Review: The St Regis Venice hotel (Part 2 – where it went wrong)
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This is Part 2 of our review of The St Regis Venice hotel. Part 1, which looks at the public spaces, is here.
Unusually, I’ve done this review in reverse, leaving the room to last. This is because, frankly, it was a bit of a shambles. What I don’t know is how much was bad luck and how much is normal.
To put the room into context, I had booked using 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and was therefore allocated a standard room, which was selling for around €1,000 per night.
I used a Marriott Bonvoy ‘Suite Night Award’ certificate – which I had from making Titanium Status last year – to request an upgrade. The upgrade cleared at five days before arrival, which is the earliest time it can happen. I was not upgraded further at check-in despite my Titanium status.
The room I ended up with is classed as a ‘Venetian Suite’. It was selling for around €1,700 per night.
(I looked at a random night in June and the rates are higher, as you’d expect with the better weather – €1,500 for a base room with my suite selling for €2,100 per night.)
My comments on the room are based on what you might expect for €1,700 to €2,000 per night. I would be less critical of a cheaper hotel.
Venetian Suite at The St Regis Venice
As you can see, I had a beautiful room. Huge amounts of money have been spent here. What look like painted walls, for example, are actually fabric wall coverings.
It didn’t really do it for me, however, and I just got and more frustrated over the two days I was there. I will run through my gripes and I will let you decide if they are systematic issues or if I just got unlucky.
There were no issues with the bed, bedding, soundproofing, curtains etc. This was all done to the standard you would expect, including the usual high quality St Regis mattresses.
These were my issues:
- My room simply wasn’t large enough to be sold as a proper suite. To call it a suite, the hotel installed some unnecessary doors which connect the bedroom to the living area. It would have been a nicer room – and more honestly described – if the doors had not been installed, the room opened up more and it was described as a junior suite. It’s also worth noting that the suites shown on the hotel website for this room category are larger, far larger in some cases, than what I received.
- There was no view. The room was on the first floor, but the roof of the building outside came up beyond window level (albeit grassed over). It also got no sun – higher floors should fare better. It wasn’t enticing and another reason why this particular room shouldn’t be sold as a full suite.
- There are no plug sockets by the bed. None. If you want to plug something in, you need to get on your knees and start unplugging the lamps at floor level.
- Don’t even think of looking for a USB socket either, which is weird for a hotel that was opened in 2019.
- The minibar was empty (I am guessing covid rules, although all other covid restrictions in Italy are gone). It was also turned off so you couldn’t use it yourself to chill items. Oddly, all glassware had been removed too – no wine glasses. Despite this, the hotel gave me a bottle of bellini. With nowhere to chill it and no glassware, I drank it lukewarm out of a mug.
- It’s a good job my wife was not with me, because she wouldn’t have had any. Only one mug was provided in the room.
(Imagine coming here on honeymoon, to your €1,700 per night suite, and bursting into your room expecting to crack open a bottle of chilled champagne from the minibar into two crystal champagne flutes. Instead, you are stuck with a lukewarm bellini drunk from one – shared – coffee mug.)
- The coffee machine only came with four capsules and no milk, real or powdered (I know it’s Italy but still ….). I had a jug of milk sent up, but with no working minibar or fridge I was forced to keep it out at room temperature.
- The second time I rang for a jug of milk – because the first jug had gone off overnight due to the lack of a fridge – it took over 30 minutes to come. Of the three calls I made to the butler service line during my stay, only one was answered immediately. The other two went to a BA-style ‘we’re busy right now’ message.
- For some odd reason, the ‘do not disturb’ and ‘please clean my room’ buttons do not light up clearly when pressed. This means it is very easy, as I did, to go out and not notice that ‘do not disturb’ is on. You return in the evening to an uncleaned room.
- I made an arrangement with the hotel to clean the room when I was at dinner. In what, I admit, was bad luck, the turndown person arrived first, decided to do a full room service themselves without all of the necessary items and did a bodge job of it.
- The bathroom has no tub. Whilst I didn’t mind, it’s worth noting that the Marriott website shows a lovely standalone tub in the photo gallery for its Venetian Suites. The bathroom was simply too small, full stop, and could have been made larger by removing some of the excessive wardrobe space next to it.
- The bathroom has a hugely impressive range of niche products – facial scrub, face toner cream, deodorant cream and – ahem – a bottle of ‘intimate cleanser’ (which is orange!). There is an odd mix between Acqua di Parma products and St Regis products, but then Acqua di Parma doesn’t do ‘intimate cleanser’ as far as I know. What you don’t get are the basic items you may have forgotten (toothbrush or, in my case, a comb).
All in all, despite the huge amount of money that had been spent on the interiors of my suite, it simply wasn’t a pleasant or practical space to spend time.
I fully accept that my room was on points and I’d used a suite upgrade certificate to get what I got. If I was paying €1,700 per night I would have asked to be moved.
To help you decide if this was all bad luck or bad management, let me present you with this cup:
It sat on a fire extinguisher next to the lift outside my room for a long time – at least 12 hours – without being moved. Towards the end I was tempted to take it down myself.
The St Regis Venice is a tricky hotel to come to a firm conclusion about.
Let’s be clear. The public areas of this hotel are stunning. I will not see better public spaces in a hotel all year.
There is probably nothing else in Venice that comes close to The St Regis in terms of overall quality of interiors and finish except potentially Aman and that is in a different pricing league. Certainly not the Gritti Palace, virtually next door and also Marriott-run, which is only really worth visiting to eat on its own canal-side terrace. If you want new, shiny and fashionable, The St Regis is where to come.
The garden terrace and restaurant are beautiful. There are few better experiences in the world than sitting on a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal and watching the world go by. This is why you should stay here and this is what you are paying for – although of course non-guests are also welcome. It would help if at least half the large tables were swapped for tables for two, however.
Where it didn’t work for me was my suite. A mixture of bad design and bad management means that things are not as slick as they should be, especially for €1,700 per night.
Despite all this, I am not saying that I wouldn’t return. My wife would enjoy the location, garden, restaurant and public spaces and we’d probably spend less time in the room than I did on this solo trip. There also aren’t a lot of other fresh options if you want five star luxury in the centre of the action.
Are you getting value at The St Regis Venice?
It’s interesting to compare The St Regis Venice with the JW Marriott Venice Resort which is on its own private island in the lagoon. I have been there three times (JW Marriott Venice review here) and, if you book a junior suite, you will get a huge lovely open room.
The JW Marriott, not The St Regis, is the ideal hotel for families with its pools and kids club. Taking the boat to and from the main island is not a major inconvenience and of course the ride is a great sight-seeing event in its own right.
It’s worth remembering that The St Regis Venice remains astonishing value as a Marriott Bonvoy redemption, compared to cash prices. My standard room – before the upgrade – was selling for £960 (€1,140). I paid 70,000 Bonvoy points which, if you bought the points in a ‘100% bonus’ promotion, would cost you around £425. I got 1.35p per point.
From next year, when Bonvoy redemptions are uncapped and the current category thresholds disappear, I expect standard rooms at The St Regis Venice will cost around 175,000 – 200,000 Bonvoy points per night – an almost threefold increase on what I paid. If you want to come here on points, book soon.
The St Regis Venice website is here if you want to learn more.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (April 2023)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
Marriott Bonvoy American Express
20,000 bonus points and 15 elite night credits Read our full review
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
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 Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)