset against breakfast.

    Your previous article mentions that the $50 food credit is based on calender days, starting with the day you check in- so the credit cannot be used for breakfast on the final morning. If this is still the case it would be worth adding a warning.

  10. The wind-up merchant in me wants to check in and send a pair of underwear down for express cleaning. Then, as soon as they arrive back, ask the butler to go away and clean them again until my $50 is used up.

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