St. Regis New York Review and $200 Giveaway

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For the last couple of years I have been included in the SPG Amex Stars ambassador program which has allowed me to try out different SPG hotels and sometimes share some goodies with you all along the way (read to the end for details on that).  I recently finished up my third and final SPG Stars trip of 2014, and I am so excited to share the details as this trip was truly one of my very favorites.  For this particular experience, I was provided with airfare for two and challenged to redeem 70,000 SPG points (provided by the SPG Amex Stars Program) during the peak holiday travel season.

There are lots of great ways to redeem 70,000 SPG points for family trips.  One of the ideas that jumped to the top of my list immediately was the Nights and Flights redemption where you can get 50,000 airline miles and 5 nights at a Category 4 property for 70,000 SPG points.  If five nights at a Category 4 hotel is in your travel plans, it is very hard to beat that value (think Walt Disney World Swan, Westin Portland, or W San Diego).  Ski properties also always get my attention this time of the year, and SPG has some very good ski properties in Colorado, Utah, California, Canada, and beyond that ring in often as Category 5 hotels for 12,000 – 16,000 points per night.  Using 70,000 points to get several nights on the slopes during ski season around the holidays can be a bang-up redemption that can save a family hundreds or even thousands.  In fact, that is what we did for our holiday challenge trip last year in Aspen.

However, I didn’t have five nights to spend away from home this time, there were no Category 4 hotels where we wanted to go for this trip, and we decided to hold off on a ski trip for now.   Instead, I took a very different approach to this challenge and decided to build the ultimate “Holidays in New York City” trip with the points.  It was a splurge in many ways, but it was so enjoyable that it was 100% worth it and absolutely perfect for us.

We decided to stay for the first time at the St. Regis New York City for 30,000 SPG points per night at Thanksgiving in order to be one block from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, take in all the holidays windows, see the tree going up at Rockefeller Plaza, and even visit Santa at Santaland at Macy’s on 34th Street the day after Thanksgiving.  The going rate for the rooms at the St. Regis those nights was around $700 – $800 per night.  Clearly I wouldn’t have been able to pay that amount without blowing my travel budget in an epic way, but that super high rate made spending 60,000 valuable SPG points sting a bit less.  Yes, the points were given to me, but once they are in my account they are mine to spend how I choose so using them still stings!

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If you want to put together a similar trip in the future, you can read my tips for seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or for visiting Santa at Macy’s on 34th Street.  This post specifically is dedicated to our stay at the totally over-the-top St. Regis New York.  This St. Regis is the original, built by John Jacob Astor in 1904, and opened in 1905.  It was very lavish from the beginning, with furniture from France, Waterford crystal chandeliers, and a library of thousands of books.  History runs pretty deep here, including at the King Cole bar where the Bloody Mary was invented in the 1930’s.  However, being a historic spot does not mean that the hotel looks or feels antiquated as it is fresh off a $90 million renovation.

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Check-in at the St. Regis New York:
We had spent our first night in NYC checking out the new Park Hyatt, which meant we had to pack up and head to the St. Regis on the second day of our trip.  This transfer happened to occur at naptime (naturally) and on a pretty cold and rainy afternoon.  Needless to say, getting my tired four year old and our stuff packed up and moved from one hotel to the other in the rain when all she wanted to do was sleep was less than pleasant.  We pulled up to the St. Regis pretty on edge, kinda grumpy, and tired.  All I wanted as we approached the hotel was my room key and a bed, as fast as possible.  However, out entire attitude and direction for the rest of the day changed for the better within moments of entering the lobby of the St. Regis.

St. Regis New York

The doormen outside the St. Regis were dressed how you might imagine them to be, with tall hats and long coats, and they welcomed us, took our bags, and informed the front desk staff of our identity before we could even get in the building.  When we did walk up into the lobby it was like we were being welcomed by old friends who knew our name (thanks doormen), were excited to see us, and were ready for our arrival.
St. Regis New York Lobby

The lobby itself looked like it was something from an iconic Christmas movie with the stuffed deer, lights, and chocolates, fruits, and hot chocolate available for the taking.  Before I ever got our room key I was 100% reinvigorated and knew for sure we were staying in the right place for this holiday trip.  At check-in things just got better as we were informed that we had been given a slightly larger room in order to accommodate the rollaway bed for our daughter.  Wow, they actually paid attention to the notes on the reservation?!

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The St. Regis New York Room:
After we were finished with our initial round of gawking in amazement at the lobby, we headed up to the room.  When we arrived at the door and I started to pull out my key card to go inside the door magically opened from within.
St. Regis New York
I was a bit surprised at first, but then I saw it was the butler who had been waiting for us.  As if that wasn’t insane enough, he then presented my daughter with a yellow rose and a stuffed teddy bear dressed as a butler.  It was at this point that I was beyond sold.  The hotel could now officially do no wrong in my book for my tired and grumpy four year old was happy and giddy.  Almost every St. Regis I have visited with my daughter has given her a toy of some sort, often a themed stuffed animal.  They have a “family traditions” initiative that they take very seriously and that makes this a surprisingly family-friendly chain of hotels.
St. Regis New York
The butler oriented us to our room, got my daughter a kid’s size robe, brought us extra complimentary waters, and even pointed out it is fine to move their stuff out of the mini bar to make room for our own items if we wished.  I had just booked a standard room with points, but was very confused at this point as to whether we might have been upgraded to some sort of junior suite since the room was pretty big and we had a butler.
St. Regis New York
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As it turns out, this is just how the St. Regis New York is – every room has access to the butlers.  We weren’t upgraded to any sort of suite, the rooms are just large, especially for Manhattan, and absolutely beautiful.
St. Regis New York

After a rough night of sleep on the firm bed at the Park Hyatt, we were in Heaven in the St. Regis bed with all the fluffy covers.
St. Regis New York
The rollaway bed made for my daughter was even comfortable and inviting…not that she actually used it in the end.

St. Regis New York Rollaway Bed
The bathrooms at the St. Regis New York were pretty grand in their own right with a separate room for the toilet, a bathtub, a shower, and a TV in the mirror.  My kid took a bath watching the Disney Channel in the mirror: that seriously has to be hard to top for a four year old!

St. Regis New York Bathroom
St. Regis New York Bathroom

St. Regis New York BathroomThe water pressure and water temperature levels were all very good.

St. Regis New York Room Service and Amenities:

The downside to using points at hotels like the St. Regis New York, is that pretty much everything else there that is not included with the room rate is going to be pricey.  Our room service breakfast was no exception, but given the outside temperature and the daunting task of getting my daughter and I dressed just to go fetch a coffee and a bagel proved way too much to overcome, so we did order a kid’s menu breakfast and smoothie from room service one morning.  It may well have been the most expensive kid’s meal and smoothie I have ever purchased, but it was served promptly, exquisitely, and we both enjoyed the heck out of it.  Seriously, the fresh squeezed orange juice was so good even my daughter commented on it.

St. Regis New York Room Service Breakfast

While the prices for food won’t be cheap at a place like the St. Regis New York, I was appreciative that they had a printed child’s menu with reasonable kid-friendly options listed.

St. Regis New York Room Service Menu  St. Regis New York Room Service MenuLuckily for my wallet, there are some very nice built-in perks at the St. Regis that don’t require any sort of elite status.  First, there was fresh fruit put into the room each day that we put to good use.

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You are also allowed complimentary tea and coffee service from the butler once per day, which my mom and I enjoyed to warm up after several hours outside watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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You may also get two items pressed and shoes shined free of charge during your stay, which I was also happy to use to get my outfit for our Thanksgiving Day Dinner looking nice(r).

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While we did not eat in the hotel restaurant or visit the famed King Cole Bar on this visit, I did take a chance to walk around the area during breakfast one morning and everything looked beautiful.  I’ve said it before, but this hotel really looks like it walked right out of a classic Manhattan movie.

St. Regis King Cole Bar

St. Regis New York

St. Regis New York St. Regis New York Overview:

I went in with pretty high expectations for the St. Regis New York, but even those lofty expectations were blown out of the water.  I cannot imagine a more perfect setting for a quintessential holiday trip to New York City.  Sure, there are hundreds of hotels we could have stayed at on points in Manhattan, many for fewer points, but if you have the SPG points to spend thanks to using the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card Amex or via actual SPG stays throughout the year, I can’t imagine a better use for them in NYC around the holidays than the St. Regis New York.

The beds were comfortable, the rooms were quiet, the service was absolutely outstanding, the lobby was festive, the free hot chocolate was delicious, my kid was happy, and we felt like we were living in a fairy tale for a couple of days.  Vacations don’t need to be fairy tales, but it doesn’t hurt if they sometimes are a bit magical.

I stayed on points and booked online just like anyone else would, but of course it is always possible that the hotel was somehow tipped of our upcoming stay and related review.  That said, everyone I encountered at the hotel seemed to be getting the exact same personalized, and high level, of service.

Holiday Challenge Verdict and Tips:

I was challenged to use 70,000 SPG points to put together an amazing holiday trip.  I didn’t choose to stretch the points as far as they could go in terms of number of days of vacation or airline mile conversions.  Instead, I turned 60,000 of them into two nights of Manhattan Magic.  This is the type of stay we couldn’t have without points, and I love that even though the hotel eventually sold out for the night before Thanksgiving, we were able to book a standard room with points as long as it was available for sale with cash.

As part of the SPG Amex Stars program, I am to share a couple of “Travelogisodes” that include some tips for booking trips like this on points for your family.  Here are the two short videos we put together for this trip.  I particularly like the first one taken shortly after check-in since my kiddo has a staring role and we shot it in the room at the St. Regis New York.

We didn’t have a chance to shoot the second video on the trip, but instead did it as a recap once we got home.

I don’t know when I will have the points to return to the St. Regis New York again, but I hope it is in our future at some point, as it was a magical stay in the heart of Manhattan.

$200 Giveaway:

Historically these SPG Amex Stars trips have coincided with a giveaway of SPG points to one of you.  That didn’t end up happening this time around, so I don’t want to get to go on these trips and leave you with nothing but a trip report.  So, in honor of the SPG Amex Holiday Challenge that I put together and went on, I want to give away $200 gift certificate to the travel provider of your choice so you can start putting together your own next amazing trip.  I will happily give the winner a $200 online gift certificate to any travel provider they choose that sells gift cards online (many airlines and hotels do, though sadly not St. Regis and Starwood or that would have been my selection).

To enter to win, just leave a comment stating how you would use 70,000 SPG points to put together a holiday trip of your own by Saturday December 20th at 11:59PM Central.  You can enter once per calendar day between now and December 20th.  One winner will be selected at random, and that person will win the $200 gift certificate.  This giveaway is not in any way sponsored by Amex, the Amex SPG Card, Starwood, or the SPG Amex Stars program.  Must be 18, void where prohibited, and all that jazz.

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Well after seeing your trip report, I want to do Christmas at the St. Regis too! Hot tea on a cold winter day would be lovely and it just seems to be beautifully decorated. Thanks!

  2. i think that a weekend at the st. regis in ny sounds awesome! (and a def treat, as i live close enough to the city to make hotel stays seem overly indulgent.)

  3. I’d use them to stay at the Westin in Beaver Creek. For 12k-16k points per night, its a pretty good deal. At the 12k level, you could stay 5 nights for free!

  4. Great tips! Loved the videos! I too spent thanksgiving in nyc with family this year & had a great time! Next year we’d like to go to nyc between thanksgiving & Christmas to see the tree lit at Rockefeller center and get into the Christmas spirit. My husband has been wanting to stay at the St Regis ever since we walked by it 2 years ago – and we can get some good SPG platinum amenities in addition to the ones you described. So… My plan for 70,000 spg points would be to use 10,000 for one night at the Sheraton Tarrytown, a cat 4 hotel. We would drive there and be in striking distance of the city the next morning. Then we’d take the metro north commuter train into nyc, and use our remaining 60k points to stay for 2 nights at the St. Regis!

  5. I’d use them towards a stay at the Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort in Thailand. We’re going to be away from our families this holiday season but would love to relax and celebrate at this wonderful hotel.

  6. I would use them and a couple suite award to stay at the St.Regis NY. I love it.

    One more tip is to use the concierge at the SRNY, they have great recommendations and when they call and make reservations the restaurant will treat you like a king when you arrive. Definitely a nice perk when you are dining in NY!

  7. I would love to get away from the Midwest during the holidays! 70,000 SPG points would be used to book at the Sand Key Sheraton right on the beach near Clearwater, FL.

  8. For those who prefer a warm Christmas, 70,000 points leaves you just 2,000 points short of a full week stay at the Phoenician in Scottsdale. Perfection!

  9. I would use it at the W Verbier in Switzerland. The alps and mountains would be beautiful. Or perhaps the Sheraton in Prague. Christmas markets!!

  10. Definitely two nights in Princeville or an extended stay at the Swan at Disney World! We love both places so much! Thank you, Summer. It is nice to dream about an upcoming trip. 🙂

  11. Would love to go to the St. Regis in Aspen or New York! Also would love a teddybear (and I am a 21 year old college student, but still a child at heart lol)

  12. I would use the points to fund a trip with my sister and her two kids and me and my two kids. We live on opposite sides of the North America…

  13. My wife and I had to pass on the St. Regis on our last trip to the city because we didn’t have enough points, so now, after reading your review, I really want to go 🙂

  14. would love take my mom to spend a night at the st. regis nyc! my parents had their wedding and honeymoon suite there years ago, so she would get a kick out of going back again after all these years.

  15. Nights and Flights combination. 50K American miles to fly to Europe using an off peak Saver Award + 5 nights at the Sheraton Prague to visit the Christmas market.

  16. Just returned from NY and used points at a Westin. Sadly didn’t have enough for St. Regis but that would be a great trip! Or maybe the Westin in Paris…..

  17. I would use 70,000 spg points to stay at the SPG Aspen and maybe take a day trip over to Breckenridge to try out the new peak they opened last year. Then again I might just use it to stay at the Hotel Pulitzer in Amsterdam again before its removed from the SPG portfolio in a couple months.

  18. I’d use it toward my Las Vegas hiking trip this January. What luxury to come back to a great hotel after a day spent hiking!

  19. I’d use them for a 5 night stay (points for 4 nights and the 5th night is free) at The Nines hotel in Portland. Love it there!!

  20. I’d take a week at the West in Montreal, and spend the week walking around Old Montreal and eating a lot of really good food!

  21. Excellent reporting and you brought back good memories. Nothing compares to the St. Regis New York in the Northeast so that is where we would use the points. And next time you enjoy the fresh squeezed OJ, also ask for the fresh squeezed carrot juice with ginger. It is not on the menu but they will do it for you as part of the SPG breakfast amenity.

  22. At the Luxury Palacio del Inka in Cusco. It would be home base for a Peruvian adventure exploring the ancient Machu Picchu ruins!

  23. I would use them for two nights (35,000 points a night) at the St Regis Bal Harbour to escape the winter cold. I have heard so much about the St Regis butler service and will love to experience it.

  24. I would definitely go to the Westin at Snowmass skiing. I booked the wrong date for spring break last year when you mentioned the very cheap rate. I still want to go……

  25. I would use them to stay 20 days at a category 2 hotel such as: Le Méridien Angkor, Le Méridien Chiang Mai or Le Méridien Chiang Rai Resort

  26. I would use it for Flights and Nights to redeem 50k airmiles and 5 nights at Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit in Bangkok for my elderly parents!

    On another note, I have been to StR New York before and the service is really great.
    Perhaps this may be the small number of guests.

    The Christmas decor is really nice, sadly I didn’t get to see it last year in November.

    http://goodhotelreview.blogspot.com/2013/11/st-regis-new-york-city-november-2013.html

  27. I definitely would return to New York but this time with my mom as I was not able to take her the first time we went :(. Bur hopefully one day.

  28. I would use them to treat my daughter, a Texas native & NYU alum, to a sumptuous honeymoon in Florence at the St Regis. The 70K points, added to the points she earned from her wedding at the W, would allow her to have a dream honeymoon!

  29. I’d use 60,000 points for 2 nights at the St. Regis next year for my cousin’s wedding in New York, and the rest for a night in Brooklyn added with my own points. New York is my favorite city in the country, despite that I live in LA. Shhh…don’t tell my LA friends!

  30. My husband proposed to me in front of the National Christmas tree in DC. So I would take 70,000 SPG points and stay at the St Regis there. The place is right down from the White House and I’m sure it would be fun to sightsee during the holidays.

  31. I loved learning about the St. Regis and I have a trip to NYC planned for this year. I would love to win and use the points to go to NYC. Happy Winter! Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!

  32. I would fly to Florida for some quality beach time. There are lots of “stay 4/get 5th night free” properties to choose from!

  33. I will love to use this in the NYC Regis. Thank you! And on a much happier note, I got the Chase Freedom card yesterday, thanks for the update!

  34. I’d go with 2 nights at St Regis Princeville (that you’ve reviewed) and the remaining 10k… well.. maybe a night at the hotel airport before we leave 🙂

  35. I would fly my daughter to San Diego and put her up in SPG hotel so she can see her boyfriend who is coming in from deployment with the US Navy.

  36. With the 70,000 points I would spend 5 nights at the Sheraton La Jolla and go out Christmas shopping at second hand/thrift stores and go to see the Lights at the San Diego zoo.

  37. I would definitely definitely definitely (that’s right, 3 of them) use those SPG points to stay at the Westin in Key West this winter! Fingers and toes crossed. Thanks!

  38. I agree with Summer’s approach; if you’re challenged with that many points, that’s the time a 99%-er splurges to stay where the 1%-ers go!

  39. I would use them at the St. Regis Bora Bora. I was suppose to go on my honeymoon, but a typhoon came through and we were unable to go and went some place else. I still hope to get back there and experience it.

  40. I live in Colorado now but grew up in Southern California. So by the time Spring Break hits, I am dying for some warmer weather. I would love for my husband, myself, and 2 girls to go to Vietnam!

  41. I would use the points towards a quick holiday shopping trip to New York City! If you don’t have to pay for the room, then more $ for shopping!

  42. I love to swim so would use the points to go to Vieques Island and stay at the W. I would use my SW CP to get my son, and husband, there for a Christmas present.

  43. Having two kids with Christmas birthdays, I would use 70,000 SPG points to take them somewhere special during the holidays. It would be fun to visit downtown Chicago and stay at the Sheraton Towers so they could visit Navy Pier and the local museums.

  44. I would love to spend Christmas in Hawaii. 70,000 SPG points would definitely be used for a few nights at the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki.

  45. A trip to Chicago at Christmastime to see Christmas lights, Christkindlmarket, Navy Pier’s Winter Wonder Fest and ice skating. Use points at Westin Michigan Ave.

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