St Regis New York. A great hotel, but I won’t return.

My wife and I recently spent a three day weekend in New York at the St Regis.  This is the St Regis that started the brand, and it happened to be our first St Regis stay, anywhere.  Hopefully it won’t be our last.  But, despite the fact that they did almost everything right, we probably won’t return to this St Regis.  But let’s be clear about this break up: St Regis New York, it’s not you, it’s me.

Excellent check-in experience

The desk agent who checked us in did an amazing job of welcoming us with a smile and friendly banter that made us feel as if she was truly happy that we were staying there.  I had Titanium Elite status with Marriott, and so she explained the elite benefits.  Those with Platinum Elite status, or higher, could choose a welcome gift of either 1000 points or daily breakfast served in the restaurant or in our room.  We obviously chose breakfast.  We could also get 4pm late checkout, but we didn’t need it for this trip. She told us that we had been upgraded to a deluxe King room.

Excellent butler service

Butler service is available to all guests at the St Regis.  After check-in at the desk, we headed up the elevator to our room and our butler greeted us when we got out of the elevator.  She walked us to our room, explained the basics of the butler service and then brought us an afternoon tea service.  Here are the basic butler services available at no extra charge as I remember them: french press coffee or tea service each morning; daily fresh fruit brought to the room; up to two items of clothing pressed per day; shoe shines.  We took full advantage of all of those services during our stay.

Wonderful room

The desk agent who checked us in didn’t say that we had been upgraded to a suite, but our room sure seemed like a junior-suite, at least.  As you can see above, we had a full living area in addition to our bedroom, but without privacy doors in-between (we didn’t mind).  The bathroom was beautiful and spacious too.  And the cleaning staff clearly does a great job.  I travel with a Roku stick for streaming TV and movies.  I can’t remember a time that I didn’t find the back of the hotel TV covered with dust when I went to plug in the Roku.  In this case, the TV was immaculate all around.

Excellent extras

The butler keeps the room stocked daily with fresh fruit.  This is a standard service which is not dependent upon elite status.

Chocolate covered strawberries were brought to our room after check in.  I believe this was an extra elite gift, but maybe they offer these to everyone, or maybe just to those celebrating an occasion?  I’m not sure.

We were celebrating our wedding anniversary very, very early.  So, they gave us two free desserts at the hotel restaurant. Hey, when a place like this asks if you’re celebrating an occasion, “yes” is the right answer.

Classy Bentley chauffeur service

The St Regis offers complementary chauffeured car service via a beautiful Bentley.  The driver will take you anywhere within a 10 block radius, but you can’t call for pickups to return.  We used this service frequently for our outbound rides to restaurants and theaters and then walked back to the hotel afterwards.  For the record, I don’t know what the proper tipping etiquette is, but I tipped the driver $5 per ride.

Delightful breakfast

Each morning we rang the butler for our french press coffee and later went down to the Astor Court restaurant for breakfast.  We could have had the breakfast brought to our room, but we enjoyed the experience of dining in the restaurant.  At check-in we were told that our free breakfast was for the American Breakfast, but our waiter explained that we could get anything on the menu up to $93 total ($46.50 each).  He also confirmed that tip was included automatically so we didn’t have to do anything but sign the bill when it came.  Since we had already had our complementary coffee in our room each morning, we saved at least $9 per person from the total breakfast bill and had no problem staying within the $93 budget.  And the breakfast was delicious.  Be careful about ordering the $15 orange juice, though, as that can easily push you past the limit!  A photo of the breakfast menu is included at the bottom of this post.

It ain’t cheap

We booked the stay with points.  Until March 5th 2019, Marriott charged 60,000 points per night for the St Regis New York.  If we could have stayed 5 nights, we would have gotten a better deal thanks to Marriott’s 5th Night Free award pricing.  As of March 5th, though, the price jumped to 85,000 points per night standard.  And sometime later in 2019, Marriott will introduce Peak and Off-Peak pricing which will mean that same hotel may be available at times for 70,000 points off-peak or 100,000 points peak.  For comparison, single night paid prices at this hotel tend to range from the low $700s to over $1,000 before taxes.

$50 per day destination fee

The new 85K pricing is one reason we might not return, but it’s not the only reason.  The hotel charges a $50 per day destination fee.  That in itself is annoying, but not the whole issue.  They offer quite a lot for that $50, so It’s possible to get far more than $50 value.  And we did.  The destination fee offers the following benefits:

  • $50 Food & Beverage Credit
  • $50 Laundry or Dry Cleaning Credit
  • $25 Fodera Hair Salon Credit (hair services only)
  • Complimentary high speed internet; unlimited local, long distance, and international calls.
  • Two museum tickets to either MoMa or The Metropolitan Museum of Art

We used most of these services (including the museum tickets) on two out of the three days in which we paid the destination fee.  So, arguably, we got at least $100 in food and $100 in museum tickets and maybe $80 in dry cleaning for $150.  That sounds like a good deal, but I found that it actually made our stay more stressful and limited our dining and museum options.  Since our breakfast was fully covered due to my elite status, I found it stressful to figure out how to use the dining credits each day.  On our first day, we didn’t have a chance to use our food credits at all since we had dinner reservations that evening and were too tired for drinks that night.  And we found out that the credit resets at 1 am, so we couldn’t use it the next morning.  On the next two days we ended up eating a late lunch at the hotel a couple of times when we wouldn’t have done so otherwise.  And while we were happy to go to both MoMa and The Met, we’d like other options next time we’re in the city.

This destination fee and my mad need to maximize its value is the primary reason I’m not eager to return.  Ironically, if I didn’t have elite status guaranteeing free breakfast, I wouldn’t have this issue at all.  In that case, it would be simple to use up the $50 food credit each morning and the stress would be gone.

An elite tip (“tip” is a pun here)

If you have Marriott Platinum Elite status or higher, you will get $93 worth of breakfast each morning, for free.  When the check comes, you’ll see that there’s a section to write in a tip.  Be warned that anything you put in here is over and above the service tip that is automatically included but not shown on the check.

Summary

Overall, the St. Regis New York is a terrific hotel with prices to match.  The only thing I didn’t like was the destination fee.  In particular, the fee made me anxious to use the benefits that come with it.  As a result, it added unwelcome stress to our otherwise delightful stay.

St Regis New York breakfast menu (plus inadvertent shadow puppets)

St Regis New York laundry / dry cleaning menu. Up to $50 per day is included in the hotel’s destination fee.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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Better than you
Guest
Better than you

If 50 bucks a day is going to stress you out maybe you shouldn’t be staying at hotels that potentially cost 1000+ per night regardless of whether it’s free or not.

Kim
Guest
Kim

Greg, I used my $50 food credit toward makeup and they allowed it.

playalaguna
Guest
playalaguna

Hotels should be honest about the cost of a stay and include the destination fee in the the daily rate. If everyone pays it without choice, it is part of the cost of staying at a hotel. It is deceptive and disingenuous to call it a destination or resort fee.

MarkG
Guest
MarkG

Thats not the hotel problem…is a Marriott problem because they allow it

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

I stayed @ the MayFlower on 49st they taped the $5 a day Fuel surcharge hand written note right around 7′ HaHa . On a pole so u couldn’t see it till u looked @ ur bill. .
CHEERs

Dee
Guest
Dee

My husband, my oldest daughter and I stayed this past weekend at the Crown Plaza Times Square on our IHG credit card certificates. We were charged $35 per night, but didn’t get any where near the same benefits you did. We are merely Platinum from having the Chase cards. We squeezed every nickle out of the vouchers we did get – 8 $16 breakfast buffet (usually $30), 4 free drinks, 2 $25 food/beverage. A 15% gratuity was automatically included each food/beverage bill.

We went to visit our youngest daughter who goes to law school in NYC, and was on spring break. She was with us at check-in. The front desk agent suggested we add her name to the room so she could give us vouchers for her, too. That was thoughtful of her.

losingtrader
Guest
losingtrader

@Better than you: MY THOUGHT EXACTLY. Let me guess: Greg went to NY because his brain was frozen in Ann Arbor and he thought it would be thaw out there.
Greg, it doesn’t work that way. You need to at least get to Flori-duh

TJ at The Art of Travel Hacking
Guest
TJ at The Art of Travel Hacking

Great review – thanks for sharing! Those strawberries look good.

Aus Biker
Guest
Aus Biker

Someone @ DOC suggested asking for $25 worth of haircut each day you’re a guest.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Sounds like you can’t really afford the place, nor is it your usual lifestyle? Complaining about a $50fee when your staying for free at a true 5 star that easily cost more than a grand a night. Glad they upped the redemption points, maybe that will keep some of the cheapskates away.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Dan
If u read the one post he and THE Wife spend like S1/2 a mill a year on CC’s ..I’ll go back now to my Hot noodles for dinner then BK leftovers.
LOL too HaHa

MSer
Guest
MSer

“Half a mill” is low for a MSer. Be very surprised if Greg’s not spending >7 figures a year, but perhaps the blog takes up too much time?

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

You know there are other ways to transfer large amounts of money .
CHEERs

iahphx
Guest
iahphx

I personally hate “destination fees” — especially those on “free” night stays — but I must say that’s the best value destination fee I’ve ever seen. When I pay them — like at the Kimpton chain — I typically get absolutely nothing. For this reason, I try to use my free nights at Marriott and IHG overseas (typically no resort/destination fees).

Debit
Guest
Debit

Omg. The crowd is brutal. I agree with all the people here. If you count your pennies to such a degree are you really enjoying life or going through it pretending to be enjoying it.

That said your frankness is refreshing. Attacking people when they open up it’s a good way that they go back in their shell. So don’t mind these [edited] who need to attack you even though it’s not clear how it’s going to improve their pathetic life.

Bern
Guest
Bern

I don’t understand what’s the deal with these haters. Seriously, the point of reading a blog like this for hobbyist in the miles and points game is to stay at hotels or go on holidays that we would normally not afford for cash. So it only makes sense to get these stays for FREE, not value it over a $1000/night and expect to pay $50 for redeeming a reward stay. It’s called a rewards program for a reason! Imagine, if you looked at it in a different perspective, I bet people will start complaining when Credit cards starts charging FEES and TAXES just to redeem your cash back dollars. How ridiculous does that sound to you?

losingtrader
Guest
losingtrader

It pains me but I have to give credit to debit. Luca Pacioli (the father of double entry bookkeeping ) would be proud.

Pam
Guest
Pam

I am doing this same stay later this year also with the RC free nights + 1 extra. Thank you for the detail & what to prepare for to maximize value. I also appreciate the pictures of the offerings so I can make those decisions in advance. A “freebie” stay can get out of control fast at some hotels & resorts – thanks for the heads-up.

Seems the $50 could be enjoyed at the bar downstairs for a couple of drinks/day? Or apps?

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Greg doesn’t drink and I bet that would buy a Draft Beer 12oz too.
Remember folks u have to write about some thing .
CHEERs

Pam
Guest
Pam

“Lady Astor’s Tea is the classic afternoon tea and it’s $65 per person. It comes with a selection of five savories, scones, and an assortment of sweets.” A non-alcoholic option for maybe one day?

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Pam
As you know u have to learn how to work the system and hard to do in one stay .Booked air HNL 2/2020 .
CHEERs

Pam
Guest
Pam

I assure you in 4 days, CD, I will be working the $50/day for wayyyy more than its worth!

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

” Greed is Good ” more Greed is Better ..CD

Blue
Guest
Blue

We’re staying five nights in June also Titanium. At first I was a bit put off by the destination fee but when you look at it it is pretty solid value. Get laundry done, night caps in the King Cole Bar, tix for the museums, all ought to easily be worth more than $250.

Uaphil
Guest
Uaphil

I believe you can get caviar with the room service breakfast.

ktc
Guest
ktc

great perspective, we need something candid like this article, not I stayed there (almost free) so I should not pick on small things. Greg probably made a killing from the blog but still has the mindset of a normal frugal guy

Jaberou
Guest
Jaberou

Going to stay here next week for one night, before a RTW trip. Greg any tips for Dinner? I normally stay in the lower Manhattan area at the Conrad.

huey judy
Guest
huey judy

Ah yes, the “fee”. If it’s mandatory, it belongs in the room rate. If I’m entitled to all that stuff with my status, I don’t pay the fee. If there’s some benefit that I can use, such as F&B credit, then that’s fine. It takes a strong constitution to stand up to the front desk manager and convince him/her that I’m not going to pay the fee. But I feel that someone has to take a position on this baloney extra-fee business. Maybe I said this before … if it’s a mandatory fee, it belongs in the room rate. There’s no discussion here.

FNT Delta Diamond
Guest
FNT Delta Diamond

Most people don’t realize but Marriott’s terms and conditions require a property charging a resort or destination fee that includes internet access to provide an alternative amenity since the internet is supposed to be complimentary for those with elite status. Some properties give an actual alternative amenity, others just deduct $5-15 off the daily fee.

Regardless, I think this $50 fee is tacky and cheap. I mean, seriously, with $750 or $1000 nightly room rates they should be making plenty of profit.

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Heather
Guest
Heather

We just returned from staying at this wonderful hotel. We stayed 4 nights (on points) and they waived the $50 daily fee (though we could still opt-in if we wanted the perks). I believe the minimum is 4 nights to be able to waive the fee.