Shower/tub combos, not soaking tubs in standard rooms
The grand, century-old St. Regis is known for its extraordinary service -- rivaled only by that of the Plaza -- but the hotel has many other outstanding features, including 229 elegant rooms with great amenities, and a great location on Fifth Avenue. While it lacks the pool and Central Park views of the Mandarin Oriental, some will find that a famed Bloody Mary at the King Cole Bar more than compensates.
Built in 1904, the 229-room St. Regis, combines historic details -- Beaux Arts architecture and butlers on call 24 hours a day -- with modern amenities -- blazing-fast Internet and Bose sound systems.
It's hard to find fault with the St. Regis. There are hotels, and then there are Hotels -- iconic, epitomizing structures that are more than the sum of their rooms and amenities. In a hotel, you sleep, and maybe eat or log a few miles on the treadmill, in order to work and/or play in New York City. A Hotel, however, is a different stay. It's a destination within a destination, a place where those who can afford to stay there experience a special slice of the city, and where those who can't afford it visit anyway.
The St. Regis, along with The Plaza, the Mandarin Oriental, and just a few others, is a New York Hotel. It's a place worth visiting even if you can't afford to stay there. At the least, splurge on a Bloody Mary in the legendary King Cole Bar, supposedly the first place stateside to serve the tomato juice and vodka concoction.
Built in 1904 by John Jacobs Astor IV, the great grandson of the country's first multi-millionaire, the St. Regis is, like The Plaza, a Beaux Arts landmark. Translation: even the standard guest rooms, not just the ornate lobby, have elaborate chandeliers.
The hotel's 24-hour butlers go above and beyond to assist guests. They white gloves and anachronistic charm on their sleeves, but they also help with any and all modern conundrums, say hooking up your iPod to play through your room's surround sound system. Whether you're working or playing in the city, this is a top luxury pick.
While some portions of Midtown East are all business and moneymaking, further north, it's all about spending money. The hotel sits in the middle of the city's high-end shopping district on Fifth Avenue, sharing the block with pricey shops.
While the St. Regis is quite close (just four blocks away) from Central Park, it isn't right on the park like its East Side neighbors, The Plaza and The Pierre, or as close to it as the Mandarin Oriental (just a block away on the west side of the park).
Other attractions within easy walking distance include the Museum of Modern Art (one block away), Radio City Music Hall (6 blocks away), Rockefeller Center (8 blocks away), and St. Patrick's Cathedral (5 blocks away). Hotel guests who want to experience the subway can grab the E or V two blocks away at 5th Avenue and 53rd Street, and there are seven additional subway lines within four blocks. Aboveground, the St. Regis doorman effortlessly hails cabs for guests in front of the hotel.
New York City has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Getting into town from JFK or LaGuardia is usually more convenient than from Newark, but travel times are heavily dependent on the time of day and traffic conditions. From JFK, a taxi to anywhere in Manhattan costs a flat rate of $45 and takes around an hour in average conditions. From LaGuardia, a metered cab ride to Midtown Manhattan costs about $40 and can take 30 minutes if traffic is light, three times that if it's bad. Rides from Newark cost at least $40 plus tolls and can take more than 90 minutes. It's customary to tip your driver 15 to 25 percent.
Those looking to save some cash can use the privately run shuttle buses that are available at all three airports for about $14 per person. For more information on the shuttles, go to Super Shuttle or New York Airport Service. Public transit is also available for as little as $7 per person, but travel can take up to two hours and involve a lot of lugging bags up and down stairways.
For mass-transit directions right to the hotel, check out HopStop.
With crystal chandeliers, textured (often striped) fabric walls, and spa-like marble bathrooms, rooms combine old-fashioned style with modern comforts.
Last remodeled in 2013, the hotel rooms embody old-world glamour -- but with a decidedly modern twist. Most rooms have gray and white striped fabric walls, beautiful Art Deco moldings and gold-accented furniture, Greek Key pattern carpets, chandeliers, and a pop of rich bed drapery in blue or red. They're also quite spacious, though not the biggest of the luxury bunch. Superior Rooms (the entry-level category) are 430 square feet, the same as the standard rooms at the Mandarin Oriental and slightly smaller than the 500-square-foot standard rooms at the Four Seasons.
Bathrooms in standard rooms are especially spacious with his-and-her sinks, lots of Italian marble, and rainfall showers (but no tubs). For a separate tub and shower, guests need to upgrade to a Deluxe or Grand Luxe room (though a few units in these category still lack tubs), or stay at the Mandarin Oriental, where even the least expensive guest rooms have separate, oversize tubs.
All rooms have high-definition flat-screen TVs (starting at 32 inches), Bose sound systems, and Wi-Fi.
At the legendary King Cole Bar, guests can enjoy both the famous Maxfield Parrish mural and a famed Bloody Mary.
The on-site King Cole Bar is legendary. According to legend, it was the first place in the country to serve a Bloody Mary, here called the Red Snapper. The bar also serves small plates.
Behind the bar, the famous Maxfield Parrish mural hangs. (Why are the courtiers in the painting laughing? Supposedly because the king has just passed gas.) Grab a seat in the small, dark woody bar if you can.
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